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Woodstock: 40 Years On Disc One: “…we will come and so we’re gone”

Listen up, this is gonna be a lot more fun the just listening to the brick of a box set. I’m gonna review and grade every song of the 6 CD retro and give you a CD by CD scientifically based value. The cost per CD is $14.70. Each song will either pass (7 or higher) or fail. I’ll take the number of tracks per CD, subtrack the PA annoucements (valuable nowhere but at the event itself) and divide the songs by $14.70 for a cost per song and multiply the cost per song by the passes for a cost per CD and eventually a true cost for the actual album and a percentage value bu adding up the grades.
Handsome Johnny – Richie Haven – He looks a bit like Bin Laden doesn’t he? Sorta ageless in a gaunt, creepy man of god kinda way. Folks like Ben Harper and Dave Mathews owe him a debt of huge gratitude for that solemn, serious, hard twang acoustic doodle stuf. Me? I can’t stomach Ben, Dave or Richie . Still, better this than “Freedom”. Score: 5/10.
Freedom (Motherless Child) – Richie Haven – I have loathed this song for decades and actually went to see Haven at the Bottom Line bc I thought, you know, maybe it was me or maybe the whole Woodstock put me off plus the deeply in touch with his feelings so emotive. Haven is just too dramatic and so I misjudge his material but I hate this song with a passion. Well, I fell asleep at the bottom line and I simply loath this self-important claptrap. I hate the rhymic melody, I hate the way he says “maaaatha, maaaatha…”. I hate the conga, I hate the way he looks when he is strumming his guitar. There is something so self-satisfied about the enterprise, just like for all the cutiness and otherworldly drugged out “oh look, a pretty flower” crap, it was heading for a fall and Richie godhead was leading the way. And what’s most annoying is I know it isn’t as bad as I think it is. It’s like your ex-wifes new boyfriend. Score: 4/10
Look Out – Sweetwater – I love the flute on this song and I love the singer. It has the weirdly groovy psyche of 60s folk and a sorta bluesy down side and the screams remind me of Yoko. Score: 7/10
Two Worlds – Sweetwater – This song less so, it has a sorta quirk thing going on but a little goes a long way. Score: 5/10
Jennifer – Bert Sommers – Sommers is a folk singer, a genre that was on its last legs by 69, and he has a pleasant voice but this is not a thrill. 6/10

And When It’s Over – Bert Sommers – Sommers had a pretty good career, he starred in Hair among other things. It is hard to take offence at his acoustic strum music. Hard to get excited as well. Score: 6/10

Smile – Bert Sommers – I really think it is a not bad idea for the Woodstock CDs to spotlight what actually happened those three days in August by giving more than a token (or not at all) representation of the less popular artists and their reward is this really good (though the lyric is a snooze) folk song. Score: 7/10

Hang On to A Dream – Tim Hardin – OK, we got the point with the fucking folk music. The piano makes a change. Score: 5/10

Simple Song Of Freedom – Tim Hardin – Here is a rule of thumb for all you hippies. Unless Bob Marley’s singing,if the song has the word “Freedom” in its title, it sucks. But this is an exception, “tell the people there, the people here don’t want a war.” 7/10

Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat In Sawarital – Ravi Shankar – I couldn’t take sitar in the late 60s, I couldn’t even take it in the late 80s. By the mid-90s I began checking it out and even went to a concert at carnegie Hall. I lasted around an hour. Anyway, even my untrained ears can see why he wanted to rerecord -the main sitar simply doesn’t sound so twee as a rule of thumb and six minutes in, when Shankar should be flying he simply isn’t. Score: 6/10

Momma Momma – Melanie – Those pussies the Incredible String Band were scared of the thunder storm raging so the brave new girl Melanie went out a nobody but came back, er, wet. First song is crap. Score: 4/10

Beautiful Shop – Melanie – She was 19 years old in front of a coupla hundred thousand people, give her a break. Score: 6/10.

Birthday Of The Sun – Melanie – Her voice is Melanie sure, but there is no pop move like “Brand New Key” Score: 5/10

Coming Into Los Angeles – Arlo Guthrie – “… like I was rapping with the fuzz man, can you dig it?…. New York State freeway is closed, man!” Arlo Guthrie was so cool and this song about smuggling…? I thought the coupla keys was pot but who smuggles pot from London? Had to be toot, right? And I love the chick tripping on the escalator, and this adds a minute to the orginal (his mike wasn’t wprking. Score: 9/10

Wheel Of Fortune – Arlo Guthrie – I just adore this easily the best moment on the first CD: a travelling song so full of goodwll it reminds of me of seeing him with Pete Seeger for their Thanksgiving specials at carnegie Hall -just a splendid experience they don’t do anymore. Score: 9/10

Every hand In The Land – Arlo Guthrie – He sounds like his father’s son here. It has the simple nursery rhyme feel you’d expect from such a close relation to the guy who wrote “If you ain’t got the do-re-mi boys, you ain’t got the do-re-mi”. “Trip trap, flip flap…” is what Arlo sings. Score: 9/10.
Now let’s do the maths: 16 songs, cost 93c per song. 6 passes. Value? $5.58. And actual numbers? 100/160. As a percentage? 62.50%.

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