Battle of the Bands – Woodstock

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It’s time for another Battle of the Bands and today I’m featuring covers of the song Woodstock. Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

Although the original is by Joni Mitchell, probably the best known version is by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). Here is their version, for reference only. They are not contenders in today’s battle.

The first contender is Joni Mitchell, who did the original version.

Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told by a manager that it would be more advantageous for her to appear on The Dick Cavett Show. She wrote it in a hotel room in New York City, watching televised reports of the festival. “The deprivation of not being able to go provided me with an intense angle on Woodstock,” she told an interviewer shortly after the event. David Crosby, interviewed for the documentary Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind, stated that Mitchell had captured the feeling and importance of the Woodstock festival better than anyone who had been there.

The lyrics tell a story about a spiritual journey to Max Yasgur’s farm, the place of the festival, and makes prominent use of religious imagery, comparing the festival place with the Garden of Eden (“…and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”). The saga commences with the narrator’s encounter of a fellow traveler (“Well, I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road”) and concludes at their ultimate destination (“by the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong…”). There are also references to the Vietnam War (“bombers flying shotgun in the sky”). (Source: Wikipedia)

The next contender is Eva Cassidy.

Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country, rock and pop classics. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album titled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, D.C., when she died of melanoma in 1996.

Four years later, Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her versions of “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow” were played by Mike Harding and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow”, taken at Blues Alley in Washington by her friend Bryan McCulley, was shown on BBC Two’s Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide; her posthumously released recordings, including three UK number 1 records, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. (Source: Wikipedia).

Here is her version of Woodstock:

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why?

And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

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30 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – Woodstock

  1. Hi, MIchele! The version of “Woodstock” that I remember best is the international hit recording by Englishman Iain Matthews and his band Matthews Southern Comfort. The two versions in this battle are somewhat similar and while I enjoyed the purity and simplicity of songwriter Joni Mitchell’s recording, I am voting for Eva Cassidy. I was enchanted by Eva’s angelic voice and the haunting quality of her version which seems to have benefited from the use of a recording studio echo chamber. Eva was a lovely young woman and fine singer and it is sad to know that she died at the age of 33. Thank you, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning Shady! Did you enjoy getting an extra hour last night?? I’ve never heart the int’l version by Iain Matthews. I’ll have to go check it out. Stand by…
      I just went and checked it out. It is very good! Different. Thanks for turning me on to it. And thanks for your vote for Eva. Yes, a tragic loss, so young.
      Have a great Sunday…

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  2. This is a tough choice as both artists are singing in the realm of a similar style. I think this easy style fits the song better than the CSN&Y version.

    I’ve always found Joni’s voice to be somewhat piercing for my ears so though I like her interpretations of songs they sometimes annoy me. Eva’s voice is easier for me to listen to and I really enjoyed that lone guitar accompaniment. That version had a wonderfully ethereal effect.

    I’m surprising myself as I’ve always liked Joni’s version. but this time around I have to vote for Eva Cassidy.

    Excellent pairing.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to occasionally pit the original up against another version. I found the backstory of Joni’s version really interesting. Thanks for your vote Lee. I have you down for Eva.

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  3. Tough battle, Michele! Two amazing talents here. (Coincidentally, Eva was also featured in Robin’s battle, with a different song.) Both versions are haunting and lilting. Joni’s I’m more familiar with, but honestly, Eva’s voice was better. May she RIP. Such a tragic loss! Please give my vote to Eva Cassidy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew it was going to be a tough battle because they are fairly similar. I’ve got you down for Eva Cassidy. Heading over to Robin’s battle to check out the other Eva song. How fun!

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  4. Michele, Thanks for stopping by this morning and voting. Funny, I don’t remember this song at all. I have heard of both contenders; after listening to them I think I prefer the simplistic sound of the original original; it moved me more than the popular Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and contender # 2’s cover. Please give my vote to Joni Mitchell. Nice battle!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a shame that Eva Cassidy passed away so young and that she was not as well known in her own country because her voice is beautiful. It is ethereal and dream-like. I have to give to Joni Mitchell though because her voice is fuller and just suits this song more…to me anyway. Joni Mitchell gets my vote

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so sad that all her recognition came post-humously. Very sad. She indeed has a gorgeous voice. Thanks for your vote. I gotcha down for Joni Mitchell…

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  6. I must vote for Joni Mitchell because she wrote the song, and I have always found her soprano voice haunting. As a soprano, I love singing along with her. Eve Cassidy seems a little whispery and breathy to me.

    Love,
    Janie

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  7. I started with Eva’s version, as I know Joni’s well. Eva did a great job and I love the guitar accompaniment. I’m not a real big fan of Joni’s music and not a fan at all of her personal life, BUT, when it comes to Woodstock she owns this song. IMO, her version captures everything about the time, event and feelings of Woodstock. I have to give credit where credit is due (IMO) this is Joni’s song and she owns it.

    Any doubt about my vote?

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    • There are several that feel the same way as Joni has received several votes. But so has Eva so this may end up being a close one. Thanks for your vote FAE!

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  8. Well, you already know I like Eva Cassidy. This battle is actually not the first time I’ve featured her on BoTB. This is actually the third time (for me). She lost the first two battles (Time After Time and Autumn Leaves). However, she had my vote in both of those battles.

    What I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Eva is that acoustic guitar. She breaks a song down so that it’s just her voice and the guitar. The fact that both are beautiful makes it a lovely combo.

    Joni’s version is compelling. I can’t say that I think her voice is beautiful (in the same sense I find Eva’s voice to be beautiful), but it is insistent. So, I really do like this version of the song.

    However, I think I’d listen to Eva’s version more often, simply because I love her voice and that guitar. So give Eva Cassidy my vote on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is the second battle I’ve seen Eva Cassidy used. I wasn’t able to choose her in that battle and in this battle she’s up against Joni Mitchell. So it’s going to be a tough decision. I thought about this for awhile and listened to both a second time. I think I actually do like Eva better than Joni, so place my vote that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John. Another vote for Joni. I LOVE CSNY’s version though, even better than Joni’s or Eva’s. I’m just a huge CSNY fan so I’m biased. 🙂

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  10. Howdy, MICHELE ~
    I learned something new here: I always thought the CSN&Y version was the original. Didn’t know they were covering a Joni Mitchell song. But, the CSN&Y cover is by far – head and shoulders! – better’n any other.

    Hey, Woodstock was a celebration. It was a massive party. So, the song should have some life to it, don’tcha think? Shouldn’t it be upbeat, shouldn’t it be lively? And if we consider the Spiritual imagery – equating it with the Garden of Eden… well, I imagine a literally perfect place like Eden had to have been a pretty joyous place to be (until Adam and Eve ate the roasted and salted peanuts in the shell… or the persimmons… or whatever it was they ate from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then got das boot).

    So how come Joni and Eva sing the song like it’s a funeral dirge? CSN&Y had the right idea (and tempo) for this song. But between the two legitimate contenders in this Battle, my vote definitely goes to (Adam and) EVA.

    Primarily because Joni’s high-pitched warbling and caterwauling really starts getting on my nerves pretty quickly. I’ve heard cat fights that were in a lower register.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! You’re so funny Stephen. But yes, I totally agree: the CSNY version definitely depicts the mass celebration that was Woodstock! And I like their version best for sure. Thanks for stopping by and voting. I have you down for Miss Eva…
      Have a great week…

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  11. I’m *finally* here! Not sure how long internet will hold, so I’ll make it fast… This one was tough, Michele. Both versions are pretty close to each other; the voice, the arrangement, the general feel. But, in the end… going with Eva on this one. Maybe her story has something to do with it (dead so young, with such a promising career ahead of her still). Maybe it’s because Joni has a tendency to veer too far off into etherealness and otherworldly-ness (for me)… Not sure. But Eva’s would be the version I’d be most likely to listen to by choice. Sorry, Joni. You do rock. Just… Eva won me over.

    Great battle!
    Guilie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Guilie, Good to see you here! Another vote for Eva. Yes, her story is sad, isn’t it? There was another battle, Robin’s, who featured Eva too.
      I’m really enjoying your book! I LOVE the relationship that is developing between Luis and Al the dog! Wonderful!!!
      talk soon…

      Like

      • I’m so, so happy to hear you’re enjoying it… Yeah, the relationship with Al was a challenge to convey, especially in such short pieces (wish I’d had more “room” to get into it more), but it’s my favorite part… And it makes me so happy to hear it works from someone who knows dogs and has experience with them. Thank you! And looking forward to talking more about this on the 28th, too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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