Keef Hartley and Woodstock

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A band I did particularly like in the late 60s was The Keef Hartley Band, this because my friend Steve had their album The Battle of North West Six – though it might have been his older brother’s – and the one stand-out track for me which was Not Foolish, Not Wise, especially its wah-wah guitar solo [which is alternatively a sax solo, perhaps on the/a single release*]. Otherwise it was the horn section that gave it real rock punch, rawer so than either Blood, Sweat and Tears or Chicago which had their various refinements and sophistications compared with Harley’s narrower British blues rock. * The next day, and I’m listening to the album, and researching: the album track that I have has the sax solo, which is Jim Jewel [interesting as Chris Mercer also plays] so I have no idea where I recall the guitar wah-wah solo.

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I didn’t know the band played Woodstock because they didn’t appear in the film nor in the subsequent album and many updates which appeared after and ever since. I’m sure I have since picked up on this fact but forgotten.

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Until now. The release of Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive set of 10 discs covering all the performances includes the first ever – apparently – full recording of The Keef Hartley Band set Halfbreed Medley which runs at a superb 17 minutes. There is a small offering of around 9 minutes on YouTube from fan recordings but these are pretty basic so listening to this brand new offering just now has been great fun.

Yes, I will be especially celebrating Woodstock when it is officially 50 years old on the 15th of this month. And yes, I believed in all its peace and love then [15 years old] and am quite content to revel in that nostalgic hopefulness, not least when considering – ironically, I know – how the world has panned out. No need to elaborate on the reality of this.

I am listening as I type to Disc 3 to eventually happen upon the Hartley again which also means I am currently into the John Sebastian set, a performance where he is quite likely tripping and saying groovy/far out/far around/far down/far up with a wonderful heartfelt naivety and many attending colours and it doesn’t phase me one little bit.

Cloth house is all you need if you’ve got love.

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