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Sept 12th 1970.
A wet Saturday in the park , Stoneground were the openers, the weirdly named Lambert and Nutteycombe did a folky half hour set and guitar genius Michael Chapman was superb .
The only time the sun came out was for John Sebastian as he sang " Daydream "and "Nashville Cats". The big Seb did a bit of duckwalking during his rendition of Chuck Berry's ' Johnny B Goode' and he finished off his show ( to great appluse ) with " Darling Be Home Soon "
Eric Burdon and a percussive War delivered an energetic set which resulted in Eric splitting his trews . He brought his mum onstage during the show but we don't know what her reaction was to Eric flashing his bum at the audience.Highlights of his set were " Paint It Black " and Spill The Wine "
Canned Heat finished off the day with a great set which featured ' Future Blues',' Lets Work Together " and "Refried Hockey Boogie " . Former guitarist Al Wilson had only just been cremated the day before, so this show was in a way a memorial to him. Henry Vestine played so hard he blew up his amp. The heat had the power pulled on them as they overran the curfew, but everyone had fun despite the rotten weather.
Eric B onstage at Hyde Park 1970 © L Haines
No reviews available for this concert but my personal recollections are; a great version of 'Spill The Wine' and a fair amount of swearing and a very funky set from Eric Burden's band 'War'.
This must have been one of the first concerts where Canned Heat performed without frontman Al 'Blind Owl' Wilson following his death nine days earlier. I remember mention of them giving Al Wilson his wish of having his ashes scattered amongst the Canadian Redwoods. Not quite the same hearing somebody else replace Al's distinctive vocals on 'Going Up The Country'!
John Sebastian, ex frontman of The Lovin' Spoonful finished with a set that included all the songs that he'd performed at Woodstock a year earlier, (Canned heat also appeared at Woodstock but not in the subsequent movie or Triple LP release)
I'm sure this was the first post Al Wilson gig and seem to remember Bob Hite saying something to that effect. It rained and rained and the crowd was small which meant we got very near the front - so near I was captivated by the warmth of John sebastian.
There were lots of Hells Angels at this gig and I do remember getting hauled under some thick polythene sheeting by one to keep dry. As I say Sebastian was magical but what did it for us was Stoneground who were fantastic and Wavy Gravy recreating some of that Woodstock spirit in the rain. Whacky don't even start to go there but he was a great compere for the afternoon. Spill the Wine was inspiring. I remember him doing some long rant about how we all enter this world form between a woman's legs "and most of us guys .. and some of you girls ,, spend our lives trying to get back in there" - funny how some things stay in the mind!
I think it'd stopped raining by the time War came on and there was some kind of sun in the sky behind Burdon from where I was standing. I'm fairly sure they played most of that first album cos when I bought it later it I remember it seemed fairly familiar. Canned Heat were great especially Hite who clearly missed his buddy.
A memorable afternoon for sure.
In Hyde Park, Sal Valentino, ex-Beau Brummel, is watching like a loving father as the Hog Farm band, Stone Ground, gets it on. Valentino isn’t doing much, singing now and then, throwing in a rhythm lick on guitar, watching as his children pour off energy into the gray-green mist. Five British Angels are dancing right down front. A chick in a long purple sweater with a freckled face shuts her eyes, banging a tambourine, getting off.
4000 people have come through the freezing rain and gusting wind and are soggily
sorted in a wet semi-circle before the stage.
The wind and rain come up strong during a set by Michael Chapman, a British folk singer. His black felt slouch hat blows off and is deposited in the wet. Chapman does not bother to pick it up, changing "Aviator" into "Hey Jude" and back again.
General Waste More Land in pseudo-Air Force blue and gray addresses the crowd in a red plastic airplane on the crown of his peaked hat. "War has been declared stupid," he informs them, "and Nixon is just another pretty face."
Eric Burdon is announced to a huge roar. One of their own, returning, with his new group, War. During the set, the crowd pushes forward to the stage enveloping the Angel security guards. The rain stops.
Burdon works, ripping his white pants neatly down the middle, bringing his mother
out on stage during "Spill the Wine" and kissing her, talking dirty
and just being generally funky. War makes big heavy music. Afro-blue: "Mother
Earth,""Tobacco Road,"" Paint It Black," and "Take
Me Baby," a number they used to start and end the set with.
Wavy Gravy is on stage afterwards, in a jingle jester’s hat and coveralls, a jacket with a rainbow and star on the back. "Y’all wanna get high?" he asks. "Now, cops follow us, the Hog Farm, around a lot and we run outa dope too y’know. So we have this thing we call a ‘Gong Bong.’ Gong Bong, breathe in, out, in, out, fourteen times. Let it out with a scream—unnnnh. You’re stoned. If it doesn’t work, you can kick the shit out of me and smoke it…"
Sebastian follows. "You people live here all the time?" he says, looking
out at a soupbowl of brollies and flags, "FAR OUT!" The crowd, Sebastian,
serenading each other in the cold.
Back to the days of old with "Johnny B. Goode." On his final song, "Darlin’ Be Home Soon," an antique sun comes out, etching the scene in gold.
Heat arrive to finish it off. The crowd is up and ready. "When’s
Al’s funeral?" someone calls out. "Do ‘Goin Up The Country."
Someone else shouts.
" Darlin,’ couldn’t possibly do that," Bob Hite says, "Al’s funeral was on Friday—his ashes were scattered under the redwoods. It’s what he wanted. We can’t believe it’s real yet. All we can do is make music…"
They do, pumping furiously, Bob Hite growing redfaced, until the power is pulled on the "Boogie." The amps gone, everyone laughs anyway. Bob Hite hugs a friend.
People leave slowly. On the subway going home, they sit in the aisles and play games with strangers, laughing at everything.
Just give the English a little adversity. They react like they invented California.
Was at this gig with a lovely lady called Sue Daniel - have often wondered what she's doing now - would love to say Hi and Sorry!.... anyway, I will never forget the Stoneground set - they started off with just a couple of guys and then almost one by one the rest of the band came on stage during the first three numbers - so by about halfway through the set we had just a whole crescendo of sound - amazing stuff - their albums have never quite captured that energy. Michael Chapman was very good as well - but Eric Burden was just a bit 'up himself' with rather long and unnecessary introductions to his songs. And do you know I actually can't remember anyone else - perhaps it was too wet and we left, or perhaps the others (John Sebastion and Canned Heat) were unmemorable - surely not!
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