Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack and More

Various Artists

Cotillion, 1970

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/10/2009

This was the IT album to buy when it was released in May of 1970. The Woodstock Music And Art Fair had quickly gained an almost mythological status, and while 400,000 people had been present, millions more wished they had been there. The movie and this album were as close as they were going to get to the actual event.

Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack And More was a huge hit during the summer of 1970, and it would spend nearly a month on top of the Billboard album charts.

It was a brilliantly conceived album, going beyond just the music. It provided speeches, crowd noises, and generated a feeling that you were actually present at the show. The tracks, while only providing a snippet of the hours of music that was presented, make sense within the context of the album. While it helps if you have seen the movie, it does stand upon its own as a vivid and overall excellent presentation of this historic event.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

I am a part of the Woodstock generation and many of these songs and performances are still instantly recognizable four decades later.

The album begins with “I Had A Dream” by John Sebastian, “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat, and “Freedom” by Richie Havens. In a little over ten minutes, the philosophy of the event, the call to the faithful, and a statement of belief are presented through the music.

There are three outstanding tracks that help to convey the excitement of the festival. The “Crowd Rain Chant,” which morphs into “Soul Sacrifice” by Santana, almost allow you to visualize the famous mud slide. “I’m Going Home” by Ten Years After blasts from the speakers and features some of the most frenetic guitar playing on record. The thirteen minute medley by Sly & The Family Stone find this Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame group at the height of their powers. You can feel the energy build as the group romps through “Dance To The Music,” “Music Lover,” and finally “I Want To Take You Higher.”

The set ends with three tracks by Jimi Hendrix, including his famous performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Thirty nine years after its release and forty years after its recording, Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack And More remains a wonderful relic of the era and festival. An exploration of the Woodstock myth and music passes through this album.

Rating: A

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© 2009 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cotillion, and is used for informational purposes only.