Monday, August 26, 2019

Summer of '69 (August), 50 Years of Music

August of '69, I'm about to enter high school and be on the freshmen football team. The tradition was that every football player at Santa Maria High School had to buzz cut their hair in order to try-out.

Can you imagine, all my friends are growing long(er) hair and I have to look like I'm going into the military. In 1969, the military draft were taking boys just 4 years older than me, to Vietnam.

My new buzz cut was a serious blow to my wannabe hippy thing. Maybe listening to bands like Jethro Tull with my next door neighbor Ron would keep me at least at the counterculture back door, looking in.

Now listening to Jethro Tull's album, Stand Up 50 years later is like a lightning bolt flash back. Ron had purchased the album, and like I've said many times in my blogs, I'm sitting on his bed listening and looking at the album cover art. Our auditory music memory is like our sense of smell, you hear it and you're right back in a place long ago. Stand Up holds up!

Next up, Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I loved this album with one of my top 100 songs of all-time, Bad Moon Rising.

Mary Kit and I saw John Fogerty in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and he really puts on a fantastic show. If you have not seen John Fogerty recently, I highly recommend you go to one of his shows, it will make everything in the world pause for a couple of hours. Mary Kit says he's back in Vegas this November with his 50 Year Trip.

John's music is so pure and I often link Booker T. and the MG's and CCR with both having a simple and authentic sound that has stood the test of time. Green River holds up!

I have most Donovan albums checked in my Amazon Music app and he randomly comes up on many a trail run, and I rarely skip a song. By 1969, Barabajagal was his seventh studio album and he kept his hits streak rolling with this album. I've included the song, I Love My Shirt which so reminds me of a song that the great children's songwriter, Raffi  could have written. Donovan always did his own thing and didn't try to imitate Bob Dylan. I like that Donovan usually did an anti-war song on his many albums and on this one penned, To Susan on the West Coast Waiting [From Andy in Vietnam Fighting].

Santana is Santana's debut album who were one of the unknown bands to the Woodstock audience a few weeks prior in August of '69. Talk about great timing! Santana took off like a roaring lion and Carlos has never stopped. I'm partial to this original lineup and had the pleasure of seeing the organ and lead singer for Santana, Gregg Rolie several years ago in Ringo Starr's All-Star Band. Greg sings Santana's early hits and is never recognized until he starts singing and Ringo's crowds love it!

Harry is Harry Nilsson's fourth studio album and like most people I didn't get back to this album until he became more famous in the 1970's. The big song from this album is I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City, the similar sounding song to Fred Neil's Everybody's Talkin', the smash hit from the 1969 film, Midnight CowboyDirector John Schlesinger had been using Nilsson's cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" as an example of the kind of song he wanted on the final soundtrack but then decided not to replace it. If "I Guess the Lord ..." had been included, it would have been eligible for an Oscar, as it was an original song. Harry Nilsson did win a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Everybody's Talkin'" [in 1970]. Wikipedia.


The summer of '69 is a memorable  period for millions of Americans. We landed on the moon in July and then Woodstock in August. In September, The Beatles release Abbey Road and we begin to close out a decade with some of the most memorable music ever made.

At fourteen, I didn't realize the impact of living in 1969 until years later, but often reflect back here in this blog with the knowledge and experience of When I'm Sixty-Four.

Grandchildren on your knee...

Peace and Love 2019 my friends!


Here is the Spotify Playlist link this week- Summer of '69 (August), 50 Years of Music.
Youtube Playlist embedded here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Woodstock- August 1969 and 2019, 50 Years of Music

Original Woodstock Poster
Update Monday August, 26, 2019 - Netflix has posted the PBS American Experience Film, Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation. I watched it last night and highly recommend!

Woodstock was a music festival held August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Billed as "an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", it was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock. It was alternatively referred to as the Bethel Rock Festival or the Aquarian Music Festival. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain. It has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation. Wikipedia

My thoughts on Woodstock 50 years later are similar to the millions of people who wished they would have been there- it was one of the greatest "one-offs" in the history of mankind. Woodstock should have been a disaster, but in its totality was a wonderfully unique event in time.

The big 50th Anniversary concert promoted by original Woodstock co-founder, Michael Lang tried his best this round, but the big festival was recently cancelled, and in my thinking probably for the better. Like the disastrous, Woodstock '99, it just wasn't meant to be. 

Max Yasgur
1969 @ Woodstock/his farm
However, in the town of Bethel, New York, the original site at Max Yasgur's dairy farm something wonderful happened this past weekend. A Woodstock anniversary concert was held there and no national news organizations seemed to be reporting on it as of my Saturday 8/17 draft of this blog, other than the regional Poughkeepsie Journal. Considering our times, and with a much smaller crowd, nothing happened other than peace and music.

I'm just now learning and about the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts • Site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. This past weekend, they quietly put on a great show! I guess it doesn't matter if I'm 14 or 64, I'm still a day late and dollar short finding about concerts after the fact.

Well here's a little playlist of Woodstock-
somethings old-
  • Max Yasgur, the conservative Republican was the hero of Woodstock. Without Mr. Yasgur saving the day and allowing the Woodstock promoters to use his natural theater farm fields, Woodstock would not have happened, or happened as it turned out on Yasgur's Farm.
  • So you didn't see Woodstock live August 15-18, 1969, but a lot of young people like me watched Dick Cavett on August 19, 1969. Guests included Joni Mitchell (who was not at Woodstock), Jefferson Airplane, Stephen Stills and David Crosby who were at Woodstock. I love when Stephen shows off his Woodstock mud from his jeans. Where was Graham Nash? (He was there but off camera because his visa wouldn't allow him to do TV in America at the time.)
  • Joni Mitchell singing her song Woodstock, in 1970 on the BBC.
  • Some Woodstock moments in time...
 and somethings new-
  • The 2019 Woodstock lineup at Bethel Woods included- John Fogerty, Arlo Guthrie, Santana, Ringo Starr and His Allstar Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Doobie Brothers, and Edgar Winter. It would have been fun to be there. From the Poughkeepsie Journal, I watched a couple on video who said they were 14 and in Junior High, living in the region, and their parents wouldn't dare let them go to the original at that age. They were there this time to soak it all in live, and with some perspective. I like to think they represented me...
  • I could only find live video of Ringo... I have interviews with John Fogerty and Arlo.
  • and, look what they have done with the place! If you get a chance, go to the Bethel Woods story link above and the Poughkeepsie Journal stories with videos.
  • The 50th anniversary made me think of Max. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, and Max Yasgur?
    John Fogerty performs on the final day of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock
    at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel on Sunday, August 18, 2019. (Photo: John Meore/The Journal News)

    Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer Tunes

La Jolla Shores Beach Bonfire

Summer Tunes
is a playlist I started a couple of years ago. Here's a major update with 100+ (and counting) YouTube videos that is the perfect long-playlist for any summer activity. Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars



Western Stars is Bruce Springsteen's nineteenth studio album released on June 14th. I think the album is timely in that the late 60's and the "California Sound" are all the rage with a new crop of movies and documentaries covering the subject.

Here's a list of films I can't wait to see-
If you haven't noticed, I'm personally obsessed with the 60's in general but the sweet spot for me is LA from the mid 60's to the early 70's.

Bruce pays homage to that era of songwriting with thirteen new gems of his own. This theme-oriented album harks back to the days of listening to entire albums at a sitting. I would recommend you make time to do the same. Enjoy my friends!

And...
I'm introducing a new feature today for my Monday Monday Music playlists by creating a Spotify Playlist to duplicate my YouTube Playlist for each blog. Spotify Playlists can be downloaded to your phone if you want to listen to to my playlists offline. However, you do have to be a Spotify Premium Member ($9.99 a month) to download songs, albums and playlists. Thanks to loyal reader and great friend Paul Hobbs for this suggestion!

Click here for my first Spotify Playlist - Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars

or, the YouTube Playlist embedded below.