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: