Jefferson Airplane
Johnny Winter
The Woodstock Experience
The Woodstock Experience

Release Date: June 30, 2009
(JA) Produced by: Andy Zax (Al Schmitt)
(JW) Jerry Rappaport (Johnny Winter)
Format: 2CD



Matt Rowe


The mass of attention that is being lavished upon the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Woodstock is nothing short of amazing.  The original Woodstock was an unparalleled event that has the heart of Rock's formative years going for it, something that no other event, no matter how large, can hold claim to.  There are many Woodstock offerings currently offered (with some still in the works) including the re-mastered film, as well as a few respectful collections marking the greatness of 1969's Woodstock at Max Yasgur's farm.

Legacy  Records has assembled  2CD sets, series warmly named The Woodstock Experience, for five titles that include not only the complete performance(s) for each band, but also a remastered album from the band's catalog that was recorded and/or released in 1969, the year of Woodstock.  For this review, I have Jefferson Airplane, and Johnny Winter.  There are also Sly and The Family Stone, Janis Joplin, and Santana.

Each set comes with a sturdy cardboard box.  Within each box  is a fold-out 16" x 24" poster, one side with a colour shot (by Shelly Rustin)of a pan of the crowd in daytime, a shot that easily underscores the immensity of the gathering.  The other side is unique to the band in that it is a photo shot of the band/artist in stage performance.  These shots, particularly the Woodstock gathering side, begs for framing, and will be on my wall, at least, as soon as I can procure a suitable frame.  The Rustin shot is highlighted by the familiar Woodstock logo as well as the dates of the event. 

Each album is inserted into a mini-LP format jacket with a sleeve protecting the CD.  The two sets that I have (Jefferson Airplane/Johnny Winter) contain, respectively, Volunteers for the JA set, and the S/T Johnny Winter album for the Johnny Winter set.  Both have been re-mastered, a selling point that strengthen the desire for these albums.  Both have exhibit excellent sound, even though results may vary for the more discerning audiophile.  However, the real gems here are the second discs that assemble the complete Woodstock performance(s) of each band/artist.  The Jefferson Airplane set is handled differently than some as their performances encompassed 13 songs.  You'll find the first part (6 tracks including the previously unissued 20-second Introduction) after the Volunteers album on Disc One, while the second part (8 tracks) takes up Disc Two.  You won't be disappointed with the full set as there are the expected “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit,” and “Volunteers.”  But you also have the excellent opener track, “The Other Side of This Life,” as well as “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds,” and “Wooden Ships.”  All songs will please you regardless and it's wonderful to have them.

The Johnny Winter album contains his complete 8-track  set from his undocumented (film and subsequent soundtracks) Sunday (Aug 17, 1969) performance, including jaw-dropping performances of “Mama, Talk to Your Daughter,” “Johnny B Goode,” “Tobacco Road,” “Mean Town Blues,” and four other incendiary renditions from the largely unknown (at the time) band.  7 of the 8 performance tracks have been previously unissued with the exception of “Mean Town Blues.”  All songs unveil the genius of this under-rated guitarist.

Needless to say, the entire series should be desirable to true fans of Woodstock, AND to fans of the individual bands and artists represented by these sets.  In that, they become essential.  While I haven't yet collected the remaining albums in this series, I am sure they replicate the impact of these reviewed titles.  Each set is collectible as they are Limited Editions and are numbered. 

Whatever your stance on Woodstock, these series only scratch the surface of the event.  I would love to see licensed series work for several other artists including Ten Years After, Canned Heat, and more.  I would be prepared to buy the entire library set.









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212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

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