As I stated to talk about in my last Blog, I had played the very first Woodstock concert revival and anniversary with my band at the time, “Steel.” Steel consisted of my friend and college roommate, Sandy Berman on keyboards (and played bass with his left hand), Roy Faber on drums, and myself. We certainly liked to play some stuff loud, but we were by no means a typical “power” trio. We did mostly original songs that I penned while being laid up for a 6 month period as the result of getting a bad case of mono at my college.
Two of those songs, “The Upstate Rag”, and “Angry River” are still played by me these days, and “Angry River”, though I wrote it at the age of 16, waited for my daughter, Lexie Roth to record it for her debut cd, “One Long Blink”. There is a lovely video for this song on YouTube.
The “Upstate Rag” is quite the extravaganza, and back in those Woodstock days, we used to let this song go on for sometimes 20 minutes, as I would stretch the middle “solo” section into such a long improvisation, it would actually include references to many other songs along the way!
This kind of extended soloing was quite in vogue in those days, and I guess it’s kind of returned these days in a “retro” sort of way with all these so-called “Jam Bands”. These days, I have that song pared down to about 7 minutes, and also love doing an acoustic version as well.
Regardless, it’s great fun to bring back those unique times, when the pace of life was quite a bit slower, and folks had seemingly endless time to listen to long songs, long solos, and couls sit and read long liner notes on those beautiful and artistic album covers of the day!