Woodstock Two

Various Artists

Cotillion, 1971

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/11/2009

If at first you succeed, then issue another album quickly.

The Woodstock movie and resulting number one-selling soundtrack had both been commercially successful. The festival itself had attained mythological proportions. The summer of 1971 found the release of Woodstock Two, which gathered more music from the festival onto a double-disc release.

It was a far different affair than its predecessor, however. While the first release came across as a concert experience complete with announcements and stage patter, this second issue only presents a number of live performances alone (plus, the Mountain tracks were not even from bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250
Woodstock).

All is not lost, though. There is still some worthwhile music to be explored – and honestly, some to be avoided as well.

The first side of the original LP release is all live Hendrix, which is always a good thing. At six and eight minutes, “Jam Back At The House” and “Get My Heart Back Together” give him room to stretch and improvise. On the other hand, “Isabella” clocks in at three and a half minutes and is an interesting counterpoint to the other two tracks, showing Hendrix keeping himself in check and within the set structures of the song.

Side two keeps the momentum going, with The Jefferson Airplane checking in with two tracks. Live Airplane is also a very good thing. They were the last act of the day (or early morning, I should say) and their performance is loose and excellent. I have since heard their entire set and the tracks contained here, “Saturday Afternoon/Won’t You Try” and “Eskimo Blue Day,” present them at the top of their game.

Side three is where things begin to drag. Joan Baez, CSN&Y, and Melanie just cannot measure up to Hendrix and The Airplane. It is like ordering a milkshake in a bar; it’s pleasant, but missing an edge.

Never play side four of the original vinyl release. As I mentioned earlier, the Mountain tracks are not from Woodstock. “Woodstock Boogie” by Canned Heat is basically filler, and the album limps to a close with the audience singing “Let The Sunshine In” during the rainstorm. They may have just run out of available material, but it does not do justice to the festival’s memory.

The music of Woodstock Two is now available elsewhere, as many complete performances by artists have been released. This album is now a historical artifact and should be treated as such.

Rating: C+

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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.