Roots of Woodstock Live Concert

Acts booked for this 40th anniversary celebration and zero-carbon fund-raiser included the the Blues Magoos, Hubert Sumlin and band, Ellen McIlwaine, Marc Black, Jerry Moore and the newly reformed Children of God, and the Robbie Turner Band. The concert took place at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Saturday, August 15, 2009. Doors opened at 7 pm; the show began at 8 pm and went until 3 am. Our thanks to all those who helped to make the event a resounding success. For a take on the evening by “New York Rocker,” click here.

The Blues Magoos opened nationally for The Who in 1967 and charted at #5 on Billboard with “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet.” Their album Psychedelic Lollipop was released in the late sixties. In 1968 they appeared at a Woodstock Sound-Out, and these days they continue to perform in the New York area. In a recent show they played at The Fillmore in New York City with the Zombies.

Hubert Sumlin, born in 1936, is one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time. He started his climb to fame in 1955 when he became a guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf’s band, and is best known for his work in the sixties on such songs as “Built for Fortune,” “Shake for Me,” “Goin’ Down Slow,” “Killing Floor,” and “Wang Dang Doodle.” Rolling Stone has him on their list of 100 greatest guitarists, and Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson and Jimi Hendrix have all cited his playing as a source of inspiration. In May 2009 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Ellen McIlwaine plays a hot propulsive slide guitar and has a soulful voice. She was born in Tennessee, but moved at the age of two to Japan. There she grew up surrounded by Japanese folk music. She was also influenced by the American music of Ray Charles and Fats Domino, and by the Far Eastern harmonics of India and China. Returning to the States in the early sixties, she began to play acoustic guitar. Soon she moved to Greenwich Village and began opening for Odetta, Richie Havens and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968 she arrived in Woodstock, NY with her psychedelic band, Fear Itself. Here she and the band played at several of the Sound-Outs. In 1972 to 1974 she recorded a string of albums for Polydor that won her a cult following. These include Honky Tonk Angel, We the People and The Guitar Album. On this last she played with Link Wray, Rory Gallagher, John McLaughlin and Roy Buchanan. In 1987 she became a resident of Canada and is an active participant on the Canadian blues and festival circuit.

Marc Black has been in the Woodstock area since 1969. He was named “Folk Artist of the Year” on ABC Radio’s Fame Games, and a Kerrville Festival “New Folk” winner. Over the years Black has collaborated with such musicians as Warren Bernhardt, Steve Gadd, Art Garfunkel, John Sebastian, Garth Hudson and Richie Havens. He is now a Woodstock poet and troubadour with his own group, the Marc Black Band. In this show he performed as a solo act.

The Clearwater solar trailer was retained by the concert’s producers and powered the soundstage. Larry Brown of Sun Mountain Solar was the show’s on-site solar technician. Proceeds from the concert’s EcoRaffle were used in support of Woodstock’s Zero-Carbon Initiative, passed in 2007. The money was used to purchase two bright red Dero bicycle-shaped bike racks donated to the town of Woodstock.