Archive for Country Joe McDonald

(More Than) 40 Years Out: Celebrating Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2012 by 30daysout

Marker overlooking the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair grounds near Bethel, NY.

There isn’t much more to say about Woodstock that we didn’t say here, here or here … but the 43rd anniversary of the historic music festival is coming up this week (Aug. 15-17) and we thought it would be a good opportunity to look back for a few minutes.

Why should we celebrate Woodstock? Someone asked that once, then he answered his own question: it was just a weekend when a whole lot of dirty hippies gathered in one place to smoke dope, get naked with each other and bitch about all of the things they took for granted. And I said yeah, exactly! The one thing he didn’t add was that those 500,000 so-called dirty hippies gathered there because nobody stopped them from doing it.

Even in 1969, while there were riots in the streets and war protests across the country, we were still the Land of the Free. All of those people initially drawn to Woodstock went for the music, but once they got there it was something else: a festival that got out of control, a cluster fuck with a soundtrack. It was, ultimately, a peaceful happening in a time of war and personal conflict.

John Sebastian playing for the masses at Woodstock.

Woodstock was a good thing that happened in a troubled time. When assassins took the lives of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and Malcolm X, those were bad things. When a police riot disrupted protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, that was also a bad thing. When American National Guardsmen shot and killed unarmed students at Kent State, that was certainly a bad thing.

Most of all, Woodstock was a celebration of freedom. People went to Woodstock to celebrate the rights that we are guaranteed as Americans, and the privileges we think we deserve as a rich, prosperous nation. Including freedom of speech – the same right used back then to protest the Vietnam War, and the same right guaranteed today to guys who own fast-food chicken restaurants as well as to people who disagree with what he says.

So maybe Woodstock should join our calendar of national celebrations, another occasion to appreciate the many great things we have here in America. Maybe you shouldn’t take the day off work, but on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of this coming week just take a moment to remember a time of peace and music – and freedom.

And you can play these as your soundtrack … they’re not all from the original Woodstock, but each one has the proper spirit.

MP3: “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell

MP3: “Freedom” (2009 version) by Richie Havens

MP3: “Kiss My Ass” by Country Joe & the Fish

MP3: “Green River” (live at Woodstock) by Creedence Clearwater Revival

MP3: “The Brown Acid Is Not Specifically Too Good” stage announcement at Woodstock, 1969

MP3: “Goin’ Up The Country” (live at Bethel Woods 2009) by Canned Heat

MP3: “Dance To The Music” (live at Woodstock) by Sly and the Family Stone

MP3: “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

MP3: “Piece Of My Heart” by Big Brother & the Holding Company

MP3: “China Cat Sunflower” (live) by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Johnny B. Goode” (live at Woodstock) by Johnny Winter

MP3: “Volunteers/With A Little Help From My Friends” (live at Bethel Woods 2009) by Jefferson Starship

MP3: “For Those of You Who Have Partaken of the Green Acid” stage announcement at Woodstock, 1969

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix

 

MP3: NBC News report on Woodstock, 1969

42 Years Out: Woodstock Music & Art Fair

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by 30daysout

Yeah, it was 42 years ago this weekend, more or less.

I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road. And I asked him, “Where are you going?” And this he told me:

“Sir, you can park up in the parking lot.” He was one of the volunteers who hang around the green, grassy fields where they held the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, about 42 years ago. We drove up there from New York City on a hot July Monday, and we walked through the nice museum and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts amphitheater. We also strolled through the lush grass where a little more than four decades ago about half a million kids grooved to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and many more.

Not too many people were there on the day we went, and of course it was nowhere near as exciting as the visit we made in 2009. But it’s a nice pilgrimage for people who profess to love the music – it’s a reminder that no matter how many Sugarlands or Jason Aldeans or Lady Gagas parade before us, there will always be somebody plucking a guitar and writing a song. For every one of those clowns there will be a Jakob Dylan, a Justin Townes Earle, a Mumford and Sons and maybe even an older artist finally getting deserved exposure, like Alejandro Escovedo. Like the green grass outside Bethel, New York, you just gotta go looking for it.

Let’s play some tracks they gave us from the 40th anniversary of Woodstock at Bethel Woods, NY, in 2009:

MP3:  “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Fish Cheer/Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” by Country Joe McDonald

MP3: “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain” by Ten Years After

MP3: “Woodstock Boogie” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Summertime” by Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Sophia Ramos)

MP3: “St. Stephen/Turn On Your Lovelight” by the Jefferson Starship (with Cathy Richardson, Linda Imperial and Tom Constanten)

MP3: “Volunteers/With A Little Help From My Friends” by the Jefferson Starship and others

YouTube: Excerpts from “Oh! Woodstock!” a 1970 documentary on NBC-TV

The Woodstock festival grounds today.

Woodstock Veterans To Appear at 40th Anniversary

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by 30daysout

bethel-woods
Well, they’re calling it “Heroes Of Woodstock,” or the “Bethel Woods Music Festival” – it depends on where you look.  But on Saturday, August 15, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in upstate New York will host a music festival on the grounds of the original 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.

The performers listed include the Levon Helm Band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Mountain (with Leslie West and Corky Laing), and Country Joe McDonald.  They’re not going to have it in a wild, open field – this festival will be in the lavish Bethel Woods Center for the Arts amphitheatre built on a hill overlooking the original Woodstock site, a dairy farm that hosted 400,000 people on August 15-17, 1969.

And of course, it won’t be “free,” as Woodstock was for its final day in 1969.  Top tickets are $69 (get it?), there’s a $40 seat and lawn tickets on the grass are, of course, $19.69.  There is also a full museum on the site dedicated to the Woodstock festival and the era, and I’ve read that it’s pretty good. 

Bethel Center For The Arts official website

Woodstock.com

MP3: “The Weight” by the Band (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Somebody To Love” by the Jefferson Airplane (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Southbound Train” by Mountain (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” by Janis Joplin (live at Woodstock)

Repost: Time To Do The Right Thing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by 30daysout

UPDATE: The Time is coming … time to pick a president.  We’re not going to tell you how to vote.  We are going to remind you it’s really important, though.  This appeared around the Fourth of July and we think it ought to go up again.  Listen to the tunes, do some research and make your choice. 

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out the world.  Why does everything cost so much, while human life seems so cheap?  Can we resolve our differences with other cultures without having to pick up a gun, or is it too late?  What is going to happen to us, to our children, and to their children?

Continue reading