Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive
The box for the box set is made of plywood and secured with a guitar strap
Live album by
various artists
ReleasedAugust 2, 2019
RecordedAugust 15–18, 1969
VenueWoodstock festival
GenreRock
LabelRhino
ProducerAndy Zax
Steve Woolard
Brian Kehew
Woodstock albums chronology
Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
(2009)
Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive
(2019)
50th Anniversary Experience
Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Experience
Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Experience
50th Anniversary Collection
Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Collection
Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Collection

Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive is a live album by various artists, packaged as a box set of 38 CDs. It contains nearly all of the performances from the Woodstock music festival, which took place on August 15–18, 1969, in Bethel, New York. The CDs also include many stage announcements and miscellaneous audio material. The box set also contains bonus material such as a Blu-ray copy of the director's cut of the Woodstock documentary film, a hardcover book written by concert promoter Michael Lang, and a replica of the original concert program. It was released by Rhino Records on August 2, 2019, in a limited edition of 1,969 copies.[1][2][3]

The box set was nominated for two Grammy Awards, in the categories of Best Historical Album (producers Andy Zax, Steve Woolard, and Brian Kehew and mastering engineer Dave Schultz) and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package (art director Masaki Koike).[4] At the 2020 Grammys, it won the award for Best Package.[5]

Related albums

Two albums of selections from the box set were released by Rhino Records on June 28, 2019.

Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Experience is a 10-CD album with 162 tracks (including music and stage announcements) selected from the box set. It includes songs performed by all of the artists who played at the Woodstock festival.[6]

Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Collection, on 3 CDs or 5 LPs, features 42 tracks selected from the box set.

Production

Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive presents almost all of the music of the Woodstock festival in the order in which it was performed. Not included in the 38-CD box set are two songs from Jimi Hendrix's set, as the Hendrix estate did not authorize their release.[1] These songs, which were sung by guitarist Larry Lee, are "Mastermind" and a medley of "Gypsy Woman"/"Aware of Love". Also missing are one-and-a-half songs from Sha Na Na's set that were not captured on tape[1] – "A Teenager in Love" and the first part of "Little Darlin'".

Critical reception

Hua Hsu praised the 38-CD 50th Anniversary Archive album's attention to historical detail in The New Yorker, saying "Woodstock – Back to the Garden was produced by Andy Zax and Steve Woolard. Zax, an accomplished archivist and reissue specialist, spent more than a decade putting it together from hundreds of tapes that had never been consolidated in one place. In the process of reconstructing the festival, hour by hour, Zax has destroyed some myths."[7]

Caryn Rose, writing in Pitchfork about the 38-CD 50th Anniversary Archive album, said "[T]he true revelation of this release is simply how great the newly restored recordings sound. Zax and Kehew approached the mixing by referring to photographic documentation, which allowed them to situate the performers within the mix based on where they were standing onstage. Comparing the original soundtrack to the 2019 product is like switching from black and white to Technicolor: The compression and flatness that choked the life out of the original release is gone. The result is a sonically welcoming experience that is as immersive as you could want; it is a joy to listen to."[2]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, writing on AllMusic about the 10-CD 50th Anniversary Experience album, said "[Producer Andy] Zax's decision not to sweeten or fix the original tapes doesn't mean the set sounds rocky. On the contrary, the sound is vivid and alive, lending a kinetic kick to both rock bands and folk singers, yet it still sounds like a document of a specific time and place. ... [T]he whole weekend sounds exploratory and adventurous in a way that years of nostalgia have obscured."[6]

Track listing

The CDs in the Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive box set are:[8]

Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:

Songs on the 50th Anniversary Collection

As noted above, Woodstock – Back To The Garden: 50th Anniversary Collection is an album, comprising 3 CDs or 5 LPs, containing tracks selected from the much larger box set. It includes these songs, along with a number of stage announcements:

Personnel

Production

  • Produced for release by Andy Zax, Steve Woolard
  • Sound produced by Andy Zax, Brian Kehew
  • Compilation, assembly, editing: Andy Zax
  • Mixing: Brian Kehew
  • Mastering: Dave Schultz
  • Original 8-track and mono recordings: Hanley Sound, Inc.
  • Location recording engineers: Edwin H. Kramer, Lee Osborne
  • Art supervision: Lisa Glines
  • Art direction, design: Masaki Koike
  • Liner notes: Andy Zax, Jesse Jarnow, Ellen Sander

References

  1. ^ a b c Browne, David (May 8, 2019). "Back to an Even Bigger Garden: Massive Woodstock Box Set Planned for August". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Rose, Caryn (August 2, 2019). "Various Artists: Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Gil (May 9, 2019). "Woodstock 50th Anniversary Box Set to Be Released". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  4. ^ "2020 Grammy Awards: Complete Nominees List". Grammy.com. November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  5. ^ "2020 Grammy Awards: The Full List Of Winners". NPR. January 26, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Woodstock: Back to the Garden (50th Anniversary Experience)". AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Hsu, Hua (July 29, 2019). "Surviving Woodstock". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive Tracklist". Rhino Records. Retrieved August 21, 2019.