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Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm

Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm (Rhino)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 11, 2009

Box Sets

Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm (Rhino)

This year's 40th anniversary of Woodstock brought many tributes and recollections, but none as satisfying as this 6-CD collection of music and more. Initially planned as a 30-disc set of each performance from that magical weekend of August 1969, logistics forced an abridged result that still sprawls at almost eight hours of music and represents a major upgrade from the chart-topping 3-LP set and subsequent two-record Woodstock Two. With every artist that appeared at the three-day event presented in order of appearance, save for the Band, Ten Years After, and the Keef Hartley Band, this is as complete a document of the mother of all music festivals as we'll ever get, including the famous clash between Abbie Hoffman and Pete Townshend, and Max Yasgur's full address heard for the first time. Of 77 songs, 38 were previously unavailable, including selections from the Who, Jefferson Airplane, Tim Hardin, Grateful Dead, and Ravi Shankar. The booklet offers an informative day-by-day account by Bud Scoppa, full set lists from every artist, and marvelous photographs. Song choice complaints will differ depending on your affinity for a particular artist. One track each from Sly & the Family Stone and the Dead, but three from Melanie and six from Country Joe & the Fish? Even so, if you stand out in the rain, ingest a mind-altering substance, and crank this up, you'll feel like you're at Yasgur's Farm. For more Woodstock, check out Sony Legacy Recordings' Woodstock Experience series, featuring Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, and Sly Stone, in two-disc sets containing the artist's studio album from 1969 along with the complete performance at Woodstock.

****

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