Category Archives: Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Bassist Larry Graham

Bassist Larry Graham

Born ‎August 14, 1946

“I’m gonna add some bottom… so that the dancers just can’t hide!”

Screen grab of Graham from a 2012 concert, Bataclan, Paris

None of us had ever done anything even close to Woodstock. Then, all of a sudden, we had the attention of the world. If you were part of that, it just turned everything around.”

So said bassist Larry Graham in a 2014 interview with George Varga in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Beaumont, Texas

Larry Graham was born August 14, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas.  From an article in The Watchtower: I was born into a musical family…, my mother’s only son. She was a pianist with the church choir, and my father was a jazz guitarist. Soon afterward my family moved to Oakland, California, where I started tap dancing at the age of five. Two years later, I learned the piano under the guidance of my grandmother, who cared for me in those early years.

From the Varga interview:  “My biggest influence was actually my mother’s left hand. Because, before I went to bass, I was playing guitar. And when she would solo, I would play bass lines on my guitar. And when I would solo, she’d play bass lines on piano with her left hand. That’s the way she played anyway, before I started playing with her.  So when I started playing with her, I was influenced by her left-hand bass lines.”

Bassist Larry Graham

Sly

Bassist Larry Graham
Graham is in the back in yellow

His breakout success was with Sly and the Family Stone (1966 – 1972).

Albums with Sly and the Family Stone

  • 1967: A Whole New Thing
  • 1968: Dance to the Music
  • 1968: Life
  • 1969: Stand!
  • 1971: There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • 1973: Fresh
Bassist Larry Graham

Bass Technique

From that same interview: “By slapping the strings and expertly plucking and popping them with his fingers, he transformed the electric bass, making it as prominent as a guitar and dramatically increasing its rhythmic intensity. By dong so, he laid the foundation for several subsequent generations of bassists, including everyone from Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten and San Diego’s Nathan East to Les Claypool of Primus, Level 42’s and Mr. Big’s Billy Sheehan.”

Bassist Larry Graham

Witness

In 1973, he met his future wife Tina. Tina’s mom was a Jehovah Witness and asked Tina to be present at her baptism in the Oakland Coliseum. Graham attended and says he’d never seen anything like the gathering before.

He and Tina began Bible study and visited various Jehovah Witness congregations while on tour. He and Tina were baptized at the district convention in Oakland in July 1975.

Graham would later introduce the religion to Prince. He became a Jehovah’s Witness later in life, and according to Graham, that helped shape Prince’s music as well as his lifestyle.

Graham said that Prince would knock on doors, talk with visitors at his studio-compound Paisley Park in suburban Minneapolis and even share his faith with small groups after a show,

“That brought him joy. That brought him real happiness,” Graham said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Graham Central Station

After Sly [from the QG Enterprise page]: [Graham]…went on to produce a Funk band called “Hot Chocolate”, which he eventually joined and renamed “Graham Central Station”. The original lineup included guitarist David “Dynamite” Vega, organist Robert “Butch” Sam, keyboardist Hershall “Happiness” Kennedy, vocalist/percussionist Patryce “Choc’let” Banks, and drummer Willie “Wild” Sparks. The group used the funk foundation that Graham had established with “Sly and the Family Stone” and sweetened it with various layers of soul, blues and other styles – a magical combination that scored the band a Grammy nomination in 1974 for Best New Artist. Graham Central Station released a string of seven albums throughout the 70’s. Their debut album, a self-titled effort released in 1974, proved highly successful, launching a minor pop hit with “Can You Handle It“. 

He reformed Graham Central Station in the early 1990s and performed with the band for several years. Graham and Graham Central Station performed internationally with a world tour in 2010 and the “Funk Around The World” international tour in 2011.

Graham Central Station albums

  • Graham Central Station (Warner Bros., 1974)
  • Release Yourself (Warner Bros., 1974)
  • Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt It (Warner Bros., 1975)
  • Mirror (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • Now Do U Wanta Dance (Warner Bros., 1977)
  • My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Star Walk (Warner Bros., 1979)
  • Live in Japan (1992)
  • Live in London (1996)
  • Back by Popular Demand (1998)
  • The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Vol. 1 (Warner Bros., 1996)
  • Raise Up (2012)
Bassist Larry Graham

Prince

In 1998, he recorded a solo album under the name Graham Central Station, GCS 2000. It was a collaboration between Larry Graham and Prince.

While Graham wrote all the songs, except one co-written by Prince, the album was co-arranged and co-produced by Prince, and most of the instruments and vocals were recorded by both Graham and Prince. Graham also played bass on tours with Prince from 1997 to 2000. He appeared in Prince’s 1998 VHS Beautiful Strange and 1999 DVD Rave Un2 the Year 2000.

When Prince died in 2016, Minnetonka, Minnesota’s Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall held a memorial service for him – “Brother Nelson” as his fellow congregants knew him – Sunday at the church where he worshiped.

At the service, Graham spoke about Prince and their shared faith. [RS article]

Bassist Larry Graham

Credits

All Music has a very long list of his credits. Among the names (in addition to Prince, Sly, and Graham Central are:  Betty Davis (the second ex-wife of jazz legend Miles Davis), George Tyson, the Oak Ridge Boys. Aretha Franklin, Stanley Clarke, George Benson, Stanley Jordan, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Mahalia Jackson, Frankie Lanine, Eddie Murphy, Santana, Chaka Khan, Luther Allison, Government Mule, Billy Preston, Shania Twain,  Kanye West, as well as many many others.

Bassist Larry Graham

Solo

Graham recorded five solo albums and had several solo hits on the R&B charts. His biggest hit was “One in a Million You”, a crossover hit, which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980.

Solo albums [all Warner Bros. releases]

  • 1980: One in a Million You
  • 1981: Just Be My Lady
  • 1982: Sooner or Later
  • 1983: Victory
  • 1985: Fired Up
Bassist Larry Graham

Hall of Fame

A 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of Sly & The Family Stone

Bassist Larry Graham

Check out this live concert. Amazing energy!

Bassist Larry Graham
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Woodstock Performers First Album

Woodstock Performers First Album

Though many of those who performed at Woodstock were famous already [at least to their fans they were], in terms of having a recording contract and releasing an album, most of them had been in the music business (as opposed to performing) for a short time. If fact for a few, their first album release came after the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Listed below are all those who performed at the festival in the order that their first album was released. I’ve also included the age of band members (if available) at the time of the album’s release.

There were 32 music performances at Woodstock, but Country Joe performed twice: once solo and once with the Fish. I have counted him as one and with the Fish, so I’ve listed 31 albums below.

To the point of “being in the business,” the large majority–25–of the bands had released their first albums from 1967 and after. Or, only 6 had released an album before 1967.

And three in that majority released an album after 1969.

Woodstock Performers First Album

Ravi Shankar

Woodstock Performers First Album

Ravi Shankar released his first album, Music Of India – Three Classical Ragas On Sitar, in 1956. He was 36.

Woodstock Performers First Album

Joan Baez

Woodstock Performers First Album

October 1960: Joan Baez (age 19) released her first album, Joan Baez.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1965

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

October, 1965: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band album released. Paul Butterfield was 22. No other personnel for the album performed at Woodstock.

The Who

Woodstock Performers First Album

December 3, 1965: The Who [Pete Townshend, 20; Keith Moon, 19; Roger Daltrey, 21; and John Entwistle, 21] released My Generation album.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1966

Incredible String Band

Woodstock Performers First Album

June, 1966: Incredible String Band (Robin Williamson, age 22 , and Mike Heron, age 22 ) released first album, The Incredible String Band.

Tim Harden

Woodstock Performers First Album

July 1966: Tim Hardin (age 25) released first album, Tim Hardin 1

Jefferson Airplane 

Woodstock Performers First Album

August 15, 1966: Jefferson Airplane released their debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The personnel differs from the later “classic” lineup and the music is more folk-rock than the harder psychedelic sound for which the band later became famous. Signe Toly Anderson was the female vocalist and Skip Spence played drums. Both left the group shortly after the album’s release and were replaced by Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden, respectively. (Jorma Kaukonen (age 25), Paul Kantner (age 25), Jack Casady (age 22), Marty Balin (age 24), Grace Slick (age 26), Spencer Dryden (age 28).

Richie Havens

Woodstock Performers First Album

Late 1966: Richie Havens (25) released his first album: Mixed Bag

Woodstock Performers First Album

1967

Grateful Dead

March 17, 1967: the Grateful Dead released their first album: Grateful Dead. Jerry Garica (25), Bob Weir (19),  Pigpen (21), Phil Lesh (27), and Bill Kreutzmann (21).

Country Joe and the Fish

April 1967: Country Joe (25) and the Fish released first album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body.

Jimi Hendrix Experience

May 12, 1967: the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, released in the UK. Jimi Hendrix (24), Mitch Mitchell, (19), and Noel Redding (21) .

Canned Heat

July 1967: Canned Heat released first album, Canned Heat. The three members who played Woodstock were Bob “The Bear” Hite, age 24, Alan Wilson, age 24, and Larry Taylor,  age 24)

Big Brother and the Holding Company

August 1967: Big Brother and the Holding Company released first album with Janis Joplin (23).  The other band members, none of whom played at Woodstock, were: Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin, and Dave Getz.

Arlo Guthrie

September 1967: Arlo Guthrie (20) released first album, Alice’s Restaurant.

Sly and the Family Stone

October 1967: Sly and the Family Stone released first album, A Whole New Thing. Sly Stone (25), Freddie Stone (20),  Larry Graham (19), Cynthia Robinson (21), Jerry Martini (25), and Greg Errico (19).

Ten Years After

October 27, 1967: Ten Years After released its first album, Ten Years After. Alvin Lee (22), Chick Churchill (21), Leo Lyons (23), and Ric Lee (22).

Johnny Winter

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968: Johnny Winter (age 22) released first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment with John Turner (24) and Tommy Shannon (22).

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968

Blood, Sweat, & Tears

February 21, 1968: Blood, Sweat, & Tears released its first album, Child is Father to the Man. The album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Bobby Colomby (23), Jim Fielder (20), Dick Halligan (24), Steve Katz (22), and Fred Lipsius (24).

The Band

July 1, 1968: The Band released its first album, Music From Big Pink. Rick Danko, age 26; Robbie Robertson, age 25; Levon Helm, age 28; Richard Manuel, age 25; Garth Hudson, age 31.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Woodstock Performers First Album

July 5, 1968: Creedence Clearwater Revival released first album, Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty (23), Doug Clifford (23), Stu Cook 23), and Tom Fogerty (26)

Melanie

November 1968: Melanie (age 21) released her first album, Born to Be.

Sweetwater

1968: Sweetwater released its first album entitled Sweetwater. Birth dates for the band members are not available. They were: Nansi Nevins, Frank Herrera, August Burns, Elpidio Cobian, Alan Malarowitz, Albert Moore, and Alex Del Zoppo.

Bert Sommer

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968: Bert Sommer (age 18) released his first album, The Road to Travel. It was produced by Artie Kornfeld. Sommer was a schoolmate of Leslie West. None of the several other musicians on the album played at Woodstock.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1969

Keef Hartley Band

1969: the Keef Hartley Band (Keef Hartley age 25 whose career began as the replacement for Ringo Starr as drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes) released its first album, Halfbreed. The other album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Miller Anderson (24), Gary Thain (21), and Henry Lowther (27).

Joe Cocker

April 23, 1969: Joe Cocker (age 24) released first album, With a Little Help from My Friends. The only other album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Henry McCullough (25) and Chris Stainton (25).

Crosby, Stills, & Nash

Woodstock Performers First Album

May 29, 1969: Crosby, Stills, & Nash released first album.  (David Crosby age 28; Stephen Stills age 24; Graham Nash, age 27)

Santana

Woodstock Performers First Album

August 30, 1969: Santana  released its first album, Santana. Carlos Santana (22), Gregg Rolie (22), David Brown (22), Michael Shrieve (20), Michael Carabello (21), and José “Chepito” Areas (23).

Sha Na Na

1969: Sha Na Na released its first album, Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay! Since it was released after Woodstock, I will give the personnel who performed at Woodstock (most birth dates are unknown): Alan Cooper (?), Bruce Clark (?), Dave Garrett (?), Donny York (?), Elliot Cahn (?),  Jocko Marcellino (29?),  Joe Witkin (?), Richard Joffe (?), Rob Leonard (?),  Scott Powell (21), Dennis Greene (20),  and Henry Gross (18).

Woodstock Performers First Album

1970

Quill

January 1970: the band Quill released album: Quill. The personnel: Dan Cole (?), Jon Cole (?), Norman Rogers (?), Phil Thayer (?), and Roger North (?).

John Sebastian

January 19, 1970: John Sebastian (25) released his first solo album, John B Sebastian. He had, of course, had great success with the band Lovin’ Spoonful. Sebastian was 21 when that band released the ablum, Do You Believe In Magic.

Mountain

Woodstock Performers First Album

March 7, 1970: Mountain released its first album, Climbing! [also known as Mountain Climbing!] The album personnel who had played at Woodstock were: Leslie West (24),  Felix Pappalardi (30),  and Steve Knight (34).

Woodstock Performers First Album
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Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

August 27, 1934 – August 22, 2005

I often entitle my little bios of Woodstock performers by including the word “Woodstock” before or after their name. An SEO strategy.

In the case of Teddy Harris, the word Woodstock, however  much apropos, is far too limiting because his roots and branches are  Detroit.

As he says above, “Nobody swings as hard as Detroit.

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Detroit

Theodore Edward Harris Jr. was born in Detroit on August 27, 1934.

His first music teacher was his father, jazz organist Theodore Harris Sr.

A Metrotimes article recounts his early musical milestone: as a precocious 7-year-old, [Harris] had a musical epiphany…at the Paradise Theatre. As recounted in Harris family lore, the curtains opened, the youngster jumped up on his seat, pointed at Duke Ellington on stage and pronounced, “That’s what I want to be.”

Harris himself talked about his home’s musical atmosphere: “I came up in a house full of music. I had uncles that sang; they sang like birds. They had a trio called the Cosmopolitan Trio, and they sang in churches throughout the area. My father was their accompanist. Every Saturday my father would give me a haircut, and after I would listen to the guys sing and rehearse.”

In high school, he served as student band director.

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

New England

In 1955 Harris attended the New England Conservatory for a time before being drafted in 1956.  Before he left he  was part of Jackie Wilson’s first hit “Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet).”

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Germany

The military did not interfere with his musical journey. He performed as guest saxophonist with the 7th Army Symphony Orchestra and Soldier’s Show Company

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Paris

After his discharge in 1959 he studied with  Nadia Boulanger in Paris before returning to Detroit.

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Back in Detroit

Harris had known Berry Gordy, Jr and when Harris returned to Detroit in 1961, he became part of Gordy’s growning  Motown enterprise. He worked with Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson.

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Woodstock

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr

Bassist friend Rod Hicks got Harris to join the Paul Butterfield Blues Band,  which led to Harris’s presence at Woodstock. He described flying over the site as looking at “biggest Indian pow-wow in the world.

After Paul Butterfield, Harris spent 16 years as musical director for the Supremes.

Post Woodstock

In the early 1980s Harris formed the New Breed Bebop Society Orchestra while heading a summer arts workshop for economically disadvantaged youngsters.

During the mid 1980s, Harris led the house band at Dummy George’s, and led a big band often accompanied with The Detroit Voices.

Awards

Some of the awards he received were: Outstanding Contributions (United Negro College Fund) 1986; Distinguished Recognition Medal (City of Detroit) 1990; State of Michigan Special Tribute 1992; Legends of Jazz International Hall of Fame; Michiganian of the Year 1993; Jazz Masters Award 1993; 1993 Key to the City of Detroit; Spirit of Detroit Award 1994, Governor’s Michigan Artist Award 1995.

Teddy Harris died of prostate cancer at John D Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

The Motown Forever site said of HarrisThere was always an elegance about Teddy Harris Jr., from the fluid caress of his piano and saxophone work, to the curlicue grace and bebop lyricism of his arrangements, to the hip presence with which he led his bands and mentored generation after generation of young jazz musicians.

Detroit Teddy Harris Jr
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