40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm The 40th anniversary of Woodstock has, not surprisingly, given birth to a flurry of related products, ranging from CDs by associated artists to an extras-enhanced… 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm The 40th anniversary of Woodstock has, not surprisingly, given birth to a flurry of related products, ranging from CDs by associated artists to an extras-enhanced… 2009-08-11 Various Artists Rock
Music Review

40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm (2009)

Jimi Hendrix | TAKING 'STOCK Jimi Hendrix on stage at the legendary 1969 festival
Image credit: Henry Diltz/Rhino Entertainment
TAKING 'STOCK Jimi Hendrix on stage at the legendary 1969
 festival
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Aug 11, 2009; Lead Performance: Various Artists; Genre: Rock

The 40th anniversary of Woodstock has, not surprisingly, given birth to a flurry of related products, ranging from CDs by associated artists to an extras-enhanced DVD of Woodstock, the movie. For our money, the best bet is this six-CD box, containing approximately one-fifth of all the festival's music, much of it available for the first time in any format. Arranged chronologically, and featuring songs from almost every act that played (missing 
 in action: The Band and Ten Years After), 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm is a dandy primer and/or refresher course in why that mythic, muddy lovefest mattered, man.

A key selling point here is the trove of unreleased material, some of it — three tunes from folkie Bert Sommer, the Grateful Dead's beatific ''Dark Star'' — truly breathtaking. Given the mediocrity of many (though hardly all) of the performances from prior Woodstock releases, such gems easily make this the, uh, grooviest-ever distillation of that seminal event. Even so, we can already hear some grizzled completists complaining that Rhino didn't make good on its original plan to collect every scrap of the music on 30 CDs. Get real, tie-dyed daddies: They've gotta save something for the 50th-anniversary blowout, don't they? B

Download This: Listen to the song Woodstock Booogie by Canned Heat at last.fm

See all of this week's reviews

Originally posted Aug 05, 2009 Published in issue #1060 Aug 14, 2009 Order article reprints
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