This ambitious project is actually a fairly good overview of the music and 'what was happening' in the country, but particularly San Francisco during 1967. It is a history of hippies and their disenchantment with the war, the way anyone outside mainstream white America was treated, the cold war, and an exceedingly unpopular president. This is a set of two CDs and one DVD, and there is a booklet that gives background. This said, can any year be summed up in that small amount of space; 40 songs, about an hour of visuals and the 39 pages of booklet and do a job that will please? The answer of course is no, however this project gives a fairly comprehensive overview of the situation. It will not please everyone and the will be quibbles about the songs selected, the spokespersons heard, etc., but it is a good and fair start to it.
The CD labeled 1 is mostly music that could be heard on the AM radio, in other words, more commercial music, artists such as Scott McKenzie, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Beach Boys and Spanky and Our Gang. On CD #2 are songs that were more likely to be on the FM stations, as the groups or the songs weren't as commercially viable; Country Joe and The Fish, The Seeds, Blues Magoos and The Blues Project to name some. On this disc it might not be the group but the song that was not as much a 'hit'. Again, this varied depending on what part of the country you were in and how adventuresome the FM station you listened to was. (One of the best of the Free Form stations was coming from the University of Denver, and a typical set might go from Bach to Beatles to the Soft Machine with all manner of permutations in-between.) Asked if I agree with all the songs and groups? Of course not. However as stated, you can't please everyone with every selection.
The DVD is about an hour of some great footage of rarely seen jams, The Dead, Santana, and The Jefferson Airplane, some rare interviews with people such as Janis Joplin, David Crosby, and many more and hosted by Paul Kantner. Though the best summation of what was happening is maybe given by Jerry Garcia right in the opening few minutes. The concert footage is good and for those of you who weren't there it is a good swift overview of what was happening with maybe some inadvertent explanations of why and who and where and when. For those of you who lived through those times, and were of age, as I was, there are going to be many familiar scenes, and maybe even some ah ha moments. Plus the footage at Woodstock, even though that was held in '69, helps to put bits of clarity to what was happening in 1967. It is a good overview of this time of pushing limits of all kinds. Perhaps that is the key word of that era—growth.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Website design by David N. Pyles