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Soul Sacrifice
May 7, 2007 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Michael Shrieve just a month after his nineteenth birthday played his part in putting Carlos Santana on the road to fame and fortune. Richie Havens wasn't too shabby as first up act. Might as well include Alvin Lee. Three of the best Woodstock moments. All Utoob.
posted by johnny7 (29 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, man, Richie Havens was so great back then. Like a man in a trance, while performing. Loved his voice, and his intensity.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:10 AM on May 7, 2007


I love Alvin Lee. I saw him open (Alvin Lee and Company) for Black Sabbath once. With Ron Wood playing rhythm guitar no less. And some huge Jamaican Rastafari on bass.
posted by vronsky at 12:18 AM on May 7, 2007


Shrieve had just turned 20.
posted by johnny7 at 1:04 AM on May 7, 2007


Nice; those are exactly my favorite performances from Woodstock. (The film, at least. I wasn't born in time for the actual concert.) Can't forget the Jimi, though.
posted by flod at 1:45 AM on May 7, 2007


I saw Alvin Lee a couple of times as well -- first time with Ten Years After at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in 1971. He was everything I hate about prog rock. Somebody trying to sing the blues who totally misses the point -- it becomes an exercise in technical wankery, with all the emotional content completely evacuated.

Unlike Janis, whose voice was all over the place, but who was all about the emotional content.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:49 AM on May 7, 2007


Can't forget the Jimi, though.

Absolutely. Respect the classics, maaaaaan!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:00 AM on May 7, 2007


Add it really was something, Shrieve being that young and that good, and playing at Woodstock with Santana fer chrissakes. He's just a baby in that video! He's a member of a fairly elite club, actually, folks who've been part of some amazing music at such a young age. Stevie Winwood comes to mind, as does Tony Williams, the amazing jazz drummer who worked with Miles and Dolphy when he was only 17/18 years old. And of course, Stevie Wonder, in a league all his own...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:10 AM on May 7, 2007


Richie Havens... incredible. Santana as well. Now he's playing pop tunes with Michelle Branch. Very sad. I wonder if Hendrix would be doing the same had he lived.

My personal favorite Woodstock moment: Joe Cocker - Let's Go Get Stoned

Also noteworthy, Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
posted by psmealey at 3:37 AM on May 7, 2007


Richie Havens was so great back then

He still has it. I saw him Saturday playing a local festival. He was great. The audience was a mix of a few older folks but mostly college students. "Motherless Child" brought down the house. For a guy who is pushing 70 he can still play a mean guitar.
posted by caddis at 3:57 AM on May 7, 2007


That Santana clip is amazing - I wonder who that blonde woman rocking out in the crowd is, about 6:10 in?

What amazes me is how this whole culture had emerged out of nowhere, practically fully formed, in just 5 or so years. And we're still, in all of our musical scenes and cultures, more or less a part of that.
I mean, we could go back to that Sanatana show and the music, and the people would all be familiar to us - nothing would be out of the ordinary. But if we were plonked down in a concert of 6 or 7 years previous - Roy Orbison say - it would all be utterly alien.
posted by Flashman at 4:54 AM on May 7, 2007


I saw Michael Wadleigh's (edited by Scorsese) Woodstock documentary/concert film for the first time earlier this year. I think I had expected it to be rife with a bunch of hippy dippy self-indulgent bullshit, which is why I had put off viewing it for so many years. In truth, it does have some of that, but it mostly is a pretty terrific account of a phenomenon that took place over three days in 1969.

Beyond the interesting social aspects -- kids growing up out of the oppressive conformity of the 1940s and 50s trying to spread their wings, and seeming pretty clueless about what the hell to do -- the thing that really blew me away was the performance aspect of it. From Richie Havens to the Jefferson Airplane to Canned Heat to Janis to Joe Cocker all the way through to the Hendrix finale, every artist just knew how to perform the fuck out of their material. It was incredibly stirring, and I felt instantly sad that few bands performing today's made for video world of music really have that same fire.

I know in saying that, I risk sounding like a reactionary ass, but take it from someone who's dissed hippies and their stupid, endless, drum-circle masturbatory jammy music culture for my entire life, these guys knew how to put on a show.

If you haven't seen the film, I encourage you to check it out. It pretty much rocks, start to finish.
posted by psmealey at 5:07 AM on May 7, 2007


few bands performing today's made for video world of music really rarely have that same fire.
posted by psmealey at 5:10 AM on May 7, 2007


few bands performing today's made for video world of music really have that same fire.

This is an interesting issue I've been thinking about a bit/debating with my brother.

While it definitely seems that times have changed, I wonder if there's really a lack of soulful music, or if it's just that we no longer have the same kind of cultural focus. That is, the good stuff is out there, it's just awash in a sea of bland music "product".

Fred Goodman's book _The Mansion on the Hll_ is a fascinating account of the marketing of youth culture/rock n roll that skyrocketed not long after Woodstock.

As a (very) side issue. . . has anyone else noticed a preponderance of terrible sound engineering/mixing at the shows they've been seeing? This has been driving me crazy. Of the four humongous concerts I've been to in NYC in the last couple years, approximately one had good sound.
posted by flotson at 5:20 AM on May 7, 2007


Random trivia: the Richie Havens song, Handsome Johnny, was co-written by future Oscar winner, Louis Gossett, Jr.
posted by jonp72 at 5:58 AM on May 7, 2007


take it from someone who's dissed hippies and their stupid, endless, drum-circle masturbatory jammy music culture for my entire life, these guys knew how to put on a show.

The drum-circling freedom-dancers are neo-hippies, who are generaly insipid. The original 60's hippies were a different kettle of fish altogether. This article delineates the difference.
posted by jonmc at 6:02 AM on May 7, 2007


Fair enough, jonmc. I am too young to remember actual 60s hippies, so I came to consider the neo variety pretty closely related. From my own time out west in the 90s, the annoying, sanctimonious freedom dancers I encountered there were certainly old enough to have actually been the real thing.
posted by psmealey at 6:11 AM on May 7, 2007


Fair enough, jonmc. I am too young to remember actual 60s hippies, so I came to consider the neo variety pretty closely related.

You must have some uncles or maybe an old boss who was into the original scene. Consult with them or hang out in a biker bar. My wife's brother (recently deceased, RIP bro) was a hard-case ex-con outlaw biker with a distinct resemblance to the actor Sam Elliot. First time we met he browsed through my vinyl, and the first record he pulled out? Workingman's Dead, which once you wipe the associations away is actually a really good country-rock record.
posted by jonmc at 6:28 AM on May 7, 2007


(there's also a documentary about the Hells Angels that features Jerry and Merle Sauders playing an Angels party and a hilarious interview with Jerry afterwards.)
posted by jonmc at 6:45 AM on May 7, 2007


He's just a baby in that video!

According to the Wiki, Shrieve — 47 days younger than me — was the youngest performer at Woodstock. But don't forget that Carlos Santana himself had only just turned 22. He also looks amazingly young there.

Definitely (except for maybe the Hendrix) the highlight of the movie, both the music and the way it was filmed; I should have stuck around one more day at Woodstock to see it live. (We got there — after walking nine miles in — in the middle of all the folk stuff on Friday: Country Joe, John Sebastian, Sweetwater, and didn't feel much like hanging out all day in the mob scene just to see people like Melanie and Joan Baez. So we went camping in the Poconos instead, had a great time, but missed the chance to starve, get sick, roll around in the mud, etc.)

And yes, Michael Shrieve does a nice job on that song — I love the way bassist David Brown stands watching him, 3:45 in, nodding his head — but don't forget the guys without the sticks in their hands. Arguably, Santana would have been (almost) as good a band without anybody on the drum kit, the way Michael Carabello and Jose ’Chepito’ Areas drive the music.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2007


What, no Pete Townshend?
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:52 AM on May 7, 2007


"You must have some uncles or maybe an old boss who was into the original scene. Consult with them or hang out in a biker bar.'

Yup, jon nailed it for me. Much older sis and her then husband turned me on to all that stuff. I remember going through a flea market with him once and going through all the record collections for sale. Leslie West solo? Get it! Steppenwolf and Jerry Lee Lewis? Quicksilver Messenger Service? Buy 'em. I still have all those old records somewhere. And the music still holds up.

I remember she had an old clothes hamper filled with several years worth of Mad magazines too. I used to borrow them 10 at a time. And "Steal This Book" by Abby Hoffman on her shelf. She was a cool older sis.
posted by vronsky at 8:12 AM on May 7, 2007


That drum solo has always captivated me...ever since i saw the woodstock documentary as a kid. Soul Sacrifice will always be my favorite performance of woodstock...
posted by schyler523 at 9:18 AM on May 7, 2007


Amazing, awesome post. If memory serves, Neal Schon joined Santana at age 17, and went on to form a short-lived band with Michael Shrieve, Kenny Aaronson and Sammy Hagar (?!). More than the question of why or if there are such soulful artists around today (I think there are), I wonder why we don't see the kinds of crazy arty supergroups today that we had in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Sure, there are a few projects here and there, but it doesn't seem as prevalent as it once was.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on May 7, 2007


The World Famous writes "I wonder why we don't see the kinds of crazy arty supergroups today that we had in the 60s, 70s and 80s"

Different approach, post-'60s fallout, etc. Read the story behind the band Journey (who also featured Schon) for some insight ... I'm glad we've moved away from that. There are still some monster collaborations, but it's mostly artist-driven now, not producer-driven.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:46 AM on May 7, 2007


psmealey writes "the thing that really blew me away was the performance aspect of it ... every artist just knew how to perform the fuck out of their material."

Well, except the Dead, who had issues with electric grounding and said in later interviews that every time they touched the strings, they'd get a shock ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:59 AM on May 7, 2007


Well, except the Dead, who had issues with electric grounding and said in later interviews that every time they touched the strings, they'd get a shock ...

It was all in their minds, dude.
posted by The World Famous at 12:03 PM on May 7, 2007


Well, except the Dead

Are there a few different versions of the film in release? The version I saw didn't have any Dead in it. Not that I mind not seeing the Dead (I really, really don't... at all), but I'm curious of there's a place where more concert footage is available. For example, in the film version, Joe Cocker sings "With a Little Help from My Friends,", but the youtube link I posted is the Ray Charles cover "Let's go get Stoned". Any idea where that might ahve come form?
posted by psmealey at 12:41 PM on May 7, 2007


psmealey writes "Are there a few different versions of the film in release? The version I saw didn't have any Dead in it."

No, the film doesn't have them. But they weren't happy with their performance, so ...

There are tapes available in trading circles, however, which I assume are not from the soundboard. I don't know about film of their performance.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:46 PM on May 7, 2007


My friends and I walked into Woodstock during Santana’s set, and stayed for a little more than 24 hours... wide awake the whole time. That was the first year I grew pot in the woods and I sold a small trash can full of wet green leaf to get ticket money that I never needed, and nobody passed me a joint the whole time I was there, and I could have cared less about that. But I don’t know how. It was fantastic

The high point for me was the Jefferson Airplane after the lull before sunrise. We meandered into a nice spot in front of the stage. Then there was the Airplane, and the sun rising behind Grace Slicks head. “Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups... now you will see morning maniac music.”

We missed all the mud. When we were walking out it was still hot and sunny, and the White Lake white folks had their garden hoses out selling the hippies water for a quarter a cup, but the Hasidic Jews were undercutting them. They were giving it away.

The thing that really rankles me is they way the hippie thing has been trivialized, with lot of smart, talented people being painted as clowns. George Bush is my age. What was he doing in the summer of 69, and who’s the clown?
posted by Huplescat at 6:33 PM on May 7, 2007


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