Various Artists

Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 [Sony]

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The soundtrack to the documentary film about the 1970 rock festival, which was Woodstock-like in size, if not cultural impact. The musical lineup didn't quite match Woodstock, either, but was damn impressive, including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, Joni Mitchell, ELP, the Moody Blues, Donovan, Miles Davis, Free, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, and others (how did Kris Kristofferson sneak in?). This double CD has good sound and good (though not landmark) performances. The Who, Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell come off best; odder highlights include Leonard Cohen's ghostly version of "Suzanne," a "Nights in White Satin" from the Moodies that is quite impassioned, and Tiny Tim's "There'll Always Be an England." Cinéma vérité snippets of dialog add to the authenticity but occasionally detract from the flow. Be aware that Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" is the 1965 studio recording, not a live performance. [This review refers to both the Castle and Sony releases of Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970, as they are identical releases.]

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