'Unreleased Cuts' About Woodstock Can Go Beyond Upcoming DVDs and CDsJuly 21, 2009
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Oral history expert encourages that those who made the trek record their versions
With the rapid approach of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock -- the "event that defined a generation" -- the people who were there need to do more than talk.
Get it on the record, says Dr. Stephen Sloan, director of Baylor University's Institute for Oral History.
Memories fade with time, or -- particularly in the case of Woodstock, held Aug. 15-17, 1969 -- become fuzzy for other reasons.
But an individual's oral history, whether through audio or video recordings, can be a one-of-a-kind look back, said Sloan, an assistant professor of history.
Even with new DVD versions of the original Woodstock documentary and multi-CD sets boasting unreleased cuts, "there will always be a need for in-depth oral history," Sloan said. "It can make a mountain of information make more sense."
History buffs rue the day when World War II veterans will be gone -- some taking never-told memories with them, for example. While those who slogged through the mud in upstate New York in search of love, peace and rock 'n' roll still have a few more years, "Baby Boomers are beginning to file for retirement," Sloan said.
"World War II was a huge event, such a long event, while Woodstock was very brief," he said. "But both are events that are defining, that made an imprint. They're revisited more and more, and oral history can be a useful way of understanding them.
"Woodstock was this age of individual expression. That's what the hippie movement was all about," Sloan said. "Many times it was drug-fueled, but still, it was about inner exploration."
Sloan is available for interviews and has tips about recording and interviewing methods for meaningful oral histories.
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