Friday, January 11, 2013

Hippie Festival Trinity

It has long been my belief that the succession of Monterey, Woodstock, and The Isle of Wight make up a sort of holy trinity of hippie music festivals. The Monterey International Pop Festival kicks off the scene in 1967, the Summer of Love, with an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. Woodstock follows in 1969, bringing with it an air of accomplishment and wonder at what the hippie dream is capable of. But by 1970 at The Isle of Wight Festival, the dream has already begun to become bloated, and the sustainability of such festivals (and, perhaps, the hippie dream itself) is falling under doubt. A lot of people select The Rolling Stones' performance at Altamont where a man in the audience is killed as the third piece in the triforce, but I think Isle of Wight better keeps to the theme of grand multi-group multi-day festivals.

And so, the other day I decided to make a three-disc compilation - one disc for each of the festivals - to chronicle my favorite tracks from the Trinity of Hippie Music Festivals!

A. Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967

Monterey was the hardest disc to compile, because I had not only the main setlist from the movie to cull from, but also the just-as-long list of bonus tracks that comes on the DVD. It's a lot of good songs to choose from, and I had to leave some good acts - like Ravi Shankar, whose set was just too long - out for that reason. I rearranged the tracks to put them in the order the bands played at the festival (as far as I know), except that I moved The Mamas & The Papas (who hosted the festival) from the end to the start, because I thought they made a better opening track, and because I think Jimi Hendrix makes a better closer, with his infamous performance of Wild Thing during which he lit his guitar on fire.

1. "Vibrations" (crowd track, girl talks about love-ins)
2. The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'
3. The Association - Along Comes Mary
4. The Animals - Paint It Black
5. Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds of Silence
6. Big Brother & The Holding Company - Ball And Chain
7. Country Joe & The Fish - Section 43
8. Al Kooper - Wake Me, Shake Me
9. Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Driftin' And Driftin'
10. Quicksilver Messenger Service - All I Ever Wanted
11. The Byrds - Hey Joe
12. Jefferson Airplane - Today
13. The Blues Project - Flute Thing
14. Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
15. The Who - My Generation
16. Jimi Hendrix Experience - Wild Thing

B. Woodstock Music & Art Fair, 1969

Woodstock was the easiest disc for me to compile, possibly because I've done it before. Possibly also because all I had to cull from was the main sequence of tracks from the movie. I kept the tracks in the order of the movie, because it's become such an iconic document of the Woodstock festival - even more so than the other two, on account of Woodstock's [deserving] popularity. I wanted to put in even more of Jimi Hendrix's fantastic set, but I was already approaching the time limit and so The Star-Spangled Banner alone had to suffice. One track I reluctantly had to exclude on account of timing was Sly And The Family Stone's riveting setpiece, I Want To Take You Higher.

1. Richie Havens - Freedom
2. Canned Heat - A Change Is Gonna Come
3. Joan Baez - Joe Hill
4. The Who - Summertime Blues
5. Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends
6. Crosby Stills & Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
7. Ten Years After - I'm Goin' Home
8. Jefferson Airplane - Uncle Sam's Blues
9. Country Joe - Fixin' To Die Rag
10. Santana - Soul Sacrifice
11. Janis Joplin - Work Me, Lord
12. Jimi Hendrix - Star-Spangled Banner

C. The Isle of Wight Festival, 1970

Isle of Wight was the second easiest of the festivals to compile, mostly because all I had to cull from was the soundtrack (but harder than Woodstock because I hadn't done it before). In this case, though, I rearranged the tracks in the order the bands played at the festival (according to Wikipedia), since their positioning on Message To Love isn't nearly as iconic as Woodstock. I hadn't planned on it from the start, but as I was going through arranging the tracks, it just became obvious that Jimi Hendrix should end up closing each of the three festivals. One thing I like about Isle of Wight that the other two more popular festivals lack is the inclusion of The Doors. Also, this festival includes my favorite track among the three by The Who - the only band other than Jimi Hendrix to appear on all three discs.

1. Taste - Sinner Boy
2. Family - Weaver's Answer
3. Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
4. ELP - Blue Rondo A La Turk/Pictures At An Exhibition
5. Ten Years After - Can't Keep From Cryin'
6. The Doors - When The Music's Over
7. The Who - Naked Eye
8. Free - All Right Now
9. The Moody Blues - Nights In White Satin
10. Jethro Tull - My Sunday Feeling
11. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child