BOOK REVIEW: “Woodstock: A New Look” by Greg Walter & Lisa Grant

Photobucket Since I was 9, I have been fascinated with the reality and myths of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. I’ve seen the movie on HBO, VHS, the 1994 director’s cut, the PBS and MTV edits, and the recent edition with footage previously unseen. I have yet to see it on the big screen at a proper movie theater, but that’s on my bucket list. I guess it’s the idea of 500,000+ people gathering to see and hear music, but I’ve learned that it was much more than that. Maybe the weekend was a bum trip due to the weather, but people wanted to find others like themselves, and themselves. Maybe the movie helped to create a myth, but the real side of what lead to it, what happened, and its influence is documented in a number of books. I’ve read a lot of them over the years and continue to place new ones I’ve never heard of on my want list. Woodstock: A New Look (The Writers’ Collective) by Greg Walter and Lisa Grant was released a year before the festival’s 40th anniversary, and at the time I wasn’t able to pick it up. A few weeks ago I saw that it was going for a mere penny (yes, one American cent) at Amazon, so I decided it was the perfect time to check it out.

The core of the book is Walter sharing his memories of the festival, from being a young kid in the summer of 1969 with not much to do, to finding himself at a musical festival in Bethel, New York. Along with his story is “never-before-seen photographs” taken by him, or so says the cover. This story is quite interesting, for it speaks about the Vietnam war and what the United States was like, spoken from the view of the young man he was. As I’m reading, one is supposed to look at the photos, beautifully shown in full page form. I’m someone who doesn’t mind the gritty photos, because these are views from someone whose “eye” of the festival has not been widely seen. I don’t mind the professional pics, but I want something that’ll show the muck of the mud, the wet blankets on the fences, all of that. It’s also great to see long distance shots of the stage and the crowd, as I found myself thinking “if I was there, this would be my view”. That might sound incredibly corny, but I think the movie has helped to show a moving perception, but many of the photos here are from the eye of someone either stationary or someone walking around and experiencing and smelling everything that was going on. The photos are very cool.

However, parts of the story seem like they were taken from other sources, or as if someone had listened to the soundtrack or watched the movie and just transcribed things. That’s not to take away from anything else in the book, but at least try to write it differently. Also, I’m not sure if Lisa Grant served as the editor or co-writer in some fashion of the book, but how do you put Janis Joplin on the cover and spell her name as “Janice Joplin” in the book? Or the fact that Walter says he did not get a chance to see “Jimi Hendricks” because he left the night before. Hendricks? There were also a few grammatical errors in the book, and maybe that’s me being a nitpicky editor but I’d like for the flow to be smooth and correct and not have to bump into errors that should have been corrected before publication.

Before I wrote this review, I went to Amazon to see if anyone else felt iffy about Woodstock: A New Look, and there I noticed a 1-star review from Jean E. Pouliot:
When an author releases a full-color coffee table book promising that it “contains never-before-seen photographs” of a cultural touchpoint, I expect something new and amazing. This “Woodstock” was anything but. Worse, its promise is deceptive, quite at odds with the peace and love ethic of the time, but just in time to cash in on the event’s 40 anniversary.

Aged 17 in 1969, author Greg Walter helped build the stage at the Woodstock music festival. Between menial jobs, he shot some slides. Then after the concert, he stuffed them into a box under his bed where they remained for 40 years. Now, Walter and co-author Lisa Grant have assembled these long-lost treasures into a book, along with his stories from the era.

Problem is, half the pictures in the book (the good ones) are not Walter’s. Many are from the AP Images collection and are credited only in the front papers. These include shots from the Chicago riots and from inside the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Even the cover shot of Janis Joplin is cribbed from another photographer. The pix that are Walter’s are not very good — they are badly lit, incompetently composed, grainy and uninteresting. The accompanying text is banal, with only a few interesting descriptions of events that went on around him — Abbie Hoffman pushing past him to rush the stage during the Who’s set; a rigid LSD tripper; a shocked young man who had accidentally run over a concert-goer. Given the level of honesty in the pictures, I wonder whether these stories are real.

Avoid this book — on principle if for no other reason.

The fact that Walter had taken pictures at Woodstock, developed the roll, put them in a shoebox and had forgotten them is an interesting story. His memories are just as valid as anyone else. I would have loved to have seen more photos. I’ll also see photos of various artists and those aren’t his, they look too professional compared to Walter’s own. The book definitely has its faults, but was it worth my penny? It’s worth a bit more than that, but I’m glad I did buy it now instead of the $34.95 list price, because I probably would have felt duped if I bought it from an online merchant. It’s more of a photo book with a brief story than anything that is deeply researched, and at times the memories from others who were also at the festival were more interesting. If you go to the library and see Woodstock: A New Look, it’s worth borrowing and you could probably read it in less than an hour.

VIDEO/FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Crown City Rockers’ “Vibrations (Live In Studio)”

Crown City Rockers remain one of my favorite bands of the last 15 years, and they decided to rock this one out at Headnodic’s place for a bit of celebratory “Vibrations”. One of my favorite parts of the song is when it reaches the 2:10: pure funk/soul/jazz/hip-hop heaven. Respect to CCR, who did this track in one take. If you like it, you can download the audio right here.

RECORD CRACK: No. 007 – Multiple pressings

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  • Record collecting has many multiples. You can choose to collect anything and everything from a particular artist, a record label, producer, musician, city, state, region, country, era, mono-only, genre, whatever. I was going to say “it’s endless” but there are thousands of ways to collect what you want, and never enough time or money (unless you have a lot of it, and if you do, please send some to my PayPal account, thank you) to get what you want.
  • Collectors tend to have their own level of expertise, things they specifically want or at least are knowledgeable about. I tend to dabble in a little bit of everything, I know a good amount about The Beatles (as discussed here) but always willing to know more. If people want a superrare funk or soul 45, there are a number of collectors, dealers, and well known hip-hop DJ’s people can track down to find the right pressing.
  • Another thing that collectors like to do is to find different pressings of the same album, and there are variables of what constitutes “multiple pressings”. I’ll read articles and blogs about people who will go through thrift stores, yard and garage sales and they’ll end up buying a Helen Reddy album even if they’re not a true fan of hers or her music. Somehow, they’ll post a note saying “I have 20 copies of Love Song for Jeffrey, including the quad 8-track, and I don’t know why”. Generally, what you’ll often hear about are people buying the same album multiple times from the same country. I know I have multiple copies of Cecilio & Kapono‘s first album, Loggins & Messina‘s Sittin’ In, but other than being able to buy and organize a few copies of the same album, there’s no really good reason other than to be a collector and play a game that no one really participates in, let’s be honest about this. UNLESS you are amongst a community of collectors who do the same, then it’s appreciated, or at least you can all murk in your disgust of the foolish game.
  • If you’re a hip-hop DJ that still uses vinyl, then you may want multiple copies of the same record for that reason alone. You place one record on one turntable, then a different copy on the other, and you can “juggle” beats, do a routine, or create a live mix on the spot. That has always been the case for hip-hop DJ’s, but the advances in CD and MP3 technology has made it possible to manipulate songs without having to have the physical record there. DJ’s no longer have to lug boxes and crates of records from gig to gig, hell they don’t have to carry it to a recording session, nor do you have to go to anyone else’s recording studio. Everything can be done digitally, you can have a rapper send you their vocals with a click track, and you can assemble it an ocean away.
  • Of course, records aren’t solely the tools of the trade for fans of hip-hop music. Having multiple copies of the same record is a different level of madness in record collecting, and it’s a madness that has been going on for decades. As an example again, let’s touch on The Beatles. If you are an American who loves the Revolver album, you have a lot of options to choose from. Let’s say you discovered their music in 1981 and went to the store to pick up a copy of Revolver. If you bought the album brand new/still sealed, you would have the album on Capitol Records in the purple label variation. You then discover that Capitol Records pressed up the album with different labels, as they would rotate the look of their labels every few years. In time, you find yourself with the original Capitol rainbow swirl, both stereo and mono. Then you buy the lime green label, the one on Apple, and the orange one that followed. Same album, same songs, not much difference in any of them. You also have an album that had only 11 songs, which you discovered was shorter than the proper UK version that contained 14. The UK version was not available, but you went to a record store and saw a Japanese pressing or a French pressing, both equal to the 14-track UK album. You buy the French one because it’s cheaper, but hope to buy the Japanese one someday because you had read the sound quality is incredible. You bring home the French pressing and say “wow, this sounds as if if was mastered different.” Or maybe you don’t care, you just want to have your favorite album from as many countries as possible. You know that The Beatles phenomenon was worldwide, so you’re going to go out of your way, within your budget, to get as many world pressings as possible. You are able to do that.
  • There are reasons as to why one would do it. Some enjoy doing this to be able to hear how an album was heard in the country it was pressed in. In the digital era, the idea of hearing a different mastering in each country is almost a non-existent concept since everything comes from the same digital rip. The songs/files are cloned, so with the exception of the quality of the bit-rate in each file (i.e. an MP3 ripped at 128kbps) will not sound as good as one ripped at 320kbps), what you hear in Atlanta will be the same digital file you’ll download in Paris. In the analog era, a master tape was sent to each world division of a record label. While that master tape may be the approved mix of an album, a mastering engineer in one country may not have the same equipment as the engineer in another country, or an engineer might feel the need to tweak the audio a bit without permission. A pressing in Japan will sound great while the one in Germany might be better. Collectors will often have a select list of preferred countries to buy record pressings from due to their reputation from other collectors, such as U.S., UK, (West) Germany, and Japan. That’s not to ignore a pressing of an album from Australia, in fact some collectors will tell you that a pressing done in the country of the artist’s origin are often preferred because the level of quality control is higher. In other words, wanting multiple copies of albums is very much an audio issue.
  • One of my favorite albums was one that was a favorite of my dad’s and one I would grow into, Ramsey LewisSun Goddess. I have two copies of the album, but also have the 1990 CD and a Japanese pressing from the late 1990’s that sounds incredible. However, there are two other pressings that I would like to have: the Japanese pressing:
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    and the U.S. Columbia Half-Speed Mastered pressing:
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    It’s the same album as the one I already have four copies of, so why would I want two more? It’s a chance to hear the same seven songs mastered slightly different than what I’m used to. I love the sound of Columbia albums in the 1970’s, but I’m curious to know if it was mastered differently for Japanese audiences, and if that master is different from the Japanese CD (most likely it is). Even if I obtained the Japanaese LP, why would I now want the album yet again, in Half-Speed Mastered form? Because it was mastered differently, and this matters to me because I want to know, hear, and experience the differences, however small. Half-Speed Mastering was done at a time when perhaps record labels stopped caring for quality control so much, so having to create something with a specific slogan was their way of not only making more money, but letting the public know “we have created a better pressing which we think you will prefer.” Arguably it was the Deluxe Edition of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, where the public had the option to buy the same set of songs again, but perhaps with slightly different graphics on the cover. To the casual music fan, this means nothing to them. To the serious music listener and audiophile, it’s all about variations, and I wnat to hear them. I also know of a British pressing of Sun Goddess on CBS with an orange label, and just to be a completist, maybe I’d buy that too but right now my goal is to get the Japan pressing and the Half-Speed. Are there Australian, French, and German pressings? Was there an inferior Taiwan pressing? There might be, but I don’t have too much interest in them.

  • There are two albums in my collection that I am a bit fanatical about, and while it’s not an urgent collecting game, it’s one that I play. I am looking for different world pressings of Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s Welcome To The PleasureDome and the 1970 Woodstock 3LP soundtrack album.

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    Frankie Goes To Hollywood might not be on the list of mandatory artists to collect, definitely not up there with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Elvis Presley, but I got into them primarily because of the sound and production, done primarily by Trevor Horn. I also loved what Paul Morley did with his level of superhype, created with incredible liner notes and myth creation. It was never “oh, Frankie Goes To Hollywood are from Liverpool, maybe they’ll be as big as The Beatles” or “they’re kinda new wave”, it was always about the music. I love Welcome To The PleasureDome, and it’s an album that I think saved me from complete mental hell when I had moved from Honolulu to the Pacific Northwest. I also liked how their record label, Zang Tuum Tumb, would release a single but not just the standard 7″ 45 or the 12″. There would be an alternate 12″, maybe a 7″ and 12″ picture disc, the cassingle, the shaped picture disc, or maybe two promotional mixes made exclusively for radio. I loved the ideas of multiples (which sounds like something you’d hear in a porn video but that’s another topic, perhaps another time), so I would find myself getting records from different countries. I wanted to explore that with Welcome To The PleasureDome and I have to a small degree. I have the US, UK, UK picture disc, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Yugoslavian pressings. In the US it was released via Island Records, which at the time was a WEA-affiliated label. In Japan it was released through Island/Polystar, and in New Zealand through Festival, and it’s cool to see the variations, however minor. Since FGTH were not as big as The Beatles, being able to find other world pressings should not be difficult. As I look at the page for the album at, I see that there are pressings in Greece, Israel, Portugal, Scandinavia, France, Italy, and Spain. I want them all. Were there pressings in Hong Kong? South Korea? I want to know. But as you can see, the list of countries isn’t big. Compare that with a Beatles album that was released around the world. I could easily complete my collection by the end of the week.

  • Then there’s the Woodstock soundtrack. I fell in love with the movie in 1979 or 1980 when it was shown on HBO. I clearly remember the promo on HBO with Casey Kasem, and as they showed that shot after Jimi Hendrix‘s section, Kasem did a voice-over which said “Woodstock: where it all began.” I grew up with a good amount of rock’n’roll and heavy music that came from what my dad and uncles listened to, it wasn’t “classic rock” just yet, just “the good shit”. I was born a year after the festival, and the idea of going to a concert in some large, random farm in upstate New York, surrounded by over 500,000 people as people passed around wine, weed, and granola was something that moved me. C’mon, a 3-day festival with all of this great music, funky ass smelly people, and a trippy mud slide? I would’ve been happy with the granola, but if I was alive when the festival happened, you know I would’ve not only had smoked weed, but I would’ve been in the forest trying to survive the brown acid that Chip Monck told me was not specifically too good.

    One day my parents and I went to the Kamehameha Super Swap Meet one weekend, something we always did, and after falling in love with what was the longest movie I had ever seen up until that point, I saw the soundtrack album. Three records, and the cost? A massive three dollars. I begged and pleaded, and told them “get me this, and you will not have to get me anything for Christmas” or some stupid shit just so I could get the record, take it home, and listen. They gave me the pitiful look, but once I saw the hand reaching into the purse, I smiled and ran to the man who had the album. Gave him the three dollars, wanting to go home right now. I either played Santana‘s “Soul Sacrifice” or Ten Years After‘s “I’m Going Home” first, and I just put myself into the music and got lost. 1979 was the year I discovered The Beatles and hip-hop, and I believe was the year I found Woodstock. I was set for life. Well, I wasn’t prepared for losing a parent, good friends, and bills, but still.

    Woodstock became a worldwide phenomenon, now every country wanted to have their own gigantic festival and a lot of them failed. But the myth created behind the movie and soundtrack was what I lived for, for the simply fact that it looked and sounded good. As a kid I would say “if I had a time machine, I’d want to go to 1950 so I could experience The Beatles and Woodstock in real time”. As I got older, I still think it would have been an incredible thing to be a part of, but that’s a very naive me speaking as a pre-teen. Someone like me with my ethnic mix might not have been able to live outside of Hawai’i or California, either I would be a statistic or fighting for the civil rights of all but… it would have been interesting.

    Nonetheless, the soundtrack album moved me and I was always curious as to how the soundtrack was perceived. I don’t have as many pressings of Woodstock as I do of Welcome To The PleasureDome but I do have them for the U.S., Germany, Taiwan, and Israel. The album, a 3LP set, was originally released in 1970 on Cotillion Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic. Back then, the double album was considered “the event” but a 3LP set? Even The Beatles didn’t have a 3-record set, and now there’s one for a damn music and art fair? Anyway, as is the case with Atlantic-related albums in other countries, sometimes Woodstock would be released not with the Cotillion label, but with the Atlantic label, such as this pressing from Venezuela:
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    Or labels that have absolutely nothing to do with Cotillion or Atlantic, such as these pressings from South Korea and China respectively:
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    The album was also released with different covers. Uruguay pressing? Sure:
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    In India, the album was not released as a 3LP set but as three individual records with a different color scheme for each one:
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    Czechoslovakia? Yes.
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    In South Korea, there seems to be a few counterfeit pressings, which seems to have been customary in Asian countries that didn’t have proper record label affiliates. Somewhere down the line, there was an official pressing, and that had a completely different album cover as well. I can use eBay and other sites to find out which pressings are out there, it’s much cheaper to do that than it is to fly there and look for any stores or collectors, but that’s all a part of the fun of being a collector. There’s no really good reason to do it, other than to do it, and it’s not mandatory or life threatening. It’s merely a hobby, and I try to make it fun. It may be as corny to the outsider as it is for someone who attends Happy Meal toy conventions, but perhaps it’s a way to spice up a hobby that at times can be boring. It’s nothing but dust collecting on an archive I can’t really do anything with unless I’m interactive with it, which means taking the record out of the sleeve, placing it on the turntable, and lowering the stylus onto it.

  • As record companies started steering away from actual records and into cassettes and CD’s, many countries didn’t bother pressing up vinyl for a lot of titles. Or in the U.S., where vinyl was king, you would only be able to find cassette and CD, and had to hunt down an imported pressing, sometimes 50 to 100 percent more in cost. If you were lucky, maybe the labels pressed up promotional copies for radio and DJ’s, but as the compact disc became the king in the 1990’s, records were pushed to the side. In 2010, it’s rare to find any new album pressed in more than one country unless it’s someone very popular. To make things worse, new record prices in 2010 are often tagged with “import prices”, and add to that that labels will also press them up at 180g or 200g, making them “of audiophile quality”. Sound may not crystal clear, but the record is thick and heavy enough to give them a chance to add an extra ten dollars to any new release. Unfair, sure, but they’re also taking advantage of the vinyl revival/renaissance of the early 21st century. For the 40 dollars you might spend on the new Neil Young, you can buy 40 records from the dollar bin, which is why record collecting is still fun for me, the exploration aspect of it. If I want to get different label, cover, and pressing variations, I can choose to go that route.
  • Now for my question. How many of you do the same thing, and for what albums? Post your replies.
  • SOME STUFFS: Carlos Santana returns to the “garden” that made him an international superstar

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    (Original photo courtesy of Michael Bloom for Bethel Woods)
    In August 1969, no one ever heard of guitarist Carlos Santana or his band, originally called the Santana Blues Band. Shortened to just Santana, they did have a small but faithful following in the Bay Area where they were welcomed into the healthy music community. With the help of concert promoter Bill Graham, they were able to get a spot at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in Bethel, New York, where they thrilled the crowd with rock, jazz, and Latin influenced sounds that did what it was meant to do: enter the consciousness of those who wanted it.

    41 years later, Santana performed in a venue on the property of what was Max Yasgur’s farm, and received a lot of press because of it. Here’s an interview with him, courtesy of Goldmine magazine (click here to read the full article.)

    DUST IT OFF: Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 15-18, 1969

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    Two months before Woodstock was held in Bethel, New York, two people were married. These two people were my parents. My dad was the party guy with a love for cars, pakalolo, and of course music. My mom was straight laced and loved crafts, but she too had a love for music. My dad was into rock, folk, and Ravi Shankar, while my mom was into The Rolling Stones and embraced her soul 45’s. Both of them also were in touch with their Hawaiian sides and had a love for the music passed along to them by their parents. As an aging hippie might tell you, perhaps I “was in the cosmos” when my parents were married. 14 months after Jimi Hendrix played his last notes at the festival, I came into the world.

    I had my share of toys, but one thing that was really my toy box was the family stereo and the records I could listen to (but not touch). Music was never not around, so if I went to my uncle’s house enxt door, I could listen to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, while staring at scary album covers. Scary, at least, for a three year old. In my house, I remember seeing and hearing Santana‘s Abraxas, War‘s Deliver The Word, and two 45’s that my dad would sing to me, becoming some of my earliest musical memories: John Rowles‘ “Cheryl Moana Marie” and Johnny Nash‘s “I Can See Clearly Now”. When we moved from Los Angeles to Honolulu, it was because my dad’s father was not doing well. That year my sister was born. A few weeks later, my grandfather died. Even in the bad times, music was there to comfort us, make us sing, make us happy. That made an impact on me, and that impact will be with me until I am no longer around.

    I definitely remember my parents looking like hippies, but that was part of the look, and many of my dad’s friends looked like that. He smoked and had beers, so did all of his friends. I did not grow up in a commune or under hippie circumstances, but my dad was very much a guy who was laid back and loose, kicking back like any Hawaiian wood, but also getting a hint of the California vibe. The Fonz was cool in the mid to late 70’s, but so was Bruce Lee. My dad was the coolest guy I knew.

    The first time Woodstock affected me was when I saw the soundtrack album, the 3-record set on Cotillion, at the Kamehameha Super Swap Meet at the Kam Drive-In, when it had only one screen. It would later expand to two, but this was when going to a drive-in was still the in thing. My family made regular trips to the swap meet, and up until that point I think most of the records I listened to came from department stores like Holiday Mart, GEM, Sears, and even JCPenney. Let’s not forget DJ’s Sound City and House Of Music. But I clearly remember roaming around the swap meet, probably no more than 15 feet away from my parents and I saw a guy with a small bit of albums for sale. I remember a shiny rim from a car, and there it was: the Woodstock soundtrack with the blue/gray labels. 3-record set, I don’t think I had seen too many 3-record sets up until that point. 2-record sets were a luxury, but 3? Can someone actually listen to that much music in one sitting? I don’t know, but I had no idea who or what the record was, but the fact that it was a 3-record set made me want to have it. I was 9 years old, I had no money whatsoever. This wasn’t one record, it was 3, which meant the album was three dollars. WHOA, that’s a mighty big risk for my parents to take. It might mean I couldn’t have any extra snacks after school, but I had to have it. It felt as if they were reluctant, but I didn’t have adult perception so who knows, but they gave me the three dollars, I gave it to the man, and I got my record. We went home an hour later, I played it on my record player, and loved… some of it. I didn’t like the soft acoustic or folk stuff just yet, but I loved “Soul Sacrifice”, “I’m Going Home”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, Sly & The Family Stone songs and the Hendrix section. I would get into the other elements down the line, I just remember not being able to play The Paul Butterfield Blues Band‘s “Love March” because the song was heavily scratched. Seems the original owner was a Hendrix fan, maybe not a Butterfield fan.

    Getting the soundtrack coincided with this, although I am not certain which came first: the album or the movie. I remember seeing the movie for the first time on HBO, when the concert and/or film was about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, so either it was August 1979 or March 1980. But the promo was on HBO with radio DJ Casey Kasem saying at the end: “Woodstock: where it all began” as the logo showed on the screen while the panning of the crowd from the end of the film was shown in the background. I watched it, but not all the way through. I don’t think I had ever seen anything that was three hours in length, but I remember being blown away by The Who, Santana, and Sly & The Family Stone. When home video became affordable for all, I rented the original VHS pressing of the film. Back then there was no such thing as letterbox, so the movie was fullscreen, panning back and forth. It was very difficult to watch, because you would only see a partial image, and one of the trademarks of the film are the multi-images you can see. PBS and MTV would also show the film and their presentation was letterboxed, but I didn’t get to hrave a proper version until the director’s cut was released in 1994, released on DVD a few years later.

    Over the years, Woodstock has meant a lot to me, or at least it is an event I really wished I had been able to experience. Because of my musical tastes and interests, my parents had always playfully said “you were born too late”. But perhaps it’s automatic to search for events of the past that appeal to you, and want to know what it was like. Over the years, I wanted to read as many articles and books on the festival, wanted to listen to complete sets of every band that played. Online you can find about The Woodstock Project, appreciated by like-minded fans. What moved me was the fact that over 250,000 people were gathering merely for the sake of music. Right? I learned that it was about people with shared ideas and philosophies, or at least a need to discover different ideas and philosophies to find common ground, one of which was a love for music. The music was the message, it documented not only current events but the times that were. Yet that message would quietly turn into a hush, leaving many people to wonder what the fuss was about.

    Without getting into a debate, one thing we can agree on: the music had a lot of integrity. Maybe it was of the times, maybe it became timeless due to it, it has become nostalgia for the thousands who were there and the millions who wanted to be there or claimed they were. By gathering for the sake of music, celebrating life and good times, it looked back to an innocent time when we were children, when our only care in the world was to be home before it got dark. It was an adult playground, and it was a chance to play in the sand, or in this case in the mud. Who couldn’t help but look at that event and go “wow, I wish I was there to experience the music, the atmosphere, the people, and the fun?” It’s an idea that seems to be long gone, but I know I’ve been looking for some sense of the dream that exists, but not on a grand scale. It was Joni Mitchell who wrote the song named after the festival, who described it perfectly. It’s as if the festival was filled with thousands of Peter Pan’s, and when it was over, everyone had to grow up and deal with the real issues of the world. But Mitchell caught wind of the innocence and knew what was being lost:

    By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong
    And everywhere was a song and a celebration
    And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes riding shotgun in the sky
    Turning into butterflies above our nation.

    We are stardust, we are golden
    We are caught in the devils bargain
    And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

    Perhaps one day people will be able to see a similar garden again, but I think it’s up to the youth to plant the seeds to make that garden a reality, for them and for their future.

    Happy 40th Anniversary to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.

    SOME STUFFS: Woodstock concert documentary gets the deluxe treatment in special 40th anniversary edition

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    2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, held in Bethel, New York on August 15-18, 1969. I was born a year after the fact, but I became a huge fan of the movie and the soundtrack album when I was nine or ten. Home Box Office (HBO) started showing the film, and the promo had Casey Kasem saying the slogan Woodstock: where it all began as the pan shot that was shown after Jimi Hendrix‘s performance had the Woodstock logo. That gave me a chicken skin moment, the idea that over 500,000 people were there to gather at some field… for music. I was a Hendrix fan through my uncles, but this also had The Who, Sly & The Family Stone, and Santana among many others. A year or so later, I found the Woodstock soundtrack album at the Kamehameha Super Swap Meet when I was walking around with my parents. I would roam (back when eleven year olds were free to roam) and I spotted a seller selling the album, a 3 record set. This meant that my parents had to spend $3. If I ever asked for an album, they would look for one and one record only. This was a big deal but by begging they bought me the album. I still remember going home that Saturday or Sunday, putting the album on my record player, and being blown away by what I heard. Parts of the record were scratchy, but others were perfect. I still remember hearing Ten Years After‘s “I’m Going Home” and wanting to play air guitar. I wanted to be Alvin Lee.

    Since then, I’ve wanted to know more about the soundtrack, more about the music recorded and not used for the soundtrack albums (there were two) or the film, and the film itself. Now, they’re taking things to the next level. Warner Home Video will be releasing Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music: The Ultimate Collector’s Edition in June on standard DVD and in Blu-Ray. This 4 disc (!!!) collection will feature a lot of goodies, here’s the official press release:

    Warner Bros. Warner Home Video has announced that they have bumped up the release date of ‘Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Directors Cut 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition’ to June 9th, day-and-date with the DVD release. This box set will feature two hours extra hours of performances from 13 groups who played at the legendary festival, but never made it onto the film, along with a reprint of Life magazine commemorative issue, a lucite lenticular display of festival photos, assorted memorabilia and an iron-on patch with the classic bird-and-guitar Woodstock emblem.

    Technical specs have not been announced at this time, but you can expect a 1080p VC-1 video presentation along with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.

    The disc-by-disc breakdown includes:

    * Disc One Film (Director’s Cut), Part 1 128:38 min
    * The Museum at BethelWoods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock

    Disc Two
    * Film (Director’s Cut), Part 2 95:34 min

    Disc Three
    * Woodstock: Untold Stories 18 Performances as never before seen
    * Woodstock: From Festival to Feature Interviews of the sights and sounds of the 3 day event, from concert goers, promoters, crew and musicians

    Exclusive to the Blu-ray release will be:

    * Customize Your Own WoodstockPlaylist (from the 18 bonus performances)
    o This feature allows you to customize your own personal jukebox playlist from more than a dozen live Woodstock performances as never been seen.
    * BD-Live features include MediaCenter, My WB Commentary, & Live Community Screening
    o MediaCenteris a hub for trailers, features and content
    + You can get sneak peeks of upcoming Warner Bros. films, and rate trailers
    + You can access to Exclusive Content such as interviews, featurettes, and more only seen through WB BD-Live
    + You can access Photo Galleries and other special features
    o Live Community Screenings allow you to send invitations to fans and friends across the country for virtual screenings at a specified time and chat online with each other as the movie plays on each person’s Blu-ray player. You can host your own Live Community Screening with your buddy list or participate in a WB hosted Warner Bros. BD-Live community event
    o My WB Commentary lets you record and post a Picture-in-Picture commentary right over the film, then share it and rate it. Using a web-camera, you can record your own comments and play them back as a Picture-in-Picture feature over the film scene you have chosen and share it with your friends or the entire Warner Bros. BD-Live Community

    Additional info:

    * Band Roster (22 Bands) Arlo Guthrie
    * Canned Heat
    * Country Joe & the Fish
    * Country Joe McDonald
    * Creedence Clearwater Revival
    * Crosby, Stills, NashGrateful Dead Janis Joplin Jefferson Airplane
    * Jimi Hendrix
    * Joan Baez
    * Joe Cocker
    * John Sebastian
    * Johnny Winter
    * Mountain
    * Paul Butterfield Blues Band
    * Richie Havens
    * Santana
    * Sha-Na-Na
    * Sly & The Family Stone
    * Ten Years After
    * The Who

    18 Bonus Performances
    * Joan Baez “One Day at a Time”
    * Country Joe McDonald “Flying High”
    * Santana “Evil Ways”
    * Canned Heat “I’m Her Man” and “On the Road Again”
    * Mountain “Beside the Sea” and “Southbound Train”
    * Grateful Dead “Turn On Your Love Light”
    * Creedence Clearwater Revival “Born on the Bayou”, “I’ve Put a Spell on You” and “Keep on Chooglin’”
    * The Who “We’re Not Going To Take It” and “My Generation”
    * Jefferson Airplane “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds”
    * Joe Cocker “Something’s Coming On”
    * Johnny Winter “Mean Town Blues”
    * Paul Butterfield “Morning Sunrise”
    * Sha Na Na “Teen Angel”

    Woodstock: From Festival to Film
    * The Camera: The Éclair NPR was the best camera around in 1969; Michael Wadleigh talks about why the Éclair was the right camera for this film.
    * 365,000 Feet of Film: The stories of how Dale Bell and his crew begged, borrowed and stole just enough film to document the festival.
    * Shooting Stage: Those up-close shots of performers didn’t just happen by magic; see how Wadleigh and his cameramen got those up close and personal shots of the performers.
    * The Line Up: The Who, Sha Na Na, Santana, Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane and many more; how did all these bands get on the roster for the festival of a life time?
    * Holding the Negative Hostage: What does a filmmaker do when Technicolor is sending a copy of your negative to the studio without your permission? Well, you lock up the film and hire a lawyer.
    * Announcements: “Don’t take the brown acid” or maybe it was green. We’ll hear about all the strange and informative announcements heard during those three days of peace, love and enlightenment.
    * Suits VS. Longhairs: The clash between the hippie filmmakers and the Warner executives who didn’t understand what this film meant.
    * Documenting History: Find out from Michael Wadleigh and Dale Bell, along with filmmakers, where the idea of capturing this event on film came from.
    * Woodstock: The Journey: Some came by car, others by truck, a few came by helicopter but most walked to the most famous festival in history.
    * Pre-Production: We’ll find out how this production got off the ground and meet the members of the crew that made it happen.
    * Production: How many cameras were used? How much film did they go through? Did anyone sleep? All these questions and more will be answered here as we explore how Woodstock was captured on film.
    * Synchronization: How do you sync all this material with out any slates? No slate, no problem. With the help of an upright Moviola, Dale Bell, Michael Wadleigh, Eddie Kramer and the editors were able to make magic from miles of tape and film.
    * The Crowd: Half a million people of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages and sexes attended this historical event. We’ll hear stories about the number of people and how they all coexisted for three days with only minor incidents.
    * No Rain! No Rain!: Everyone talks about the rain at this event as if it were a character. It was. It set the tone, provided moments of danger, fun and disgust.
    * 3 Days in a Truck: Eddie Kramer heard some of the most amazing performances as he recorded this historic event. But during those three days of peace, love and music, he didn’t get to see any performances because he was stuck in a truck.
    * WoodstockEffect: The film, the event and the album catapulted many musicians into the limelight, changing their lives forever.
    * Living up to Idealism
    * World’s Longest Optical
    * Critical Acclaim
    * Courtesy of The Museum at BethelWoods: The Hog Farm Commune
    * Hugh Hefner and Michael Wadleigh: The WoodstockConnection

    Incredible. I recently read an online post from one of the people involved in this new version, and he says the quality of the unseen footage will be incredible, blowing away anything anyone has ever seen. When the film was put together, it involved a process where you could see two or three images at a time. The process also meant that the quality of the film would go down a few generations, not unlike audio tape (i.e. a dub of a dub of a dub), so what we’ve known for all of these years is a certain trademarked Woodstock “look”. Now we’re going to see it newly refreshed, similar to going to the multi-tracks to hear an all new mix of a classic album. In fact, to get a hint of what it will look and sound like, take a look at this video courtesy of featuring a look at an overdubbing session involving engineer Eddie Kramer “touching up” some of the audio elements for Santana’s set. In it you see him synching the audio with video, and the clip of them performing “Evil Ways” looks incredible, even as a small streaming video.

    I had inquired a month or two ago about the hopes of seeing any footage of Mountain performing “Long Red”. It is the Woodstock performance of “Long Red” that has become a staple in hip-hop as a primary breakbeat to sample, used by everyone from Kanye West to The Game. I told them that in hip-hop, this is a very important song and I am certain most people who used the song aren’t aware of its connection to Woodstock. A number of hip-hop boards have people asking “how in the world did they achieve that drum sound”, and yet if you listen to the Woodstock soundtrack that sound can be heard in the drums played by Santana’s Michael Schrieve and The Who’s Keith Moon. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like “Long Red” will be a part of the new video box set, and another source claims that during Mountain’s performance, not everything was captured on camera since they weren’t considered a “primary act”.

    I’m hoping to get an interview with one of the men behind this new collector’s edition, to get more in-depth on what to expect.

    SOME STUFFS: Woodstock Wiki

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic If you’re a fan of the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair that happened in Bethel, New York in August of 1969, you’ll want to check out the Woodstock Wiki, where one is able to find out about all of the artists who performed and setlists, plus various facts and artifacts about the festival itself. It is still in its infancy, but if you were there or like me was born a year after the fact, this will become a great resource.