Greg’s Grab Bag – Amchitka: The Concert That Launched Greenpeace/Dolly Parton
Greg’s Grab Bag
Phil Ochs, James Taylor & Joni Mitchell – Amchitka: The Concert That Launched Greenpeace
Documenting the October 16, 1970 concert that raised funds to send a boat to the island of Amchitka near Alaska in protest of a U.S. nuclear testing program while also formally launching the Greenpeace organization, this archival 2-CD release is a significant historical and musical document.
This set, which is being sold exclusively through Greenpeace, was created from a tape the family of Greenpeace founding member Irving Stowe saved for posterity and includes some incredible performances.
The concert was held at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and the lineup for the concert included Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and the hometown rock band Chilliwack. With the exception of Chilliwack’s set, this collection captures all of the evening’s performances and stage announcements.
Highlights from the album include Phil Ochs’ protest anthems “No More Songs” and “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and his lovely “Changes,” along with Joni Mitchell’s performance of “Woodstock” and her catchy environmental anthem “Big Yellow Taxi,” which she deftly blends with Larry Williams’ 1957 party hit “Bony Maroni.”
Of particular note is the entire James Taylor set on the first disc. Accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar, Taylor manages to give an intimate and personal performance despite the fact that the show was held in a large arena-style venue. While all seven songs from his set are excellent, the tender lullaby “Sweet Baby James” and the haunting “You Can Close Your Eyes” are the two most memorable performances.
Dolly Parton – Live From London
Although she is a brilliant recording artist, Dolly Parton is a natural performer and always seems to be at her best when gracing a stage. This is evident on the new live CD/DVD from Parton’s own label, Dolly Records.
Culled from performances at the O2 Arena in 2008, Live From London features some of Dolly’s biggest hit songs along with tracks from her latest studio release, Backwoods Barbie and it is the new material that makes this set really worthwhile.
Hailed by music fans and critics alike, Backwoods Barbie found Parton returning to a mainstream country sound with catchy pop songs that introduced the legend to a new audience of young country fans. Tracks from that album like “Better Get To Livin’,” “Shinola” and “Backwoods Barbie” stand out in this concert and fit easily alongside Parton classics like “Here You Come Again,” “Jolene” and “9 to 5.”
Another new song, “Jesus and Gravity,” serves as the closing song for this set and joins the a cappella rendition of “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” as the two biggest highlights of this live collection.
Both the CD and DVD from this set include the same tracks, but what really sets the DVD portion apart is Dolly’s classic between-song banter and the spliced-in interview segments that are not included on the CD.
Until next time, enjoy the music!