CSNY, Folk

Covers Week: Joni Mitchell/Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Woodstock

The one song that epitomised Woodstock was just inspired by the festival and was not based on a first hand account. Back in those days, they didn’t even have cell phones so it wasn’t even possible for Graham Nash, then boyfriend of Joni Mitchell, to call her and scream “Yaaaaaaaaa! Woodstock!” and then send her a video of Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” which would actually be a video of a guy videoing Jimi with his iPad. Yes, festivals were different in those days…

The story goes that Joni’s manager thought that appearing on the The Dick Cavett Show  on 19 August 1969 (a day after Woodstock) would be better for her career than to perform at the festival. Oddly enough, David Crosby and Stephen Stills came straight from the festival to the show for the recording. Her manager did have a bit of a point as Jimi Hendrix  was scheduled to appear on the show but couldn’t due to the delay of his set. Anyway, because of some major FOMO, she penned the song based on the images broadcast on TV and descriptions retold by Graham Nash presumably whilst they were lying in bed after he had five showers to get rid of the stench. Speaking of which, many of the audience members on the show came straight from Woodstock. Man, that set must have had a rather pungent odour!

Maybe its just my imagination or bias but in this acoustic rendition (which is how she first envisaged the song) you can hear that she really hated that she missed the concert. How beautiful is her voice? Seriously?

On 31 October 1970, the song hit #1 in the UK and stayed there for three weeks until Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Child” kicked it off. But this time it was done by the band Matthews Southern Comfort. This was their only real big hit. It does sound like a stoner hippy song. The video is a pretty cool vignette of shots from Woodstock. Think of this as a bonus video for the day.

Anyway, Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) took the song and made it into the modern classic that we all know and love. Starting with the heroic guitar riff of Stephen Stills into the melodic intertwining that they excelled at. Its a song that makes you feel you went to Woodstock. You feel the peace and love. It’s all so beautiful. I personally think its one of the greatest songs ever sung.

CSNY, Folk, Rock, Uncategorized

Neil Young – Sugar Mountain

Sugar Mountain” is the one song that pops into my head when the name Neil Young is thrown about. Oddly enough, its a song that’s not on the phenomenal “Harvest” album. It actually was first included on his greatest hits album entitled “Decade.”

Is the song about drugs? Well apparently not. He wrote it when he was 19 and its a lament  to his youth which was fading away. It’s so easy to get into it and make it your own as you remember your sugar mountain.

The song is so gentle and soothing. It just feels great. Even at 19, he showcased this utter brilliance which would last 35 studio albums (yes, he released 35 albums including two in 2012) and beyond…

CSNY, Folk, Rock

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – American Dream

So Obama won a second term. And that speech made ME proud to be American. Yes, I do know that I am not an American. But it really was that good. Elections are pretty entertaining in the USA but I guess its necessarily hyped up because of the structure of the country. I truly love it though and do wish we had that much of excitement with South African elections. I do think the vibe here in 1994 was WAY better.

This song is by my favourite (super) band: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They will feature prominently here in the future. This song is a bit of a parody and is the title track of their 1988 reunion album. Sadly, the album was panned by critics. I still love them for what they released prior to this. I actually like this song a lot.