36. stand + you can make it if you try

“This live Sly + the Family Stone double shot comes from the awkwardly titled monster The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies: Isle of Wight / Atlanta Pop Festival which is one of those albums I inherited because nobody else wanted it – from my friend Carl who’d previously grabbed it from his older brother’s discard pile. Six sides of this and that including Johnny Winter, Poco, The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, even some Miles Davis. I guess the whole was less than sum of its parts. I say ‘guess’ because I lost track of everything but the middle two sides a long time ago – the Procol Harum, Ten Years After, David Bromberg, Cactus and Sly and The Family Stone sides, all from the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival (Britain’s Woodstock if you believe the hype, but history seems to argue it was a little more contentious than that).

Anyway, the one thing that is clear is just how f***ing brilliant Sly and his crowd were at that point. The best band on the planet? Maybe. Because to my mind (and soul) it’s powerful evidence of what Hunter S Thompson was talking about, 1971 sometime, that psychedelic morning in Las Vegas when he looked to the west toward San Francisco and saw just how far the great waves of love and evolution had reached before, sadly, tragically, inevitably, they achieved their high water point, and thus began their great retreat. Because the 1960s were nothing if not a wild and unprecedented ocean storm — not just one lone rogue wave taking out a some unsuspecting picnickers, but a sustained, relentless, committed storm, one wave after another, ebbing and flowing, always creeping further inland, going for the heart of the beast that was America (etc). Because we do need to remember this stuff, how free things can get, and it’s seldom ever been as free as a Sly And The Family Stone rave-up, live or in the studio, women and men of all races, creeds, making their stand, not fighting the power so much as grooving right on through it, confident as f*** they’d make it they just never stopped trying. At least until the drugs wore off.” (Philip Random)

(image source)

160. 1969

“1969 is the highest Stooges track on the list because I only have the one album and I’ve got to assume everybody’s already heard I Wanna Be Your Dog. Which isn’t to diminish 1969, it’s solid and raw all the way. It was the year of Woodstock, the year we all got back to the garden apparently, but Iggy wasn’t seeing it that way. He just saw war across the USA, and another year with nothing to do, except maybe get the ball rolling on inventing so-called punk rock.” (Philip Random)

Stooges-1969-live

(Photo: Glen Craig)

340. no opportunity necessary, no experience required

Yes covered this on one of their first albums, had some big widescreen fun with it. But Richie Havens‘ original is rawer, cooler, better. And it felt very much in sync with my times when I finally found it, twenty years after the fact, 1998, a freebie at the dog end of a yard sale. Decades may pass but there’s still no opportunity necessary, no experience required. Whatever that even means.” (Philip Random)

RichieHavens-1968

401. every step of the way

“Because there had to be some Santana on this list. Might as well go with the biggest, wildest, livest thing I’ve got. Because the force of nature known as Carlos Santana always sounded best to me live, from stealing the show at Woodstock (for a while anyway) to conquering Japan in 1974 with maybe the hottest band on the planet. I only wish I’d actually known about Every Step of the Way at the time. Would’ve allowed me to destroy all comers in all those stupid yet essential who’s-the-fastest-guitarist arguments we seemed to need to have in Grade Ten.” (Philip Random)

Santana-1974-live

624. give peace a chance

In which Joe Cocker and crowd unleash the other Give Peace A Chance – the one that brings down the house toward the end of maybe the greatest hippie movie ever made.  No, not Woodstock. There was too much mud, way too many people.  Mad Dogs + Englishmen had a tighter focus, which was a useful thing in those rather wasted days.  Just one hot band (a big one mind you) and the wild and colourful tale of their one and only tour together. That’s Leon Russell in the top hat by the way, the maestro holding it all together.

LeonRussel+JoeCocker

625. volunteers

Call Volunteers (the song) Jefferson Airplane‘s punk rock moment, a short, sharp revved up call for genuine revolution at a time when such actually seemed possible. That is, if your hair was long and your soul experienced, and you were one of maybe four hundred thousand standing out in a muddy field one August morning in 1969 between downpours. Volunteers (the album) isn’t half band either.

JeffersonAirplane-Woodstock