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Woodsock CD 4: “Volunteers Of America”

Work Me Lord – Janis Joplin – On this CD the difference between Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane is if you don’t know how great Joplin was you haven’t been paying attention and if you thought “Surrealist Pillow” was all JA had you will be in for a delightful surprise. That’s Big Brother And the Holding Company backing her and if Janis was high on smack you sure can’t hear it -the solo improv in the middle is a thing of great beauty. Score: 8/10
Ball and Chain – Janis Joplin – I don’t know want no trouble but here seems to be a bit too, er, screetchy, bring it down a little Janis. The version on “Cheap Thrills” cuts it to shreds. I’m guessing there is only two JJ songs for the same reason there is only one song by Sly: so you’ll buy the complete set on another CD. Score: 6/10.
Medley: Dance To The Music/Music Love/I Want to Take You Higher – Sly and the Family Stone –
Larry Schneiderman, who was there on the day, said “Sly’s problem was he kept on promising to take you higher but couldn’t take you any higher”. All I know is it is a pleasure to hear a half way decent rhythm section after days of four to the floor. I worship Sly and I think he is the embodiment of the death of the drugs aid creativity lie. Prince, who owes huge chunks of his career to Stone, tried to help him out in the late 80s and Sly couldn’t keep it together. When I saw him at BB King’s a coupla years ago he had the wide eyed off center of Brian Wilson. Here I think he is simply awe inspiring and the singalong to “higher” is a highlight of some sixty hours of music: the call and response is a lesson in audience participation. He says: “Iwant to take you higher” and the audience responds “Higher” so simple so easy to remember. So deadly. Because Larry Schneiderman was right, the Stone couldn’t take any of us high enough. Score: 10/10.
Amazing Journey – The Who – Everything about the Who’s performance of these songs from “Tommy” are in tatters and the only thing worth listening to is Keith Moon hitting his drums so hard you think his hands are going to break. If you can just glom on to Moon here it may help you remember how powerful the cat was. It is 4am and “Amazing Journey” was never that much of a song but Moon keeps on filling everything that fucking moves. Score: 6/10
Pinball Wizard – The Who – This is a great pop song and it is played as such, the bombast killing off “Journey” is kept in check. Score: 7/10
We’re Not Gonna Take It – The Who – Moon’s drumming on the “Listening to you..” bridge in the middle is great and Townsend has a tasty guitar solo -only 30 seconds but real good. Score: 6/10.
The Other Side Of the This Life – Jefferson Airplane – Listen I would hate Airplane if only because Starship gave us “We Built This City On Rock And Roll”. They are the perpetual ugly step sister -always the bridesmaid, wanky woodle bullshitters of sound and except for “White rabbit” they should shut the fuck up. Oh, and Grace Slick? What the hell happened to her? Menopause musta hit her over the head with a ten by four. And Marty balin has a horrible voice. What do you do with a band that peeked in 1967??? This song is a great rock raver and the guitarist is on fire. Score: 8/10
Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane – “Dontcha wan somebody to love…?” A great song absolutely killed -it’s like they knew they had be bring their a game. Earlier Slick would sayat the start of the set, “…you have seen the heavy groups now you’re gonna see morning maniac music believe me, yeah”. Maybe it’s the inclusion of Nicky Hopkins. She doesn’t sound like JJ’s ugly step-sister, she sounds like her gifted daughter. JA brought it to Woodstock. Terrific, terrific, terrific. Score: 9/10
Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon – Jefferson Airplane – The inclusion of Grace helped them so much, it changed them from an acid boogie to a psychedelic rock band. The hippie lyrics are a drag and so is the song. Score: 6/10.
Volunteers – Jerfersson Airplance – The acoustic guitar is fab and unexpected and the up against the wall stuff extraordinary and I love the way Grace harmonizes and share the song. They sound just Exene and John Doe of “X”. I love this band! Score: 9/10.
10 songs, $1. 47 per song. 6 winners. Value: $8.82 75%!! They pass and if you have the opportunity to buy just one CD off the six city set HERE IT IS!!! Kinda happy I reached it on the exact anniversay, August 15th

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