Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
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Fifty years ago this year, people came together for three days of peace and music.

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Being a little over one year old at the time, I have no contemporary recollections of the event. I hope many of you do, and I'd love to hear them all.

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As with any beloved old thing these days, there is an urge to find things wrong with it, and no doubt there were some things wrong with it. I heard Grace Slick say in an interview that it was terrible in terms of the lack of infrastructure, planning, the amount of mud, generally how badly the thing was organized. I told my mom that, and my mom said "That was the point. The conditions were difficult, and yet nobody fought." I've heard from other sources that people cannot remember a fight nor even an unkind word. I don't know if that's true, but my guess is that fights and unkind acts must have been few and far between in order to create those lasting impressions.

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Again, I wasn't there, and if I had been, I wouldn't remember. So please share your memories, all of you (good or bad).

If I had been a few years older, maybe I could have been this kid:

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Given what the 25th anniversary celebration looked like, admittedly from a distance, I have no hope that Woodstock's 50th will be celebrated in any way that truly commemorates what, if I may say so, amounts to a truly admirable spirit on the part of those of your generation who participated, or even wished to.

This image is the epitome of that spirit, in my opinion:

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The fact that people took garbage and made it into a giant peace sign...

Well. My hat's off to you all, or it would be if I had one.

Something New
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Well. Apparently I'm going to need yet another new garage door. So far two of us have broken one door each; I guess it's my turn next.

A ladder was standing under the garage door, and one of my partners hit the wrong button and opened the wrong door. It's easy to do; the buttons are completely counterintuitive, and the third one looks like it should open the door nearest the house while the first one looks like it should open the one farthest. It was impossible to extricate the ladder from the garage door without breaking it. Or, well, maybe it's just off its runners. Hopefully.

Something Borrowed
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Continuing with the Woodstock theme, here's some hits by Woodstock artists that were covers. One of them, "All Along the Watchtower," I obviously knew, being an avid listener to both Dylan and Hendrix in my youth:

Here's some that I didn't know were covers:

I had no idea Kris Kristofferson wrote this!

I feel downright ashamed for not knowing this one. I love both Fleetwood Mac and Santana, but had no idea Peter Green wrote this. Good on ya, Mr. Green.

Here's a little shout-out to the guy on drums, who really makes Santana's version of the song. Well, in addition to Santana himself, of course.

This isn't exactly a cover, but I figured I'd include it; apparently Canned Heat's hit "Goin Up the Country" was an adapted version of an old blues tune:

Canned Heat, who were early blues enthusiasts, based "Going Up the Country" on "Bull Doze Blues", recorded in 1928 by Texas bluesman Henry Thomas. Thomas was from the songster tradition and had a unique sound, sometimes accompanying himself on quills, an early Afro-American wind instrument similar to panpipes. He recorded "Bull Doze Blues" in Chicago on June 13, 1928, for Vocalion Records.

Wow. Yeah, it sure is a cover. Damn!

I don't mind white bands covering the work of black artists, but I really don't like it when nobody knows the black artists and their originals even existed. Phooey!

Not owning the original vinyl, I have no idea whether Canned Heat at least gave credit in the liner notes.

Just to extend this further into the future, here's one of my favorite covers of Canned Heat's version:

And here's the quintessential Woodstock cover:

Something Blue
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My respect for Andy Warhol, until now, has been limited to my acknowledgment of him as an iconoclast who was making certain points about the manufacture of art and the nature of popular culture. In other words, I've valued his art the same way I'd value an essay--with the caveat that Warhol's pieces might make their point more effectively than an essay, because visual art hits a person much more vividly than prose. Usually.

This is the first time I've respected his art for another reason. Wow.

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Apparently Warhol was riffing on Picasso's Guernica, particularly in his choice of a weeping woman as the focus and emblem of tragedy (he could just as well have chosen to focus on Jack).

I do think that there's some criticism to be made regarding the relentless America individualism that could refigure the wartime destruction of an entire village into the assassination of Jack Kennedy. But it's also true that the murder of that president had deeper and broader political implications, and that, for many in this country, it was a moment where transformation was forced upon them violently, through pain.

To all of you who were involved and have kept the faith all these years, even a little, I salute you.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

enhydra lutris's picture

recall why, other than the complete lack of funds and other wherewithal. Truth be told, I'm not even sure where I was, Berkeley, Mendocino, or Canada (I wandered up to Canada to help a buddy expatriate up there in the middle of one summer, I just can't recall which one, '68 or '69). I know that I graduated from Cal in June '68 and was (back?) in Berkeley for People's Park in May '69, but we would have all been arraigned and cut loose well before August. Generally, June '68, May '69 and October '74 (my first real, full time straight gig) are fixed points in some sort of chaotic maelstrom of events and activities with no fixed locus in time. Ahhhh, youth. Heh.

Garage doors are pretty robust in their own way, so it might be half-ways easy to fix, you just have to study how it is supposed to work and why it isn't very closely. Good luck with it. You need a way to differentiate your buttons, preferably with small obstacles. I recommend using Sugru - miracle all purpose stuff.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

with a text string manipulator like awk containing all known verses/stanzas. I suspect that if you listen to enough of it you will discover that though there are vast numbers of melodic and rhythmic canvases, there are some given number of semi-regular stanzas, from which you may grab a handful, either thematically or at random and assemble a song, throwing in an original here and there as you see fit.

typical:
(Well,) I [got/woke] up this mornin', { } (walkin')all around, [{ } all around,] ['round] my bed
((I) say)_ I got up this mornin', (with) the { } [walkin'/all] (a)round my bed
(Well) [I went to get breakfast/thought about { }], and, [the { }/it] [was in my bread/like(d) to kill me dead]

(Well,) (the) blues jumped a rabbit, [it ran/ran him] a solid mile
(Well,) (the) blues jumped a rabbit, [it ran/ran him] a solid mile
[blues caught up to him/he laid right down] (and) he [cried/wept] like a [newborn/baby] [chile/child]

Went down to the river [{damn near anything}] 2x
Something else

I'm leavin' in the morning 2x
Something else

Well, I got me a woman {something or other} 2x
(Yeah,) she {whatever}

Have you ever seen a { } [{doing something}] 2x
tag line

Alternate
Have you ever seen a { } 2x
{doing something}

Goin'down that (mean ol') { } [road/highway] 2x
etc.

Wink

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
cross fertilization. "Blues Jumped A Rabbit" is the name of a song, but also a qusi formulaic verse in a great many other songs. Which came first? Who knows. And the same artist will do the "same" "song" differently many times. As a kid I once saw a transcription done by Alan Lomax of a long version of Leadbelly's "Good Morning Blues" that had a lot of verses found in other songs, which is what really gave me the idea that there are only 30,000 versus and you just mix them up add music and voila'.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

dystopian's picture

@enhydra lutris How to sing/write the blues... I had a link for a website, but just checked and the link seems bad now... http://www.nesbary.com/politics/blues.htm
It had a chart with words to choose and was hilarious... This was a sample:

Most blues begin “woke up this morning.” “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you write something nasty on the next line: “I got a good woman- with the meanest dog in town.” Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of. “Got a good woman With the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher. And he weighs ’bout 500 pounds.

Wink

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

enhydra lutris's picture

@dystopian
some stuff in that vein myself, rock songs too. One of my favorites was:

I'm leavin' in the mornin', don't ya know I gots to go
I'm gonna give up farmin' and join the rodeo.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

was a cultural moment wasn't it? I didn't go, but I had several friends and acquiescences who went...some of whom were stuck in traffic during most of the event.
Nice 7 min documentary

There is to be a reunion this summer sometime https://www.woodstock.com/

Here are some lost performances...(1 hour)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQMIIdiStpc

Have a good one everybody!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

detroitmechworks's picture

There's an energy there that feels off. Read the description of it in "Two Years Before the Mast" and was amazed how much the description reminded me of the town when I was growing up. But then things changed. I used to spend a lot of time in the historical district, and it's amazing how a place just seems destroyed by connectivity. Hundreds of years of feeling, gone in a few short decades.

I don't know what caused it, but I can feel the same kind of rot starting to grow in Portland. Was walking downtown with my kids, and saw an old multistory building, right down town for sale. Engaged in a few pipe dreams with the kids, about how it would be awesome to set up a hand made workshop downtown, right next to one of the old Haberdashers. (Daughter had a chat with a nice woman who makes hats. Apparently these days many hat styles are going extinct due to nobody making the molds. Another lost art in the last hundred years.) You could put a dojo on the upper floors like the Kodokan in Tokyo... (Which also has lodging for cheap for Judoka... way I figure it, Why Not?) Ahhh, pipe dreams. Something like that would barely turn a profit. Which of course would be the entire point. Ah, just dreaming. Still, Nice dreams, and I wish I had the money to do it.

Other than that, been adjusting to things and some big changes in my life. Not easy, and I have regrets, but it was the best thing in the long run.

So forgive me for a little hair metal melencholy.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

dystopian's picture

I was nearing 14 when Woodstock, so was quite aware of it and thought it sounded like the coolest thing ever since it was the music I was in love with. But too young and on wrong side of country. Done all the records and movies for it and Monterey Pop as they were major performances for many of the acts. Woodstock took many big bands to levels of popularity they had never had, nationwide big. Including Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Santana, Johnny Winter, The Who, and Ten Years After in particular.

I have friends that went to a thing called Devonshire Downs in L.A. in 69, Hendrix, Spirit, etc. played, alas my concert years had not begun yet.

The socal rock event of the early 70's was called California Jam. April 6, 1974, at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Just one day, that no one there can forget. There is a Cal Jam fan club, and much of it is on youtube. Three hundred thousand beautiful people in an altered state. Rare Earth, Earth wind and Fire, Seals & Crofts, Black Oak Arkansas, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and ELP. Keith Emerson revealed his 'flying piano'
(on youtube) bit. I imagine Woodstock was three days of that!

There was an attempt to capture the magic again at a Cal Jam II in 78, I did not go, friends said it was nothing like the first one. Times had changed. It wasn't the dream lineup of a lifetime for a day of partying with just a couple hundred thousand close friends. I don't think there was even a fight at Cal Jam. Might have been a childbirth if I recall. Everyone brought a few days of their best shit, for the day. It was awesome!
It was the spirit of the people and players that made it so.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein