Razor & Tie, in conjunction with Starbucks Entertainment, issues a well-timed 2CD set of performances that celebrate one of history’s great musical moments, the Monterey International Pop Festival. The set is filled to capacity with 26 songs, three of which make their first appearances, having been previously unreleased. The cover art sports the loud, colorful art of that era with a 4-page written flashback from Andrew Loog Oldham in a 16-page booklet, also filled with photos.
The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, held in San Francisco, and put together by Bill Graham, was an historic, 3-day event that displayed as much talent as could be placed on a shared stage. And there was change in the air, distinct and fervent. That change was heard in the music, felt in the people, and communicated and exchanged by both. With artists like The Byrds, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Simon and Garfunkel, and a whole lot of others like Electric Flag, The Monterey International Pop Festival, became an event that will be remembered forever.
This album begins with “Along Came Mary” by The Association, moves through 2 previously unreleased cuts by Simon & Garfunkel (“Homeward Bound,” “Sounds of Silence”), “Down on Me,” and “Ball and Chain” by Big Brother & The Holding Company, featuring a dynamo by the name of Janis Joplin and some tunes by Hugh Masakela, The Electric Flag, Country Joe & The Fish, and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The first disc ends with 2 from The Byrds (“Chimes of Freedom,” “So You Wanna be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.”)
The second disc contains songs by Jefferson Airplane, Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, Buffalo Springfield (whose “For What It’s Worth” is the album’s other previously unreleased live cut), The Who, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mamas & the Papas, and a performance of the era-defining “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie. All of the performances are excellent and sound great.
One of the amazing things about this show is that all of the artists performed for free, donating their fees to what would become the Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation (MIPFF). MIPFF is a not-for-profit organization established for music-related, personal development in mental and physical health. MIPFF will benefit financially from the sales of this CD set as well. This is an excellent CD set to pick up. The sound is fantastic, the selection great, and it is full of memories of a different time.
Watch for the VH1 Monterey special to be aired on June 16, exactly 40 years later from the actual event. The music of those days was truly something special; and this set brings some of that back home.