By the time we got to Woodstock

one of the greatest moments in popular music history

Woodstock posterThe Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place August 15 to August 18, 1969, on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York owned by Max Yasgur. Over 30 acts performed over the sometimes rainy weekend in front of at least 400,000 concertgoers.

I didn’t get to go to “one of the greatest moments in popular music history,” though I surely wanted to. However, my friends and I saw the movie that was released in March 1970, fairly early in its run. And then we watched the three-hour movie AGAIN, back when theater owners didn’t care if you did that.

The second time, I remember looking at the purple of the light projecting onto the screen as Sly and the Family Stone was performing. And I wasn’t even TAKING anything – really!

The soundtrack to the movie was released on May 1970. I surely bought the 3-LP set before the summer was out, and played it incessantly. A second album of two LPs came out the following year, a lesser collection.

Some artists did not appear on either set, because their record label wouldn’t allow it, or because they didn’t think they sounded good enough, or because the artist wanted an album of just their music.

In 1994, Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music a 4-CD set with additional tracks came out. In 2009, Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm, a 6-CD collection was released.

I thought I’d pick some artists not represented in the first two albums. This proved to be more difficult than I thought. I found three “complete” sets of one artist that ran from 30 to 75 minutes.

Day 1

Sweetwater – Look Out or Two Worlds
Bert Sommer – Jennifer
Tim Hardin – If I Were a Carpenter; more Tim
Ravi Shankar – Evening Raga

Day 2

Quill – Waiting For You
The Keef Hartley Band – Spanish Fly/ Think it Over/ Too Much Thinking/ I Believe in You; to my knowledge, the band has never been featured on any Woodstock recording, nor were they featured in the film.
The Incredible String Band – The Letter
Grateful Dead – part 1
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou/ I Put a Spell On You/ Keep on Chooglin’
Janis Joplin – Try/ Ball and Chain

Day 3

The Band – full set
Johnny Winter – full set
Blood, Sweat & Tears – full set

Oh, what the heck: two songs about Woodstock

The song – Joni Mitchell
Who’ll Stop the Rain – CCR; John Fogerty on the musical legacy of the concert

John Fogerty is 70

John-FogertyJust last year, I wrote a lengthy piece about Creedence Clearwater Revival, a fine band. In it, I mentioned the continuing strife between lead singer/songwriter John Fogerty and the other living members of the group, plus his brother’s widow. As of December 2014, the lawsuits continue.

So I’m just going to link to some solo John Fogerty for his birthday number three score and ten:

With the Blue Ridge Rangers: Jambalaya (On The Bayou), #16 in 1973. This was #1 country hit in 1952 for Hank Williams.

Rockin’ All Over The World, #27 in 1975.

Almost Saturday Night, #78 in 1975.

The Old Man Down The Road, #10 in 1985.

Rock And Roll Girls, #20 in 1985. Its B-side,
Centerfield, #44 in 1985, was
honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

(All chart citations refer to the US Billboard pop listings.)
***
John Fogerty and Sawyer Fredericks on The Voice finale, May 2015, singing a CCR medley. BTW, Sawyer is the area kid who won the competition.

F is for the Fogerty brothers of CCR

CCR even appeared at Woodstock, though most people don’t remember that.

Stu, John, Doug, Tom
John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook met in junior high school, and soon backed John’s older brother Tom on some gigs. Eventually they became a band, with Doug on drums, Stu – formerly on piano – switching to bass, and Tom on rhythm guitar, as John became “the band’s lead vocalist and primary songwriter.” In Tom Fogerty’s words: ‘I could sing, but John had a sound!'” That he did.

The group had a hit with their second single, a cover of Continue reading “F is for the Fogerty brothers of CCR”

Unread books, and rock song comparison

I’ve seen so many productions of Shakespeare’s comedies that I no longer remember which ones I’ve actually read.

The blogger MDS from Pantheon Songs – check out his sites if you like music – wants to know:

1) what are some of the books that you’ve wanted to read but never got around to reading because of whatever reason or circumstance?

So many…let me limit this list to books that are actually in my possession, and specifically in the office of the house, as opposed to the living room or the attic: Continue reading “Unread books, and rock song comparison”

From Which “Grapevine” Did You Hear It?

Which iteration should be considered the original? Surely, one could make a case for the Miracles’ version. But many experts would pick the version first released, and that would be the Pips’.

I love good cover versions of songs. Came across a rather fine list from Popdose. And I so agree with the opening statement: “It’s generally agreed upon that if you don’t have any new flavor to add to the original, you shouldn’t bother doing a cover.”

Certainly can’t argue with the top two, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin*, originally performed by Otis Redding*; and “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix*, originally done by Bob Dylan*. Both of the original artists have acknowledged the transformative nature of these covers. A previous list I saw contained songs that I had never heard of in the Top 10, which I discovered were less than six years old; seems to me these songs need to stand the test of time

But I have one nit to pick over this list, and it’s around the song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” As noted here and elsewhere, the song by Motown staff writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was first recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles* on August 6, 1966. And Marvin Gaye* recorded his version on April 10, 1967. But Berry Gordy, the head of Motown, hated the song & vetoed the releases by both artists. Continue reading “From Which “Grapevine” Did You Hear It?”