Brassy Barbara Dane

Brassy Barbara Dane

One must participate in the emerging struggle around them in order to make art that reflects it.

If you’re an artist, you’ve already got tools. If you don’t know what to write about, remember that truth and reality is what we’re after. You have to know reality to tell the truth about it. You got to get out and be a part of it.”

Born May 12, 1927

Brassy: shamelessly bold

Barbara Dane: Writers would call me a brassy blonde, I thought they meant that I was bleaching my hair, which I was, but they meant personality-wise, that it was brassy because I was opinionated in their way of looking at it.

In 2011, I volunteered to do a short presentation on 1960s protest music. Without realizing it, I had stepped into a deep warren and soon realized that what I knew about protest music was a page in an multi-volume encyclopedia.

Since then, I have continued to find new names and songs that fell into the category, but more than a decade I (again sophomorically) thought that there weren’t any new names to discover. Wrong.

Brassy Barbara Dane

Barbara Dane

Screen grab from the trailer for the Arhoolie Foundation documentary film “The Nine Lives of Barbara Dane”
Detroit

Barbara Dane grew up in Detroit.  Even as a teenager in the 1940s she was an activist singing at demonstrations for racial equality and economic justice. Her voice was strong and promoters began to offer her chances to turn professional. She turned them down to “sing at factory gates and in union halls.”  

Brassy Barbara Dane

Prague

Brassy Barbara Dane

In 1947, she flew to Europe to attend the “The Prague World Youth Festival.” It was  a gathering that brought together about 20,000 students, from several dozen countries. The idea was to allow leftist oriented young people to discuss (and play) music, folk song,  as well as sports and entertainment.

She said of it, “That ‘47 festival was my introduction to a whole world of music and musicians and a reason for singing…that I had never imagined was out there. [I]…met a great variety of singers and got the sense that what I was trying to do in my little old way in Detroit was connected to a worldwide impulse of putting your musical abilities at the service of a worldwide movement toward peace and understanding, and you know just the linking up the good guys in the world through their songs.”

San Francisco

Dane moved to San Francisco in 1949. She continued singing and found gigs on the radio and early TV.  She also found the blues.

Why the blues? “Because they speak from the heart to the heart. The blues were born out of the worst conditions one people can force upon another —out of slavery and exploitation—and were given to the world in the spirit of turning madness into sanity, pain into joy, bondage into freedom, and enmity into unity.  This is music for survivors, and this spirit is something to be learned from, shared and spread as far as it will go!  No matter what the words say, no matter who I’m singing to, this is always what I’m singing about.

Her first professional jazz job was with Turk Murphy at the old Tin Angel in l956.

Hoot-N-Anny Records

In the early 1950s,  Dane started a record label called Hoot-N-Anny Records. Just 78 rpms. In the mid Fifties, the label published “Hoot-N-Anny Tonight,” the first LP of a live folk music concert.

In 1958 she started to work for Folkways Records founder, Moses Asch. Asch did the actual recording and she was responsible for the rest of a record’s production.

Luis Armstrong

Dane continued to sing and Louis Armstrong had told Time magazine readers, “Do you get that chick? She’s a gasser!” Dane appeared with Armstrong’s band on January 7, 1959 on the Timex All-Star Show hosted by Jackie Gleason.

Here’s the performance. Dane’s is great, but of course the whole band is outstanding.

Brassy Barbara Dane

Ebony magazine

In a November 1959 issue of Ebony magazine, it said that Dane was “startlingly blonde, especially when that powerful dusky alto voice begins to moan of trouble, two-timing men and freedom … with stubborn determination, enthusiasm and a basic love for the underdog, [she is] making a name for herself … aided and abetted by some of the oldest names in jazz who helped give birth to the blues.”

I highly recommend following the link above to see (as well as read) the article. Some of the advertising  is startling.

Brassy Barbara Dane

Sugar Hill: Home of the Blues

Barbara Dane married a World War II veteran who had been a prisoner of war.  Living in San Francisco, they had three children together, but his war experience had left him dysfunctional.

Despite her difficulties, she decided to open a club.

From her site: In 1961 Barbara opened her own club, Sugar Hill: Home of the Blues, on San Francisco’s Broadway, with the idea of creating a respectful venue for the music  right on the tourist rialto where a wider audience could come in contact with it. There Dane performed regularly with her two most constant musical companions:  Kenny “Good News” Whitson on piano and cornet, and Wellman Braud, former Ellington bassist. Among her guest artists were Jimmy Rushing, Mose Allison, Mama Yancey, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, as well as the many jazz musicians who came regularly to sit in. 

Though her success as a blues singer continued to expand, she also continued her singing with activists.  The club , despite its popularity, did not succeed.

Meaningful music that might change the world for the better was what mattered.  “Why would I want to stand in front of a band with a low-cut dress singing stupid words when I could be singing for workers who are on strike?  It didn’t seem like a good bargain to me.”

Brassy Barbara Dane

1966 Cuba Encuentro

In  1966, the now-divorced Dane was living in New York City with the still-married Irwin Silber. He had three children from his marriage. Keep in mind that in October 1962 the US and USSR had  had its nearly catastrophic nuclear standoff  over missiles in Cuba, so when her friend, broadcaster, and filmmaker Estela Bravo invited Barbara to Cuba to perform at the height of the Cold War, it was a huge risk.

From the Smithsonian SideDoor podcast: Officially, it was the “Encuentro Internacional de la Canción Protesta.” In English, that becomes the “International Gathering of Protest Music.” The idea was to have a friendly get-together, where singers, poets and left wing revolutionaries of all kinds could share ideas about how to push forward political movements through music. Kind of a “Here’s what works in my country, how would you approach it?” There were a few other Americans, but also Australians, Brits, Italians, Angolans, Vietnamese, as well as performers from all over Latin America.”

Afterwards, Dane wrote: “When we came, at last, to the world-famous beach resort of Varadero… we made a head-long dash into the soft blue waves. Small laughing heroines of the NLF [Vietnam’s National Liberation Front] splashed water on the big serious Argentine, the Australian girl was dunked by a Uruguayan boy, and for the moment, Europeans and Americans, Asians and Africans with such serious work at hand were indistinguishable from any group of rowdy tourists—with the difference that we were all conscious of the tremendous struggles waged to secure our right as peoples of all races and from the lower economic classes…”

Brassy Barbara Dane

Fidel Castro himself even showed up at one point and played basketball with some of the youth.

Brassy Barbara Dane

Paredon Records

One of Dane’s takeaways from the Encuentro was the need for a record label that others with the same views as hers could have to release music.

She was not preoccupied with financial success or fame. Albert Grossman, Bob Dylan’s (and many other artists) manager told her to call him when she “got her priorities straight.”

In 1970 she  and Irwin Silber founded Paredon Records, committed to publishing liberation movement music . The label produced 45 albums, including three of her own, over a 12 year period.

Side note: Silber also founder and was the longtime editor of the folk-music magazine Sing Out! 

The first Paradon release was Cancion Protesta: Protest Song of Latin America.  and all of the songs had been recorded during the Encuentro

The first track–just 18 seconds —was Fidel Castro talking about the power of art to win people over to your cause.

Brassy Barbara Dane

Asian-Americans

Not simply an outlet for musicians outside the United States, in 1973, Paradon released A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America.

In 1981, Barbara turned the label over to a collective as she wanted to pursue her singing more. The collective could only keep Paradon afloat for a few more years and in 1985, after releasing 50 albums, showcasing protest and anti-colonial movements on six continents, Paredon was over.

The label was recently incorporated into Smithsonian-Folkways, a label of the Smithsonian Institution, and is available through their catalog.

From a NYT article: “Paredon didn’t put out music about politics. They put out music of politics,” said Josh MacPhee, the author of “An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels” and a founder of the Brooklyn-based Interference Archive, which chronicles the cultural production of social movements. “These are not artists commenting on political issues. These were sounds that were produced by people in motion trying to transform their lives.”

From the same article: The catalog included musicians steeped in social movements at home, like Bernice Johnson Reagon — a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s Freedom Singers, and later of the a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock — whose solo album, “Give Your Hands to Struggle” from 1975, was filled with rhapsodic self-harmonizing. It also included the Covered Wagon Musicians, a group of subversive active-duty Air Force men who sang out from their Idaho base, “We say no to your war!”

Nowadays

In the summer of 2016 Barbara released a new recording Throw It Away… with a trio led by pianist Tammy Hall which was launched with two sold-out shows at Yoshi’s in Oakland. 

In 2017 se was awarded a Cubadisco to honor her early efforts disseminating the political music known as nueva trova on her label and in celebration of her 90th birthday, Barbara did concerts at SFJAZZ, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage and Joe’s Pub in NYC.

In February 2018 Smithsonian Folkways released a 2-CD retrospective with selections from their catalog along with never-released archival gems including her historic folkways LP “Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers”

The album cover shows Dane with the Chambers Brothers at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965

References:

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

And so it was Sunday 12:30 AM and Saturday’s show continued. CCR would play for about 55 minutes. Some bands sound like their albums. Some decide to improvise around them. Creedence had lots of hit singles and they played them like we’d heard them. For many, that’s what they want.

Last year in an LA Times interview, John  Fogerty recounted his Haze-filled memory of the event:

I’d been seeing a lot of billboards that said something like “Come to Woodstock for 3 days of Peace, Love and Music.” I got the call to perform in June or maybe July, which seemed pretty late in the game. I wanted to make sure Creedence got a good spot and they agreed to put us on at 9 on Saturday night. It turns out we were the first act to sign, and once we did, all the other acts fell in step. But I didn’t know this at the time. We were told we would go on after the Grateful Dead. They didn’t start until after 9, and they played for 45 minutes and I thought, “Great, we’ll be on pretty soon.” But then they started playing again, and played for another 45 minutes. They didn’t finish until after midnight. I found out in the ‘90s that they’d dropped LSD before they went on, and so there they were onstage, what do you say, pretty bewildered. 

We ran onstage ready to rock ’n’ roll, but everybody was just lying there in front of the stage asleep.

The Dead came on at 10:30. They played two songs (four minutes, 46 second), before tech issues forced them to stop for awhile. When they restarted they played for an hour and five minutes.

John’s complaint that the crowd was too tired to listen to their set is belied when you listening to the crowd’s enthusiasm. It’s also interesting to think that “all the other acts fell in step” right after Woodstock Ventures signed them. Hubris.

John was a prolific songwriter and the set shows off that skill. He wrote eight of the eleven other than three covers: I Put a Spell On You by Jay Hawkins, The Night Time Is the Right Time by  Nappy Brown, and Susie Q by Dale Hawkins and Robert Chaisson. It would be his insistence to disallow any other band member’s compositions that eventually drove a wedge between himself and the rest of the band, including his brother, Tom.

At no point in the 2019 Rhino Woodstock — Back To The Garden — The 50th Anniversary Archive release do we hear John say “We’re playing our hearts out for you and want you to have a good time.” nor someone shout back, “Don’t worry about it, John.”

Of course, it could be that John’s statement wasn’t recorded and that the kid’s shout wasn’t picked up, but given the huge amount of conversations and announcements included in the Rhino release, such a call and response would have been included.

Band:

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Setlist

  • Born on the Bayou
  • Green River
  • Ninty-Nine-and-a-Half (Won’t Do)
  • Bootleg
  • Commotion
  • Bad Moon Rising
  • Proud Mary
  • I Put a Spell on You
  • The Night Time is the Right Time
  • Keep on Chooglin’
  • Susie Q
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Born on the Bayou

Now when I was just a little boy
Standin’ to my Daddy’s knee
My Poppa said “son, don’t let the man get you do what he done to me”
‘Cause he’ll get you
‘Cause he’ll get you now, now
And I can remember the fourth of July
Runnin’ through the backwood bare
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin’
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Wish I was back on the Bayou
Rollin’ with some Cajun Queen
Wishin’ I were a freight train
Oh, just a-chooglin’ on down to New Orleans
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Oh get back boy
And I can remember the fourth of July
Runnin’ through the backwood bare
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin’
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Green River

Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah.
Let me remember things I love,
Stoppin’ at the log where catfish bite,
Walkin’ along the river road at night,
Barefoot girls dancin’ in the moonlight.

I can hear the bullfrog callin’ me.
Wonder if my rope’s still hangin’ to the tree.
Love to kick my feet ‘way down the shallow water.
Shoefly, dragonfly, get back t’your mother.
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River.
Welllllll!

Up at Cody’s camp I spent my days, oh,
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers.
Old Cody, Junior took me over,
Said, “You’re gonna find the world is smould’rin’.
And if you get lost come on home to Green River.”

Welllllll!

John mentions: “Multitude of problems. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about ’em.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Ninty-Nine-and-a-Half (Won’t Do)

I got to have all your love
Night and day
Not just a little part
But all of your heart, sugar
Ninety-nine and a half just won’t do
Oh, no, no, just won’t get it
Don’t be led in the wrong direction
To start this thing off right
A man need a little love and affection
Yes he do, now
Ninety-nine and a half just won’t do
Whoa, oh, no, no, just won’t get it, all right
Look-a here
We got to bring it on down
Start it off right
We got to stop this messin’ around
And keep our thing up tight
Yes, we do, now
Ninety-nine and a half just won’t do
Whoa, oh, no, no, just won’t get it, all right, sugar
Got to have a hundred
Well, got to have a hundred
All right
Aah, I must do, I must do
I must do now
Oh!
Got to have a hundred, now
Well, got to have a hundred
Aah! Got to have a hundred, too right
Got to have a hundred, now, oh
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Bootleg

Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Take you a glass of water
Make it against the law.
See how good the water tastes
When you can’t have any at all.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Findin’ a natural woman,
Like honey to a bee.
But you don’t buzz the flower.
When you know the honey’s free.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Suzy maybe give you some cherry pie,
But lord, that ain’t no fun.
Better you grab it when she ain’t lookin’
‘Cause you know you’d rather have it on the run.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Bootleg, bootleg,
Bootleg, howl.
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Commotion

Traffic in the city turns my head around
No, no, no, no, no.
Backed up on the freeway, backed up in the church,
Everywhere you look there’s a frown, frown
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
People keep atalkin’, they don’t say a word
Jaw, jaw, jaw, jaw, jaw
Talk up in the White House, talk up to your door,
So much goin’ on I just can’t hear
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Hurryin’ to get there so you save some time.
Run, run, run, run, run
Rushin’ to the treadmill, rushin’ to get home,
Worry ’bout the time you save, save
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Com, commotion,
Git, git, git, gone
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Bad Moon Rising

I see the bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today
Don’t go around tonight
Well it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
I hear hurricanes a-blowing
I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers over flowing
I hear the voice of rage and ruin
Well don’t go around tonight
Well it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise, all right
Hope you got your things together
Hope you are quite prepared to die
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye
Well don’t go around tonight
Well it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
Don’t come around tonight
Well it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Proud Mary

Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis
Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
‘Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have no money
People on the river are happy to give
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

I Put A Spell On You

I put a spell on you, because you’re mine
You better stop the thing that you’re doin’
I said, “Watch out, I ain’t lyin'”, yeah
I ain’t gonna take none of your, foolin’ around
I ain’t gonna take none of your, puttin’ me down
I put a spell on you because you’re mine, all right
I put a spell on you, because you’re mine
You better stop, the thing that you’re doin’
I said, “Watch out, I ain’t lyin'”, yeah
I ain’t gonna take none of your, foolin’ around
I ain’t gonna take none of your, puttin’ me down
I put a spell on you because you’re mine, all right and I took it down
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

The Nighttime Is the Right Time

You know the night time
Oh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
I said the night time
Ooh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
I said the night time
Ooh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
Baby, I said a baby, baby
Come on and drive me crazy, lord
You know I love you
Always thinkin’ of you
Hey, baby
Oh I said, aw baby
You know the night time
Oh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
Alright sing the song to me
I said the night time
Oh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
I said the night time
Ooh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
I said the night time
Oh, is the right time
To be with the one you love
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Keep on Chooglin’

Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Chooglin’,
Chooglin’
Maybe you don’t understand it
But if you’re a natural man,
You got to ball and have a good time
And that’s what I call chooglin’
Here comes Mary lookin’ for Harry,
She gonna choogle tonight
Here comes Louie, works in the sewer,
He gonna choogle tonight
Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Chooglin’,
Chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Keep on chooglin’
Chooglin’,
Chooglin’
If you can choose it, who can refuse it,
Y’all be chooglin’ tonight
Go on, take your pick, right from the git go,
You gotta choogle tonight
Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

Susie Q

For their encore, called for by a raucous cheering crowd, the band came back for a nearly 11-minute Suzie Q.

Oh, Susie Q, Oh, Susie Q
Oh, Susie Q, Baby I love you, Susie Q
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk I like the way you talk, Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be true
well, say that you’ll be true,
Well, say that you’ll be true and never leave me blue, Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be mine
well, say that you’ll be mine,
Well, say that you’ll be mine, baby all the time, Susie Q

Oh Susie Q, Oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q, Baby I love you, Susie Q

I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk I like the way you talk, Susie Q.

Oh Susie Q, Oh susie Q
Oh Susie Q, Baby I love you, Susie Q

John: “Thank you y’all. See you later.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock

The next performance is Janis Joplin.

Grateful Dead Woodstock

Grateful Dead Woodstock

It was 10:30 and a bit drizzly when the Dead came on. Their actual playing time was about an hour and ten minutes, but only five minutes after they finally were able to begin there were additional technical difficulties that delayed a restart for about 15 minutes.

The common impression of the Dead’s Woodstock set, repeated by many, is that it was not up to their or their fans’ high expectations That may be true, but in reality, the set itself was not so different than what the Dead typically did when they shared a bill with other bands at a festival.  Set times at a festival were usually shorter than a set when the band was the main act.

At Woodstock, the Dead were:

Their setlist was:

  • St Stephen
  • Mama Tried
  • Dark Star
  • High Time
  • Turn on Your Lovelight
Grateful Dead Woodstock

St Stephen

Grateful Dead Woodstock

If you asked lyricist Robert Hunter whether the Stephen referred to in one of the Dead’s most popular songs is the actual St Stephen, first Christian martyr, or another Stephen, you didn’t get a straight answer. Like any writer, poetic license is always a part of what they write.

The Deadlists Project has the song’s first performance as being on May 24, 1968, at the National Guard Armory in St. Louis, Missouri. According to Dead.net, there were 289 known live performances of the song.

Saint Stephen with a rose
In and out of the garden he goes
Country garden in the wind and the rain
Wherever he goes the people all complain
Stephen prospered in his time
Well, he may and he may decline
Did it matter, does it now?
Stephen would answer if he only knew how
Wishing well with a golden bell
Bucket hangin’ clear to Hell
Hell halfway twixt now and then
Stephen fill it up and lower down and lower down again
Lady finger, dipped in moonlight
Writing, “What for?”, across the morning sky
Sunlight splatters, dawn with answer
Darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye
Speeding arrow, sharp and narrow
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned
Several seasons with their treasons
Wrap the babe in scarlet colors, call it your own
Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers aplenty in the bye and bye
Talk about your plenty and talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills
Saint Stephen will remain
All he lost he shall regain
Seashore washed by the suds and foam
Been here so long, he’s got to callin’ it home
Fortune comes a crawlin’, calliope woman
Spinnin’ that curious sense of your own
Can you answer? Yes, I can
What would be the answer to the answer man?
High green chilly winds and windy
Vines and loops around the twining
Shafts of lavender, they’re crawling to the sun
Wonder who will water all the children of the garden
When they sigh about the barren lack of rain and troop so hungry ‘neath the sky, ay
Underfoot the ground is patched
With climbing arms of ivy wrapped around
The Manzanita, dark and shiny in the breeze
William Tell has stretched the bow
Till it won’t stretch no furthermore
And all that they require in change
That hasn’t gone before
Grateful Dead Woodstock

Mama Tried

Grateful Dead Woodstock

The Dead were well-known for covering songs and Mama Tried became on of their better known covers. Merle Haggard wrote it.

First thing I remember knowin’
Was a lonesome whistle blowin’
And a youngun’s dream of growin’ up to ride
On a freight train leavin’ town,
Not knowin’ where I’s bound
No one could change my mind but mama tried
One and only rebel child
In a family meek and mild,
Mama seemed to know what lay in store
In spite of all my Sunday learnin’,
For the bad I kept on turnin’
Mama couldn’t hold me anymore
And I turned twenty one in prison
Doin’ life without parole
No one could steer me right
But mama tried, mama tried,
Mama tried to raise me better
But her pleadin’ I denied,
That leaves only me to blame ’cause mama tried
Dear old daddy, rest his soul,
Left my mom a heavy load
She tried so very hard to fill his shoes
Workin’ hours without rest,
Wanted me to have the best,
She tried to raise me right but I refused
And I turned twenty one in prison
Doin’ life without parole
No one could steer me right
But mama tried, mama tried,
Mama tried to raise me better
But her pleadin’ I denied,
That leaves only me to blame ’cause mama tried
Grateful Dead Woodstock

Patter Break

While the tech issues are resolved a few people talk to take up the time.

Merry Prankster Ken Babbs rambles on and around quite a while before Country Joe arrives. He tells the crowd how he’s from San Francisco and how familiar with LSD he and others from San Francisco are. He then advises those who have taken “bad” acid to simply stop taking it and they’ll be fine.

Also, there have been questions as to whether Bear Owsley was at Woodstock. The recording of this break seems to answer that question affirmatively. Not only is he referred to (at the 8:40 mark of the break’s Rhino recording), but we also hear him.

Click to listen:

For an far more extensive and more positive view of their set, see this article written by Scott Parker, author of Woodstock Documented.

Grateful Dead Woodstock

Dark Star

Dark Star was one of the first songs that Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter wrote, although the whole band is typically credited.  They played the song 249 times.

Dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes
Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis
Searchlight casting for faults in the clouds of delusion
Shall we go, you and I while we can
Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?
Mirror shatters in formless reflections of matter
Glass hand dissolving in ice, petal flowers revolving
Lady in velvet recedes in the nights of good-bye
Shall we go, you and I while we can
Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?
Grateful Dead Woodstock

High Time

Grateful Dead Woodstock
Jerry Garcia

The Dead had not yet released this song on an album. Most bands release an album and then tour to promote it. The contrarian Dead were doing the opposite. They were perfecting their next album’s songs on the road before going into the studio. High Time appeared on their Workingman’s Dead album released in June, 1970.

Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics, Jerry Garcia the tune.  High Time was performed about 60 times by the Grateful Dead between June 1969 and July 1970. The song was then dropped from the repertoire for 6 years returning in June 1976. It was then performed a few times most years through to 1995, though it was not performed in 1978, 1983 and 1989. In total the Grateful Dead performed the song just over 130 times.

You told me goodbye, how was I to know
You didn’t mean goodbye, you meant please don’t let me go?
I was having a high time, living the good life, well I know
The wheels are muddy, got a ton of hay,
Now listen here, Baby, ’cause I mean what I say.
I’m having a hard time, living the good life, well I know.
I was losing time, I had nothing to do,
No one to fight, I came to you.
Wheels broke down, leader won’t draw,
The line is busted, the last one I saw.
Tomorrow come trouble, tomorrow come pain,
Now don’t think too hard Baby, ’cause I know what I’m saying.
I could show you a high time, living the good life, don’t be that way.
Nothing’s for certain, it could always go wrong,
Come in when it’s raining, go on out when it’s gone.
We could have us a high time, living the good life, well I know.
Grateful Dead Woodstock

Turn On Your Lovelight

Pigpen

Another Dead cover. Perhaps their best known, band leader and arranger Joe Scott wrote “Turn On Your Love Light.”  The Dead also extended this song out a long way. Woodstock’s was  40 minutes, but the longest version was likely on June 6 that year at the Fillmore West at 47 minutes.

The following are the “official” lyrics tobut Pigpen was famous for improvising around those lyrics.

Without a warning you broke my heart, takin’ it baby, tore it apart
And you left me standin’ in the dark, said your love for me was dyin’
Come on baby, baby please come on baby, cause I’m on my knees
Turn on your lights let it shine on me shine on your love light
Let it shine on me let shine, let it shine, let it shine
When I get lonely in the middle of the night
And I need you darlin’ to make things all right
So come on baby, baby please and I’m beggin’ you baby cause I’m on my knees,
Turn on your lights let it shine on me
Turn on your love light let it shine on me
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine
Without a warning you broke my heart, takin’ it baby, tore it apart
And you left me standin’ in the dark, shine your love for me was dark
Come on baby, baby please come on baby, cause I’m on my knees
Turn on your lights let it shine on me shine on your love light
Let it shine on me let shine, let it shine, let it shine
Grateful Dead Woodstock

Double-dare

So there it is and now I dare you to click and open ↓ .

It’s really a nice listen for any day and always a slice of history. You’ll hear the actual radio feedback that Phil Lesh talks about during a quieter part of their set.

2021!

And if that’s not enough, 52 years later Dead & Company played at Bethel Woods. What was their second set? The Woodstock set.

Grateful Dead Woodstock

The  next act is Creedence Clearwater Revival.