The Woodstock Nation: RIP? Or just MIA?

From August 15th thru 18th, 1969… while festival goers were reveling within their newly established Bethel, NY, Woodstock Nation… I was stuck at home… back in Michigan… stuck in my early teens, too. The only way I could’ve ever counted myself amongst Woodstock’s estimated 500,000 souls, would’ve been to run away from home, hitchhike and… upon my eventual return… REALLY face the music… a.k.a. parental repercussions / getting “grounded for life”. Bummer! <—Now, there’s a word in desperate need of carbon dating!

Mom and dad’s (understandable) protectionism… in a sense… had already been grounding me… and for doing nothing wrong, too. Over the past half century… just for fleeting moments… I’ve oft wondered. What would I have had to lose had I flown the coup for about a week? Well, here’s what I actually did lose by nearly always being the obedient son: The ability to treasure the lifelong memories of having actually been there.

Of course, even from afar, I did manage to catch this monumental music event’s sense of belonging, anyway. Funny how that sort of “buzz” was fully capable of bridging that 1000km gap. How so?

The Woodstock Nation-State was just as much
a state of mind. And in my mind, it still is.

The Woodstock state of mind does transcend the music, too. From my perspective, it is to believe in enriching society with essential liberty, peace, love, tolerance, equality, inclusiveness, diversity, ecological sensitivity and fiscal sobriety.

But, to transition back to the music… ultimately… I did finally get to hear a portion of what I had missed, thanks to [1] the tireless, audio engineers, who had kept the onsite tape recorders rolling, [2] Cotillion / Atlantic Records for releasing these performances as a 139 minute duration, vinyl triple album on May 11, 1970, and [3] the progressive rock, FM radio DJs, who kept on playing these LPs in heavy rotation. BTW, as a young teen, my parents would not permit me view the R-rated Woodstock motion picture so, to me, this festival had remained heard but not seen.

Eventually, in a manner of speaking, I did get to “time travel” for a virtual visit to Bethel, too! This was courtesy of a local band performing at one of my high school’s Friday night dances. These four musicians covered… no it was much more than that… these showmen had all faithfully recreated Sly & The Family Stone’s Woodstock performance of I Want To Take You Higher. Their frontman’s spirited pep-talk adeptly mimicked / echoed Sly Stone’s style / sentiments. And that energized / encouraged us to shed our inhibitions… to participate in a hip, sing-along where we repeatedly sang / chanted “I want to take you higher”, while enthusiastically, joyously, rhythmically waving our peace sign, gesturing hands high in the air!

Oh, how both the times and crowd mentality have changed these past fifty years. How so?

• Instead of upraised arms to revel in our freedom, lately, within the political arena, we’ve been witnessing arms upraised in thinly veiled salutes to fascism.

• Instead of the index and middle fingered gesture of benevolence / peace… lately, nearly everywhere we look… absent the index finger… this becomes the gesture of malevolence / hatred. And, far worse, within ubiquitous pop up war zones, the index fingers too frequently get routinely repurposed as trigger fingers.

• Instead of chants that take us to a higher plane of existence, currently, rallies become the venue for rowdy crowds to chant “campaign slogans” such as  “Send them back!”, “Send her back!” and “Lock her up!”

But… it’d be a bummer to end this post on such a sad note… especially on the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock.

“I want to take you higher” was / still is Sly Stone’s goal… and mine too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Crickets Were Harmed During This September BlogCast

 

Welcome to our monthly musical get-together. Before we PB the tunes, I’d like to briefly state how the inspiration behind each BlogCast’s musical selections can come from many different sources. However, this month in particular, has involved the most serendipitous occurrence, to date. Here’s how this evolved…

Since this past week’s Michigan weather has been on the sultry side, I’ve been keeping my windows wide open long after sundown. So, in addition to welcoming in the somewhat cooler night air, I’ve also been treated to the seasonal serenade of crickets… these lovely creatures even lending some “lyrical” ambiance to my twilight piano playing. Well… that was when my free-associating mind started recalling some recording artists, who’ve deliberately mixed cricket sound effects into their own tracks.

Naturally… this became the “angle” to this month’s musical presentation.

I even test segued these three tracks through my stereo system’s mixer last night… and wound up even more impressed by how the in-real-time crickets blended in so perfectly with their prerecorded colleagues… especially the cricket soloist, who has somehow managed to set up residence in my cellar.

BTW, as much as I do admire his singing, I do hope to return him, soon, to the great outdoors. Working towards that happy, humane ending, my strategy involves capture and release. If I spot him, I’ll carefully slip a glass jar over him, slide a piece of cardboard under the jar and then carry him out to my backyard to set him free.

Some may say that my making such a fuss is inordinate. But… I think not. You see, my quick Google Search has turned up three cultural reasons for nonviolence…

“In Asian culture, it is considered bad luck to kill crickets because for thousands of years, crickets have been referred to as ‘watchdogs’, guardians that chirp and make noise when danger approaches. The Native American culture believes that crickets are a sign of good luck, and it is considered disrespectful to mimic their chirping. In Western culture, killing a cricket inside the home is considered bad luck because a chirping cricket symbolizes a future windfall.”

So, my listeners, you can trust me when I claim: No crickets were harmed during the production of this BlogCast.

On a technical note… whenever YouTube commercials pop up, they do ruin my segues. Of course, you can just play them back “as is”… OR… if you’d prefer to don your DJ cap… the following brief tutorial could come in handy. Check it out.

To ensure these segues are seamless, it’d be advisable to “audition” the 2nd and 3rd tracks in advance. That way you can either PLAY or SKIP any YouTube Ads that may appear from time to time. I mean, Madison Avenue jingles do jangle this BlogCasts’ aesthetics. However, once the Ads are out of the way, just click PAUSE and confirm the counters are “ZEROED OUT”. If your reflexes aren’t quick enough, the songs may start too soon. If so… re-cue the tracks by simply dragging that “RED DOT” backward to 00:00.

Well my listeners… we’re now in biz!

On a musical note… if you’re fortunate enough to have your own cricket population residing in your “corner” of our world, I highly recommend that you have them sing along with these cricket enhanced tunes…

 

Leon Russell ~ My Cricket

Beatles ~ Sun King

John B. Sebastian ~ I Had A Dream

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to click back here for my next monthly BlogCast, which typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into a variety of appealing themes. My next program is slated to hit the www during the first week of October 2018.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

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