Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Drummer with Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock
Greg Duke Dewey
Left to Right: Mark Kapner. Country Joe, Greg Dewey, Doug Metzler, (standing) Barry “The Fish” Melton

Greg Duke Dewey

I note the various performers from the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and try do that on their birthdays. Unfortunately I cannot find birthdays for many of those performers.

Greg Duke Dewey is one of them. I’ve decided to do that today. He was 21 when he played Woodstock, which puts his birth year as either 1947 or 48.

And just as it’s difficult to find birthdays, it is sometimes difficult to find much about performers, particularly those who “simply” backed up the named performer.

Country Joe was such a name and those behind him that weekend less known. Fortunately for me (and so, you) Greg Dewey wrote a long essay about his Woodstock experience and it is from that essay that much of the following was mined.

He he and the band flew to New York from San Francisco. Who did they meet on the plane none other than Colonel Jim Sanders. Dewey asked the Colonel what he thought about hippies? Sanders responded, “They eat chicken, don’t they?”

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Woodstock

Dewey remembers that the Woodstock crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger. At least until Sunday’s afternoon downpour when time, hunger, the soaking, and Monday responsibilities sent thousand of that crowd home.

It was after that storm’s delay that the Fish played.

Relating a story I’d never read, Dewey said since drums were an acoustic instrument and not subject to the issues electric instruments and water caused, he asked his equipment manager to set up his drums, but the storm nearly blew them down. He sought shelter under the stage. That worked well until  up above stage hands used axes to punch holes in the stage to drain the water. Torrents came down on Dewey.

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Eventually, with new sheets of plywood under them, the band went on. Dewey says he never felt more compelled to play for an audience given all they’d gone through, especially the storm. It was about 6:30 PM and the previous act, Joe Cocker, had ended his set at about 3 PM.

In Dewey’s words, “what set this concert apart from all other concerts for us musicians is this: We ALL came the first night, so we could hear each other. Normally we are all buzzing around the world at the same time so we don’t have time to hear one another unless we are in a concert together, and at this one, we were ALL going to be there.”

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Hotel stories

He also remembered the hotel in Liberty where “…there were huge games of cards….” Also “…a table with some of The Band, Airplane, Steve Miller Band, Jimi himself, Grace, Marty Balin, Garcia and the Dead, Janice, myself, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Richie Havens, Sebastian, guys from Blood Sweat and Tears, David Crosby, Sly’s band, Joe Cocker’s band… everyone would be down in the restaurant/bar, it was open 24 hours a day for four days. We ate a lot of food and drank a grunt-load of booze, and the party never stopped, because the concert went on around the clock.”

Finally, “The big thing was for me, about this experience, is that we, the musicians had to make friends with each other, and live together as if on a ship for four days, as we all, in turn, flew out over the massive 500,000 strong audience to play for them.”

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Greatest Hits

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

In early 2018, Dewey began a GoFundMe page for a greatest hits album. One fan wrote at the page: What a wonderful set of three CDs…was not expecting such a wealth of music. Duke you are the best! 

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

Thanks

Greg has continued to drum with various bands to this day. Those include The Rowans, Bodacious, Janey & Dennnis, Don McLean, Mad River, Alice Stuart, Jerry Corbitt, and Grootna.

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey

50th

Dewey with Bethel Woods Robin Green and the drum set he used at Woodstock

From a Yellow Springs News article:

Dewey is loaning his drums for the special exhibit, “We Are Golden — Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future” at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Robin Green of the museum, who made the 10-hour trip to retrieve the drums, explained the exhibit’s purpose as to spark a conversation across the generations about peace and love.

Woodstock, remembered as nonviolent and communal, still has lessons for the present, Green believes. 

They were trying to symbolize peace, and to protest the Vietnam War,” she said. “We can all take something away from it.

I’m still hopeful for peace and that we can all live in harmony,” she added.

Thanks for the memories…and the drum set, Greg!

Drummer Greg Duke Dewey
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Hero Milton Olive III

Hero Milton Olive III

November 7, 1946 – October 22, 1965

Milton L. Olive III and fellow members of the 3rd Platoon of Company B had been making their way through the jungles to locate Viet Cong operating in the area. As the soldiers pursued the enemy, a grenade was thrown into the middle of them. Olive grabbed the grenade and fell on it, absorbing the blast with his body.

Hero Milton Olive III

18 years old

His actions saved the lives of his platoon members. President Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to Olive’s parents on his behalf on April 21, 1966.

Milton L. Olive III was the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. There would be an additional twenty-one African-Americans recipients. (There were 259 total.)

Hero Milton Olive III
President Lyndon Johnson presents Medal of Honor, posthumously, to parents of
PFC Milton L. Olive, III for his act of gallantry in Vietnam.”
Source: Department of Defense
Hero Milton Olive III

Citation

The citation read: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Olive was a member of the 3d Platoon of Company B, as it moved through the jungle to find the Viet Cong operating in the area. Although the platoon was subjected to a heavy volume of enemy gunfire and pinned down temporarily, it retaliated by assaulting the Viet Cong positions, causing the enemy to flee. As the platoon pursued the insurgents, Pfc. Olive and 4 other soldiers were moving through the jungle together with a grenade was thrown into their midst. Pfc. Olive saw the grenade, and then saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the sacrifice of his by grabbing the grenade in his hand and falling on it to absorb the blast with his body. Through his bravery, unhesitating actions, and complete disregard for his safety, he prevented additional loss of life or injury to the members of his platoon. Pfc. Olive’s extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.”

Hero Milton Olive III

LBJ’s words

Below is a link to a sound file with President Lyndon B Johnson’s remarks at the ceremony. He began those remarks with the following words:

Mr. and Mrs. Olive, members of the Olive family, distinguished Mayor Daley, Secretary Resor, General Wheeler, Members of the Senate, Members of the House, ladies and gentlemen.

There are occasions on which we take great pride, but little pleasure. This is one such occasion. Words can never enlarge upon acts of heroism and duty, but this Nation will never forget Milton Lee Olive III.

President Harry Truman once said that he would far rather have won the Medal of Honor than to have been the President of the United States. I know what he meant. Those who have earned this decoration are very few in number. But true courage is very rare. This honor we reserve for the most courageous of all of our sons.

The Medal of Honor is awarded for acts of heroism above and beyond the call of duty. It is bestowed for courage demonstrated not in blindly overlooking danger, but in meeting it with eyes clearly open.

And that is what Private Olive did. When the enemy’s grenade landed on that jungle trail, it was not merely duty which drove this young man to throw himself upon it, sacrificing his own life that his comrades might continue to live. He was compelled by something that’s more than duty, by something greater than a blind reaction to forces that are beyond his control.

Hero Milton Olive III

Milton L Olive III

The video of the narration/music at top of this entry

Hero Milton Olive III
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Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

at Livingston Gymnasium indoor track of
Denison University
November 6, 7, & 8, 1969

Presented by the Denison Campus Government Association, the Racoon Creek Rock Festival was one of the smaller festivals of 1969, but a festival nonetheless.  Held indoors at the school’s Livingston Gymnasium indoor track (it was November and it was Ohio, after all).

This is one of those festivals about which not much is known. I’ve tried to contact the Denison newspaper, but received no response. I did find a school newspaper edition from just before the event. It’s humorous to me how the article’s headline described the event as featuring “Six Name Groups.”

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Raccoon v Racoon


It’s also interesting to me that the newspaper spells Raccoon with the two “c”s as it is normally spelled, but I find several spots where the second “c” is omitted. 

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

 

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Vague

The newspaper article also fails to say specifically who would play on Friday, yet one of the posters does specify.

The Who and Owen B were scheduled for Thursday. The article also notes that “The English group has produced many hit singles including “Magic Bus,” “Pinball Wizard,” and “I’m Free.”

The article then states that The Spirit (I have only seen them referred to as simply Spirit) and The Dust (ditto) would play on Saturday.  The day is a typo and should read Friday as the article continues and states that Johnny Winter, Lycidas, and The Dust would appear on Saturday (also) to complete the 3-day festival.

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Johnny “Everywhere” Winter


Winter, it is noted, “performs a variety of interpretations of black vernacular and a wide range of black instrumental approaches.”

Good to know.

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Concerns

The writer seems to be somewhat unfamiliar with the line-up, but has the same worries expressed by all who would be in the range of a 1969 festival. After mentioning that there had been outside interest in the event (“as far away as upstate New York”) they go on to say: “We’re expecting to turn people away, but we hope the Denison campus will still be one peaceful community during the festival.”

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Great price points

The Who on Thursday cost a ticket-buyer $3.50. The lesser known Spirit only $2.50, but back up a touch for Johnny Winter’s Saturday appearance to $3.00. Student could purchase all three nights for $8.00, a savings of $1.

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival

Looking for more


If anyone else (beside Jim Sacket below) has any information about the festival, I’d love to hear from you.

Raccoon Creek Rock Festival
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