AND NOW, WOODSTOCK `94: THE CD

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Sick of Woodstock? Imagine how Larry Hamby must feel.

The shelves in his office at A&M Records are lined with tapes of every musical note played at Woodstock '94. He listened to those tapes seven days a week - over and over - from the time the concert ended on the morning of Aug. 15, until early October.

Mr. Hamby was responsible for piecing together the commemorative compact disc of the summer concert. The two-disc set will be released today.

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``I'm not sick of it,'' Hamby insisted in an interview, ``although I'm ready to take a breather from it.''

His work done, Hamby can now sit back and wait for the second-guessers.

Distilling three days of music into a 27-song package inevitably means a lot was left out, including a number of big-name artists. But Hamby's proud of what he's done and thinks he has captured the event's essence.

Some political choices went into the final product: No artist is represented with more than one song. But it also contains enough out-of-left-field selections that the album takes on its own personality.

While Woodstock '94 was a mixture of the old and new, Hamby's CD is weighted toward younger, hard-rocking artists.

``I didn't want this record to be presented from the veteran rock point of view,'' he said. ``I thought they should be set among the new bands instead of the other way around.''

As a result, the Allman Brothers Band, Santana, and the Band are out. Collective Soul, Candlebox, Primus, and Blind Melon are in.

At Woodstock, Hamby commanded a team of more than three dozen people making sure all the music was captured on tapes.

There were basic decisions about format: Should there be one disc or 10? Should there be ``theme discs'' that appeal specifically to certain music fans or a general overview?

A&M settled on the two-disc set, believing its $33.98 retail price would be within reach of the average fan. Ideas for specific discs, such as one with just ``alternative music'' or another solely with veterans of the first Woodstock, were ultimately rejected.

``The problem with that is, it's a very subjective decision and it sort of underestimates your audience's ability to discern,'' Hamby said. ``Who says just because some kid may be a Green Day fan that they don't want to hear Bob Dylan? A lot of them do.''

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