- Audio CD (21 April 2003)
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Box set
- Label: Castle Communications
- ASIN: B00000AUQB
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,507 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
The Monterey International Pop Festival, June 16-17-18 1967 Box set
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+ Book - Long Box , - + Book - Long Box - .Label: Castle Communications.Published: 1994
Over a single weekend in June 1967, Monterey entered history as the very first rock festival. The paucity of official releases over the intervening years led to Monterey--like the Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus--becoming as much a figment of rock & roll myth as hard fact. Finally though, in 1994, the British company Castle Communications put together this beautifully assembled 4 CD box set. Unfortunately, some acts (Simon & Garfunkel, Grateful Dead)--perhaps feeling their performances were below-par--refused to license their material. But with over four hours of music, this set still presents a vivid snapshot of the event. For once, the packaging is as important as the music: a booklet is bound in, complete with memorabilia, previously unpublished photos, and first-hand reminiscences from performers like David Crosby, Dennis Hopper, Steve Miller, Eric Burdon and John Phillips.
The core of the music here remains the incendiary performances of three acts: the Who and Jimi Hendrix Experience, who both made their American debuts here, and Otis Redding, just a few months prior to his death. The Who and Hendrix were both scheduled to top the bill, so they flipped a coin to decide and the Who went on first. With the two bands determined to top each other, the tension is evident, even on disc; but it was Hendrix who just edged ahead with a blazing performance that reinforces his position as the best electric guitarist in rock history. Otis too pulled out all the stops ("I've Been Loving You Too Long", "Shake") for the peace and love crowd.
This was the moment when bands like Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Fish, the Steve Miller Band and The Beach Boys bitterly regretted turning down Monterey--realising, too late, that it could have helped them reach a new audience. The Beatles were keen to be there, but were busy with a little album called Sgt Pepper; and the Rolling Stones were in jail. Still, the weekend was a real watershed--marking the emergence of a new direction for rock & roll as well as paving the way for Woodstock two years later--and most of the music that made Monterey so special can be heard on this box-set, which stands as an object lesson in how to commemorate such an important event. Big Brother & The Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) made their first real impact, and there are generous excerpts from those performances. But the festival was also about musical diversity, and acts such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masekela, Booker T & The MGs and Lou Rawls can be heard amid the stirrings of rock & roll revolution. --Patrick Humphries
Top customer reviews
First and foremost it's a historical document, charting the rise of the bands and personalities who really broke big in the US because of their performances - primarily Hendrix, Joplin, the Who. But this also includes the frankly unlikely figure of Ravi Shankar, who went on to play Woodstock to far less effect two years later.
Secondly, it sorts out who can play and who cannot. You get to hear 1967 pop morphing - somewhat reluctantly- into rock, and the bands who get caught out in the middle, all tinny guitars and off-key harmonies.
There are some shockers here - especially the Byrds set, but taking in the reverential rhythmn blues rehashes of Canned Heat, Butterfield Blues Band, the Blues Project and the like.
But for me the real and unexpected highlights are two bands now largely forgotten by history - the Mamas and the Papas and Jefferson Airplane. The Mamas and the Papas sound gorgeous, and Cass Elliot's wry and self deprecating stage banter a delight. The Airplane always walked the thin line between ragged vocal work and inspired jamming, but here they really catch fire. Grace Slick's voice is in tune and on target. Awesome! If you need any more convincing check out Lou Rawls, too. Oh yes, you're going to have fun with this one. And guess what ? It has a live version of "if you're going to San Francisco.." (and yes, the man could sing! )