Happy birthday to Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender) of Spooky Tooth and Mott The Hoople (1949) and also to Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna (1940).
I was definitely too young to have attended, and besides – we had the Monterey International Pop Festival here in California, and the people who played at that blew most of this stuff out of the water.
However, I needed to get the triple LP on Cotillion (which I did), and somehow genetically needed to know about all of this. The 3LP set is not what was in the movie exactly, so I also needed to see the film, which was unfortunately rated “R”, so I had to wait until my mother could take me to see it.
The 3LP set wasn’t exactly ‘lemony fresh’, plenty of swearing and other hippie entitlement mis-speaking, eh, folks? What about the brown acid? I hear it isn’t any good. Does that mean you’ll die if you take it? Why didn’t the guy just say, “The brown acid is poison!”, which it probably was.
John Sebastian does a stellar job opening up the 3LP set; everybody felt bad that The Lovin’ Spoonful was no more in 1969, and Sebastian even sounds…reverent to the subject matter, “I Had A Dream” – he did, and a significant portion of record buying public lived it, buddy boy. Ooh, then we get Canned Heat – trying to play a recent hit single – some talking – then Richie Havens tunes up and plays a …song? Country Joe & The Fish do not disappoint, except for the positive reinforcement of the harmlessness of narcotics. Arlo Guthrie sings about illegally bringing in narcotics, on an airplane. Sha Na Na brought some NYC to the event, making everybody feel…good! Country Joe makes everybody say “FUCK” and, well, people like to say Fuck, out loud, in public – on a phonograph record in 1970. Joan Baez does her thing of playing 2nd fiddle to Jeffrey Shurtleff, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young are ‘scared shitless’. The Who do not set everything on fire like they did at Monterey, but they stroll through a decent version of a track from “Tommy”, a double LP that nobody could get enough of. Joe Cocker does his thing, and it comes off fairly well, apart from the recording quality, which is ‘rough’, to be honest – but it does deliver exactly what it was he did in 1969. Santana is not even portrayed as a cultural event here, they’re just a rock band from California, making nice with the New Yorkers with “Soul Sacrifice”. The Ten Years After cut sounds exactly like something unreal should sound, not a great recording, and Alvin Lee is definitely on fire. And it takes the Jefferson Airplane to put that fire out, though this is about the last great 45 (“Volunteers”) they made. Max Yasgur didn’t even change his name for this recording. Sly & The Family Stone sound good, but that’s what they did then. Funk-ta-fied! More John Sebastian; Chicago is represented by Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and it’s good to hear them amongst all this British stuff. Jimi Hendrix, baby believe me set the world on fire, per Eric Burdon. And then there’s “Woodstock II”!
You get an entire side of Jimi Hendrix, and 2/3 of a side of Jefferson Airplane right off the bat. Not in the film, either. Some more Butter. Some more Joanie. Most of a side of Crosby Stills Nash & Young; someone not on Woodstock’s original triple LP, Melanie! And Mountain – they were on TV on Mid-Summer Rock, but they must’ve played at Woodstock, ‘cause I got this new double LP that says they did. And Canned Heat do what they did best, “Boogie”, though this is the “Woodstock Boogie” – like that’s better? And let’s not forget the audience, who cheered the brown acid, never went and saw what was up with their friend at the nurse station…
So, like, we got to buy a beta of “Woodstock” the film, and it was reasonably expensive; bet I watched the Monterey Pop film (also not cheap) 10 times more than the Woodstock film. Got my Criterion DVD of Monterey and a DVD (and now Blu-ray) of “Woodstock”. No, I never got the laser discs of previously unreleased Woodstock performances, that I am aware of. The re-mastered Rhino CD’s of “Woodstock” and “Woodstock II” sound as good as they can now; the sun came out and everybody loves each other. No, we didn’t take the brown acid. Fuck. It was hell getting back to where we parked the van, back in the town. I hear the rock stars are hiring helicopters to get out of Woodstock. Doesn’t Bob Dylan and The Band live around here? Maybe we could crash there!
Janis took some of the brown acid. So did Jimi Hendrix. And they’re not here anymore, man. Columbia released whole albums of Johnny Winter, Sly & The Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Santana at “Woodstock”. The Sly album is pretty darned good, too. Does this record store sell black music? Or do I have to go to South Gate to get that?