Submitted for your approval: two versions of the same song. The original, by New Order, and the cover, by Iron & Wine. Both have their merits, but this is a fight to the finish (is there any other kind of fight?). Which version of the song is better? This is completely subjective. I like both versions of the song for different reasons. I appreciate New Order for coming up with the song and writing such great lyrics, but I feel the Iron & Wine version is more evocative and truly does justice to the lyrics. But now, instead of bloviating, I am going to make my voice heard in the poll, and so should you. It takes two clicks.
On the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock festival, I thought it would be appropriate to post a few songs that were played there. I’m not posting the Woodstock recordings, but studio versions of the songs. I recently acquired the original 3-LP Woodstock soundtrack for a mere $3 from a Salvation Army store. I only have the Woodstock recordings on LP, and I’m too cheap/lazy to buy it on CD or download the songs again.
So, 40 years on, what’s the big deal about Woodstock? There have been countless music festivals since, and several have attracted more fans than Woodstock. Music festivals today are designed to generate as much money as possible for the organizers and other vendors hawking their wares at festival sites. To be sure, the Woodstock festival was originally intended as a moneymaking venture as well, but the sheer mass of people converging unexpectedly on the site rendered ticket collection impossible. Also, some rather enterprising individuals cut the fences down, allowing people to walk right in. This ultimately made Woodstock about the music, instead of the dollar. Attending a music festival today, one is never allowed to forget that they are seen by the festival organizers as nothing more than a consumer, and that is truly unfortunate.
Also, Woodstock was pretty much the zenith of the hippie subculture. It was really all downhill from there. I’m reminded of a quote from The Simpsons, wherein a couple of old hippies reminisce about their VW Bus: “It was as if the Sixties ended the day we sold it, December 31st, 1969.” Woodstock being in August was in a way the beginning of the end of the Sixties.
Let us not forget that none of this music would have been possible without the invention of one recently deceased Les Paul.
Featuring Ray Manzarek on the Fender Rhodes. Since the Doors did not have a bass player, Manzarek normally played the basslines with his left hand on a Rhodes Bass Piano while playing melodies on a Vox Continental organ, but here he goes with the full-blown Rhodes and turns out a great solo.
Check out this video for a look at Manzarek’s usual setup, a blistering organ solo, and Jim Morrison’s likely drug-fueled stage antics.
A while back I posted the Buddy Holly version of this song. This is the Blind Faith cover. I like the original because the lyrics, which are beautiful, are easily heard. I like the Blind Faith version because Blind Faith is awesome.
Now, what does the above photo have to do with Blind Faith?
The band Live (ryhmes with jive) represents several firsts for me. This album, Throwing Copper, was the first album I ever acquired on CD. This song, “Selling the Drama,” was the first song of theirs that I heard on the radio, and subsequently made me a fan. Also, Live was the first band I saw in concert without parental supervision, on the Secret Samadhi tour, back when I was in eighth grade.
I still listen to Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi every few months, and every now and then one of their songs will pop into my head for no apparent reason. According to my last.fm page, I’ve listened to 51 tracks by the band over the past 12 months. Not bad for a band who I have not purchased a new album by in twelve years. I didn’t even know, for example, that they released an album in 2006 called Songs from Black Mountain, or a live album (that’s right, a live Live album) in November of last year.
I’ve always liked singer Ed Kowalczyk’s voice, and the thought-provoking lyrical content on Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi (I can’t speak for their newer albums). Plus, Live is one of the few bands that I listened to then that I still come back to today, which adds a nice bit of nostalgia for me. This must be what it feels like for my mom to listen to the Beatles today.
Well I’ve been away, folks, but I’m back. This “real life” thing sometimes gets in the way of blogging. I hope you all understand, and I hope you’ll stick with us.
Anyway, this is another standout track featuring the harmonica. The Butterfield Blues Band is perhaps best known as Bob Dylan’s backing band (sans Butterfield himself) at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, which was Dylan’s first performance using electric instruments.
I love Butterfield’s beefy, amplified harp sound. My only qualm with this album is that there’s not enough harmonica.
The Kinks: “The Contenders” from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One 
This is a killer harp riff. Just killer.
Wes Anderson mined this album for his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, which has been mentioned on this blog more than once. The Kinks are one of the most-cited bands on this blog, as a matter of fact, and this post continues our tradition of, um, Kinkiness?