Sweetwater August Burns

Sweetwater  August Burns

 Sweetwater August Burns

Woodstock Music and Art Fair.


There were (by my count) 167 performers at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. I have tried to do a short bio on each of them on their birthday. It seemed a way of noting their day, their contribution to that grand event, and a bit about them.


As broad and wide as this not-so-newfangled inter-web thingy is, some performers seem to have disappeared. Of course, if I were a true researcher I’d switch to shoe leather (are soles even leather anymore?) and give my fingertips a break. Alas, I’m sticking to fingers.


Sweetwater  August Burns

Wade Lawrence


Fortunately, there are some with far better connections than I have. Wade Lawrence, for example. Wade is the museum director and senior curator at The Museum at Bethel Woods. Beginning in January 2017 and continuing to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in August 2019, he will post the story of the 32 musical acts that performed at Woodstock.


He is covering them in the order they appeared and thus Sweetwater’s August Burns was within his second piece. (Link > Wade Lawrence blog piece)


Sweetwater  August Burns

Sweetwater


Sweetwater was supposed to open the festival, but traffic issues delayed their arrival. Richie Haven’s famous opening became history. Ironically, his closing impromptu composition, Freedom, included pieces of Motherless Child, Sweetwater’s opening song to their 8-song set (though their last “song” was a medley of three songs: Why Oh Why/Let the Sunshine In/Oh Happy Day). 




Sweetwater consisted of:


  • Nancy Nevins: vocals
  • Albert Moore: flute, vocals
  • August Burns: cello
  • Alex Del Zoppo: keyboards, vocals
  • Fred Herrera: bass, vocals
  • Elpidio Cobian: congas, percussion
  • Alan Malarowitz: drums

Other than Ravi Shankar’s performance (and he of course had the sitar), Sweetwater was the only band/performer at Woodstock that did not use a guitar–acoustic nor electric.


As you can see above, August Burns was the band’s cello player. That is a sentence that is rarely written about rock bands!


Sweetwater August Burns


The Sweetwater site has this to say about Albert Moore: “An extremely unique individual, August, our well- loved cellist, had a warm smile, a mysteriously deep voice, and was interested, from an intellectual standpoint, in EVERYTHING. This very cool guy, who studied the classics at UCLA, added to our eclectic image by bringing us a touch of class. When he played his solo on “My Crystal Spider, “ during our concerts, the audience would go nuts. After Sweetwater, August went to Germany to study conducting. While there, he somehow fell out of a construction elevator, and in the hospital, contracted pneumonia and died.”


Sweetwater  August Burns
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