Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Woodstock

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music

Indulge me, please, the musings of a 68-year-old baby boomer. Aging sucks. Like you needed me to tell you, right? I’m not just talking about our knees, shoulders, fingers, hairlines and waistlines; sagging, spotted skin; sore hips, fatty livers, and forgetfulness; and the terrible knowledge that our physical discomfort notwithstanding, our time on this earth is dwindling. Neither am I just talking about the psychic damage of getting older, in particular loss: of seeing friends, family, and spouses pass, or heaven forbid, children and grandchildren predecease us. There are times when I do wonder how we “elderly” (legally defined as someone 65 years and older) manage to simply cope with accumulated grief. Now, we tell ourselves – rightly, I think – that in exchange for our losses and increasingly irksome bodies and memories, our life experience gifts us with wisdom. We come to realize that nothing is simple; that nothing is black and white; that good and evil are relative concepts; that nothing is forever and all we can really count on is change. Unfortunately, it is my experience that this “wisdom” often verges into pessimism because with wisdom – with knowledge and experience – comes a certain and unavoidable […]

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Music History Monday: Woodstock: A Triumph of Locational Branding!

We mark the opening of the so-called “Woodstock Festival” on August 15, 1969 – 53 years ago today – “so-called” for the following reasons. “Woodstock.” Even without considering the original festival that bears its name, “Woodstock”, as a placename has a homey, countryside-like quality to it. And a beautiful, quaint town it is, with a population – in 1970 – of 5714 people (it’s just about the same today). Eighty-eight miles north of New York City, within the borders of the Catskill Mountains Park, Woodstock has been a hub for musicians, writers, artists, and actors going back to the 1940s. (Even a short list of just the musicians associated with Woodstock should make our saliva run down our chins. That short list includes The Band [the members of which shared a house and two of whom – Rick Danko and Levon Helm – are buried in Woodstock Cemetery], Carla Bley, David Bowie, Jimmy Cobb, Henry Cowell, Jack DeJohnette, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Metheny, Charlie Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Van Morrison, Pauline Oliveros, Graham Parker, Bonnie Raitt, Sonny Rollins, Todd Rundgren, David Sandborn, Carlos Santana, and Peter Schickele [“P.D.Q. Bach” his very self!]) The festival was created by an operation called […]

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