There are two reasons why I chose this video for “Video of the Week.” The first is that I was made aware of Kitty Daisy & Lewis – a British musical trio made up of two sisters and a brother – earlier this week when they performed their jazzy cover of Canned Heat’s “Going up the Country” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and I thought they were phenomenal. The second reason is that Canned Heat performed “Going up the Country” at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969, and can be heard during a memorable scene in Woodstock – the epic documentary film which covers the three-day festival – during which the audience gets its first glimpse of the far-out concert-goers as they arrive. The song sets the scene perfectly and really depicts the attitude most of the festival’s attendees brought to this hog farm in upstate New York: they’re attempting to leave behind the pressures of American society – if only for a few days – by traveling far into rural New York to mingle with like-minded flower children. And this weekend just happens to be the 40th anniversary of this groovy congregation.
But enough about Woodstock (don’t worry; I’ll be posting plenty more about Woodstock for the next couple of weeks, as it’s probably the event that I most lament not being alive for), on to the video. One of the things I like about this video is its Wizard of Oz-esque use of color. Much like a certain video featured as Video of the Week a few weeks ago, in the video for “Going Up the Country”, the city is depicted as a dull and nearly colorless place, while the open country is a bright, beautiful place awash with color. Another great thing about this video is the grainy quality that gives it that old-fashioned appearance to suit the very old-fashioned style of this song, which sounds as if it could have been recorded decades before the original version was. The video itself looks like it could have been made at any point between the 1950s and now. To top it all off, the video’s setting places the siblings in a rural area which could be – for all we know – in upstate New York. But I probably only think that because I know of the song’s history and have seen Woodstock more times than I can count. Anyway, enjoy the video.
Oh, and if you want to hear the original “Going up the Country,” here’s a rather amusing video someone made on YouTube, implying that Canned Heat’s vocalist Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson sounds suspiciously similar to a certain lovable amphibian. And I’d have to agree with them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM5VZiaPvys