We grew up hearing snippets of the stories: first joints, flying tents, incorrect memories of the acts who played, and even a fabled master recording from the sound board secreted away in a friend’s basement (recently rediscovered). The event was more legend than an established piece of Michigan history, but staged almost exactly one year after Woodstock, the Goose Lake International Music Festival did indeed happen and it was glorious.
Annoying music bed and even more annoying local commercials aside, this 30 minute documentary has an oral history from organizers and attendees with fantastic archival footage of Michigan’s entrant into the 60s and 70s music festival culture.
When you think about it, the James Gang was pretty much doomed from the beginning. They came of age when a pair of other power trios—the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream—had already run their course and who’d featured a pair of undeniable guitar legends. So what was the James Gang thinking releasing Yer Album, a debut record of unfocused jams, not-quite-ready originals, and a bunch of covers heavy on noodling and light on inspiration?
Keep in mind, this was an era when anything was possible. For crying out loud, a band as creatively limited as Iron Butterfly came across a nifty riff, repeated the damn thing for over a quarter of an hour, and suddenly became the biggest selling thing on Atlantic Records. So I’m sure that a few label execs at ABC records green-lighted Yer Album because they didn’t have a clue as to what may stick and what would fall.