Saturday, July 16, 2011

song of the week 25: crosby stills nash & young - woodstock

I've just been watching a BBC Four documentary about music in Los Angeles in the early seventies. There's something odd about the way I find some of these songs particularly evocative of the period. Odd because, although I did listen to them, a long time ago, this would have been a few years after their release. I would probably have been hitting my own "Me Decade" round about the time the Sex Pistols were making front page news.

There are maybe four albums in particular which bring on this strangeness: Joni Mitchell's Blue, Carole King's Tapestry, James Taylor's Greatest Hits and, most of all, Deja Vu by Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

To be honest these are artists I tend to airbrush out of my history in certain company. I used to own a lot of this music but much was culled from my record collection in the anti-singer-songwriter purge of, I don't know, probably 1986 or thereabouts when I'd decided to adopt some kind of post-punk/indie affectation. In latter years I've come to terms with my past predilections for massively unfashionable music.

For the benefit of younger readers, this song commemorates the landmark Woodstock music festival of 1969 and was recorded by three artists at the time, each version interesting in its own way: Joni Mitchell of course wrote it and included it on her 1970 Ladies of the Canyon album. Matthews Southern Comfort (starring ex-Fairport Convention vocalist Iain Matthews) took it into the UK Top 40, their only hit in a short-lived career. This is the version which appeared on the LA supergroup's aforementioned Deja Vu album of 1970:

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