Various Artists - Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur’s Farm

Three days of peace, music, mud and drugs

Featuring 30 of the acts who
appeared in 1969 at the
festival that bookended the
hippie movement before darker
reality set in, this 6CD set
reveals many things: one is that
the sound quality left a lot to be
desired, hence Grateful Dead’s
refusal to countenance their
appearance being included on
the original vinyl. Yet here you
get the Dead’s Dark Star,
though Jerry Garcia’s advice to
steer clear of the green acid is
more entertaining.

The list of the era’s top
head acts is impressive –
everyone from Tim Hardin
and Canned Heat to Jefferson
Airplane and Creedence
Clearwater Revival. Trouble is,
the roll call doesn’t make much
logical sense. Even The Who
doing Pinball Wizard and Joe
Cocker growling Feelin’ Alright
can’t lift the spirits. It’s the
oddballs who flourish. Arlo
Guthrie, John B Sebastian,
Melanie and Bert Sommer may
not steal the show, but you can
relish their acoustic noise and
hear them imbibing the spirit of
occasion. Elsewhere, the whole
Jimi Hendrix-The Star Spangled
Banner routine has been done
to death and the Crosby, Stills
& Nash (& Young) excerpts
don’t match their studio
incarnations. Let’s hope it’s
a cheap box set.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Rhino | 8122797313 (6CD)

Reviewed by Max Bell
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