John Sebastian - vocals, acoustic guitar
Appearing with Richie Havens, Canned Heat, Stephen Stills, and others, this show was billed as a Woodstock Reunion even though only a handful of the artists from the original festival participated and it was held miles away at a horse racing track in Long Island, NY. "Hello, Long Island," says Sebastian at the onset of the show. "This is sure a lot different than the other Woodstock Festival," he adds, laughing. "For that one, I didn't get paid."
By the time he did this show, Sebastian had been making hit records for over 15 years and had recently made a stunning comeback in 1976 with "Welcome Back," the #1 hit single from the TV show, Welcome Back Kotter. In addition to that song and other recent album tracks he played a number of Spoonful classics including "Nashville Cats," "Younger Generation," "Day Dream," "Darling Be Home Soon"; and songs that had appeared on his early 1970s solo albums, such as "She's A Lady" and "Red-Eye Express."
John Sebastian didn't take long to establish his solo career after he left the Lovin' Spoonful in late 1968. The band fell apart after the remaining members released one final Sebastian-less LP. As the leader of the band from 1965 through 1967, Sebastian had a long and successful string of hits with the Spoonful, including "Day Dream," "Do You Believe In Magic," and "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice."
He spent most of 1968 and 1969 writing material for his solo debut. Before the record was released, he was asked to do some filler sets with just himself and an acoustic guitar at an upcoming music festival called the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Needless to say, Woodstock became one of the most historic events in American social history (not to mention an amazing musical event). The festival and Sebastian's performance in the film documentary of the festival and on its soundtrack album positioned him to be a successful solo artist for the counterculture.
Several of the tracks featured in this show come from Sebastian's first solo album, John B. Sebastian. The album had been released on Warner Brother's subsidiary, Reprise, but MGM Records believed Sebastian still owed another album under the deal he signed with the Lovin' Spoonful. MGM obtained second generation audio tapes of the solo album and released it at the same time as the Reprise LP. When a court ordered MGM to remove its copy of the LP from stores, the label moved in another direction. Pissed that they had lost the court case, they released a bootleg of an early Sebastian solo acoustic album. It didn't take Reprise long to respond with a legitimate live album that was essentially one step above a bootleg.
John Sebastian remained a viable contemporary singer/songwriter through the early 1980s, and in 1981 he even did a brief reunion of the Lovin' Spoonful for an appearance in the Paul Simon film, One Trick Pony. Today, he still regularly tours, performing his first love, jug band music, which he had been doing prior to his stint making pop music in the Lovin' Spoonful.
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