The Woodstock Experience by Sly & The Family Stone was recorded in August 1969 at the world famous Woodstock festival.
I don’t understand the marketing but this is a two CD set. The first CD is the studio version of the Stand album, the second is the Woodstock recording. There is a series of these Woodstock albums including Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter.
It’s taken us a long time to get a live Sly & The Family Stone album because this was first released in 2009.
Sly & The Family Stone The Woodstock Experience – Overall rating 27/30
Set List – 8/10
- M’Lady – 7:46 (originally on the album Life)
- Sing a Simple Song – 5:13 (Stand)
- You Can Make It If You Try – 5:36 (Stand)
- Everyday People – 3:15 (Stand)
- Dance to the Music – 4:28 (Dance to the Music )
- Music Lover / Higher – 7:50 (Dance to the Music)
- I Want to Take You Higher – 6:43 (Stand)
- Love City – 6:04 (Life)
- Stand! – 3:20 (Stand)
5 of the tracks come from the 1969 album Stand and 2 each from Dance To The Music and Life.
I found Sly Stone by starting with Prince and working backwards to his influences. The Stand and There’s A Riot Going On (1971) albums receive regular praise from critics and they are the albums I know best along with a compilation to pick up the hit singles.
The group create a remarkable fusion of soul, funk, rock and psychedelia that is very addictive.
I’d love to hear a recording from the Riot tour to compare. Assessing the set list is tough because there’s some great songs but at around the 50 minute mark, it feels short.
Performance – 10/10
Terrific. Sly & The Family Stone were acknowledged as one of the highlights of the Woodstock experience and listening to this, you can imagine the feel good vibe that must have been running through the crowd as this effervescent mix of sound was blasted at them.
Here is a video taster of Sly & The Family Stone performing Dance To The Music in the same year.
Atmosphere & Authenticity – 9/10
Sly Stone worked the crowd hard during this set and they loved it.
It’s one of those records that makes you smile and tap your fingers or feet. Perhaps both.
If the group was this good at a large festival, then I would really want to see them in a hot, sweaty, small club which is my preferred way to see and experience music.
Overall Rating For The Woodstock Experience – 27/30
My ultimate test of any live album is “do I wish I was there?”
Oh yes. I’m not keen on festivals but Woodstock is so famous.
This is such a great set.
I really wish I’d been there… although my Mum wouldn’t have let me travel to America when I was nine.
What Others Are Saying About Sly & The Family Stone’s Woodstock Experience
It’s ridiculous that this has taken forty years to appear when the Woodstock compilation album came out soon after the festival.
II believe that if it had been released when live albums were the in thing, then this would be widely regarded as one of the best and particularly in the soul, funk and r&b categories.
Unfortunately it doesn’t make any of the great live album lists that I’ve seen.
There is recognition that it is a great live album at Amazon.
Buying The Woodstock Experience by Sly & The Family Stone
If you already have the Stand album, then you can buy the Woodstock live songs as individual mp3s if it works out cheaper.
What Do You Think?
Is this Woodstock Experience one of the greatest live albums ever?
I’d love to be asking you if this is the best Sly & the Family Stone live album but as it is the only one (so far), we can only hope that other archive recordings come out.
What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?
Please help me find the best live albums by voting in the readers polls:
You can see the complete list of readers polls at Live Album Polls.
What Else Was Happening In This Year?
Click on the links to see what other live albums were recorded in 1969.