Attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, became an educator for 35 years after graduation from college, and am retired now and often volunteer at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts which is on the site of that 1969 festival.
The oft' told tale of the Dead's performance at Woodstock was that it was plagued with various difficulties and was generally lackluster. That it wasn't a typical '69 performance. It was only about 70 minutes of music with a more than 10 minute technical break after only two songs totaling five minutes. Plus, there was, as Phil Lesh retold, walkie-talkie interference with their PA during some parts.
Dead at Woodstock
Well, let's take a look at the set list:
1. Saint Stephen (2:04)
2. Mama Tried (2:42)
3. a High Time tease (30 seconds)
the 10 minute technical issues break
4. Dark Star (19:10)
5. High Time (6:20),
6. Turn On Your Lovelight (38:42)
How atypical was the Dead at Woodstock? The concert immediately before at Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco on August 3 was about 90 minutes. Their first concert afterward was on August 20 at the Aqua Theater in Seattle. How long was it? About 90 minutes.
If not for the technical issues, faced by most of the Woodstock performers, the Dead at Woodstock was not too different.
Perhaps it'd be best to give the Dead at Woodstock an actual listen and decide for yourself. As for me, I enjoy it. Of course the spice of it being at Woodstock is an enticing enhancement, but even without that, it's still good. After all, there's only one Barton Hall and that was eight years in the future.
I dare you to click and open ↓ It's really a nice listen for any day and a slice of history. You'll hear the actual radio feedback the Phil Lesh talks about during a quieter part of their set.
The Woodstock Music and Art Fair made some things famous that had been there in front of us but we weren't listening. It was Sunday night about 9 when a sweating exhausted-looking Alvin Lee introduced Ten Year After's last song of the set: "This is a thing called "I'm Going Home" by...[pause]...helicopter." I'm sure the band had already played the song several times that summer. It's a great example of a song that one might mistake for a cover of and old blues song that Rick Lee shifted into high gear. It isn't. Lee wrote it and Lee (guitar), Chick Churchill (keyboard), Leo Lyons (bass) and Ric Lee (drums) played it.
So who is this guy Ric Lee besides the drummer for Ten Years After? I gathered most of this from Ric's site. Ric's first band was as the drummer with the Falcons and from there here joined Ricky Storm and the Stormcats (as opposed to Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (see Keef Hartley). While a Stormcat, Ric studied drumming with Dave Quickmire who was a drummer with the Jaybirds. The Jaybirds' guitarist was Alvin Lee. The bassist Leo Lyons. When Quickmire got married he left the Jaybirds and recommended Lee to replace him. Chick Churchill joined the band first as their road manager and later as their keyboardist. The Jaybirds backed The Ivy League, a vocal group. The Jaybirds later went solo again and briefly became the Bluesyard before becoming Ten Years After in 1966 in honor of Elvis Presley's 10 year arrival anniversary.
Ten Years After
We know Ten Years After. The were on the road constantly and were regularly invited to the many festivals of 1969 besides Woodstock: the Bath Festival of Blues in June, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Laurel Pop Festival, the Seattle Pop Festival, and the Texas International Pop Festival after Woodstock. Of course it was their appearance on both the soundtrack and in the Woodstock movie that permanently put them on the map . While still in Ten Years After, Ric studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston, with Alan Dawson, then drummer with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Ric also began teaching young enthusiasts privately when at home between touring commitments.
After Ten Years After
After Ten Years After stopped touring in 1976, Ric ran his own Music Publishing, Management and Record Production company. He continued to study, now tuned percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Gilbert Webster, percussionist with the BBC Radio Orchestra. In 1980 for 18 months, Ric joined Stan Webb in Chicken Shack. Chicken Shack toured the UK and Europe many times in this short period and made an album for RCA Records “Roadies’ Concerto”. Ten Years After re-formed again in 1983 for the Marquee Club’s 25th Anniversary During this short “rebirth”, Ric managed the group as well as being its drummer. Between 1984 and 1986, Ric managed several up and coming young acts and continued publishing catalog.
Ten Years After Ric Lee
Ten Years After re-formed yet again in 1988 and recorded a new album “About Time” in Memphis, Tennessee and spent the next four years touring Europe and the US. In between tours Ric continued to study drum techniques, this time Latin percussion with Trevor Tompkins, Professor of Percussion at the Guildhall and the Royal College of Music. In 1994, Ric formed The Breakers with an old friend, Ian Ellis and together they wrote and produced MILAN, released in July 1995. In the middle nineties Lee produced a series of ambient albums, the most successful of which was Spirit of Africa. Ric worked again with Ten Years After between 1995 and 1999. In 2001 he recorded an album in Nashville. Ten Years After continues its intermittent existence and Lee is also part of Natural Born Swingers. Many happy returns Ric!
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October 20, 1956, BLACK HISTORY: modeled after the Montgomery bus boycott, the Tallahassee bus boycott had begun after a May 17, 1956 incident in which two Florida A&M students were arrested for sitting in the white section of a city bus. Because the city’s buses were primarily patronized by African American residents, the boycott left the vehicles nearly empty. In July 1956, city officials were forced to suspend bus service due to lost revenue. The bus company resumed services in August following an initiative led by the Junior Chamber of Commerce to get more white residents to ride the buses but the boycott continued. The Tallahassee Inter-Civic Council (ICC) led the boycott and organized a carpool to serve as alternative transportation.In October 1956, 21 carpool drivers, including nine people who comprised the ICC's executive committee, were arrested for not having “for hire” tags on their vehicles. On October 20, 1956, following a three-and-a-half-day trial, all 21 drivers were convicted. City Judge John Rudd sentenced them to pay a $500 fine or spend 60 days in jail, in addition to a suspended 60-day jail term and one year on probation.Faced with this legal harassment, the ICC voted to end the carpool two days later. The boycott continued until December, however, ending only after federal courts ruled bus segregation unconstitutional. On January 7, 1957, the Tallahassee City Commission repealed the city’s bus segregation law.
October 20, 1960, BLACK HISTORY &News Music: Charles Mingus records “Fables of Faubus” with lyrics for his Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus album for release on independent label after Columbia Records had refused to release it with lyrics. The song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus who in 1957 had sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers.
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!
Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie.
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won’t permit integrated schools.
Then he’s a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)
Name me a handful that’s ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?
Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
October 20 – November 2, 1962: “Monster Mash” by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers #1 Billboard Hot 100.
October 20 – November 30, 1962: Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Peter, Paul, and Mary is Billboard’s #1 album.
October 20, 1965, BLACK HISTORY & March to Selma: Roy Reed in the NY Times reported that, ”an all-white jury dominated by self-proclaimed white supremacists was chosen...for the retrial of Collie Leroy Wilkins, Jr, a Ku Klux Klansman charged with the murder of Viola Liuzzo.” (click → NYT article)
October 20, 1967, Vietnam & DRAFT CARD BURNING: Dr Benjamin Spock turned in a briefcase full of what he said were draft cards to officials at the Justice Department building here and later accused one of them of being "derelict in his duty" for not having arrested him. He said he wanted to be arrested in order to precipitate a "moral, legal confrontation" with the Government over the draft. Justice Department officials said later that the briefcase had contained draft cards and other matter.
October 20, 1966, LSD : Ken Kesey arrested. (click → NYT article)
October 20, 1969, The Beatles break-up: John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their third album, Wedding Album. According to Lennon, It was like our sharing our wedding with whoever wanted to share it with us. We didn't expect a hit record out of it. It was more of a... that's why we called it Wedding Album. You know, people make a wedding album, show it to the relatives when they come round. Well, our relatives are the... what you call fans, or people that follow us outside. So that was our way of letting them join in on the wedding.” Wedding Album commemorated their wedding in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969. Although it was the final instalment in their trilogy of avant garde and experimental recordings, the couple continued to document their lives on tape until Lennon's death in 1980.
October 20, 1973, The Beatles post break-up: John Lennon filed suit asking the court to force the Immigration and Naturalization Service to produce the records under which deportation decisions were made. (click → NYT article)October 20, 1973, Watergate Scandal: “Saturday Night Massacre”: Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox at the direction of President Richard Nixon after Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Assistant Attorney General Ruckelshaus had refused and resigned.October 20, 2010, LGBTQ: Barack Obama's administration announced it would also appeal the judge's ruling on the constitutionally of Don't ask, don't Tell even though Obama announced earlier in the year that he wished to end the policy.
October 20, 2014, BLACK & SHOT: Officer Jason Van Dyke followed in his car 17-year-old Laquan McDonald before shooting him 16 times in the middle of Pulaski Road on the Southwest Side. It will be more than a year before the video of the incident is released.