Given the American social and political climate during the mid '80s, the semi-permanent reunion of founding Fugs Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Saunders could not have been more culturally apropos. The Real Woodstock Festival is a live two-disc set featuring Kupferberg and Saunders accompanied by: Steve Taylor on guitar and backing vocals, Coby Batty on percussion and backing vocals, and Scott Petito on bass. Also joining the festivities are two counter-cultural icons: beat poet Allen Ginsberg and "Country" Joe McDonald -- the only artist to have performed at the original event in 1969 and the Fugs Real Woodstock Festival in 1994. Ironically, unlike any of the other events bearing the 'Woodstock' albatross, the Real Woodstock Festival was actually held in the town of Woodstock, New York -- where Ed Saunders has maintained a permanent residency since the early '70s. Likewise the two performances were held on the true anniversary of the original event -- August 13 & 14. The loose camaraderie and rag tag frenetic madness that defined the Fugs 'high art' of blending music with socially conscious poetry is certainly alive and well on this collection. In addition to performing a handful of new compositions, Kupferberg and Saunders revived some of their most treasured works from every phase of their career. From their days on the uncompromising ESP label, "Frenzy," "CIA Man," "Morning, Morning," "How Sweet I Roamed From Field To Field" and "The Post-modern Nothing" have been modernized with new arrangements, yet remain as poetic and arguably even more relevant in this context. Likewise, there are a few rarities from the Fugs tenure on Reprise Records in the late '60s: "Crystal Liaison," "I Want To Know" and the rarely performed "When The Mode Of The Music Changes." The latter undoubtedly contains further portents as less than an hour away from this celebration, Woodstock '94 was co-opting an entire generation.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2