Of course, the primary musical accompaniment to director Ang Lee's film Taking Woodstock comes from the rock artists who played the Woodstock Festival, and they are heard on a soundtrack album to the film. But there is also a modest background score composed by rock star-turned-Hollywood composer Danny Elfman, and this album manages to squeeze out half an hour's worth of it. Elfman's idea seems to have been to provide music that would complement the late-'60s pop/rock heard at the festival, and for the most part, these short cues sound like what might have been heard backstage if some combination of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were strumming their acoustic and electric guitars while waiting to go on, that is, if clarinetist David Krakauer also happened to be wandering around playing his instrument dolefully. Elfman only changes tack midway through, when the trio of tracks "Groovy Thing (Office #1)," "A Happening (Office #2)," and "Groovy Thing (Guitar Solo)" introduce a theme that is played, first in an unmistakably Byrds-like style, complete with 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitar; then in an early psychedelic garage band style, with Farfisa organ and wailing electric guitar solo; then as an acoustic guitar theme. These styles are slightly anachronistic, harking back to the mid-'60s, but they are authentically re-created. Indeed, "Groovy Thing (Office #1)" could be stuck on a CD reissue of an old Byrds album as a bonus track, and nobody would be the wiser. This is not one of Elfman's major scoring efforts, but it is appropriate to the material at hand.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann