THE LA FORUM CONCERT (Lifelines Vol. IV) ♥♥♥
Released 1991 (Reprise)
Tax Free / Red House / Spanish Castle Magic / The Star-Spangled Banner / Purple Haze / I Don’t Live Today / Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Sunshine Of Your Love
As detailed in the “Posthumous Studio Releases” section, the “Lifelines” box set included this rare CD where we find the band just two months after the UK Albert Hall gigs and six dates into their final US American tour. The CD begins with three heavyweight 10 or 12 minute extravaganzas, illustrating how much their attitude had changed since the more showbiz pop approach of the early days. Like at the the Albert Hall gigs, guitar explorations take priority and there is some great playing in there.
The very enthusiastic audience gets out of control and wouldn’t sit down (this wasn’t tolerated by the authorities at the time!) and some fans rush the stage, forcing the band to plea for calm on many occasions. The heavy policing resulted in officers taking the stage while the band were playing, prompting Jimi to sing “… scuse me while I kiss that policeman” during “Purple Haze”. Top sound quality but unfortunately Jimi’s vocals drop out on “Voodoo Child” when Jimi works in a reference to God during the closing lines (dropped out by Alan Dougles for some reason). After a drum solo it goes into “Sunshine Of Your Love” staying close to the Albert Hall version of a couple of months earlier, before rather awkwardly returning to “Voodoo Child”.
> The band played “Foxy Lady” that night but it was left off this release. It had appeared on the CD re-release of “The Jimi Hendrix Concerts” in 1989.
Full concert: Los Angeles Forum – April 26, 1969 (see Posthumous Live Releases 2020s)
I Don’t Live Today – on the compilations Experience Hendrix (limited edition CD2 re-release MCA 2000), The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set (MCA 2000), Voodoo Child (MCA 2001)
Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze – West Coast Seattle Boy box set (Sony 2010)
As I said before, the sleeve inaccurately shows Jimi the “Wild Man” back in 1967 at the Panhandle, San Francisco. At the Forum 1969, Jimi looked very different to this, his hair cut much shorter and wearing a head band, not to mention his cooler demeanour. Nice individual cover though – 6/10
BAND OF GYPSYS (Reissue with bonus tracks) ♥♥♥♥
Released 1991 (Reprise)
Who Knows, Machine Gun, Changes (Miles), Power Of Soul, Message To Love, We Gotta Live Together (Miles), Hear My Train A Comin’, Foxy Lady, Stop (Ragovoy/Shuman)
Just to confuse matters, this re-release included the three Band Of Gypsys tracks that had appeared on “Band Of Gypsys 2”. They were later taken off for the MCA re-release of this album, then two of them reappeared more logically on “Live At The Filmore East” (see below) and eventually on the box set Songs For Groovy Children. That “Foxy Lady” also turned up in 2013 as track 2 of the “Somewhere” CD single.
See also DVD
Deleted in this form
All tracks available today on the box set Songs For Groovy Children
Released 1991 (Polydor)
In parallel with the studio album box “Sessions” came this 4 live CD re-release pack of the Jimi Plays Monterey, Live At Winterland, Band Of Gypsys (the above re-release with bonuses) and Isle Of Wight 70.
Released 1991 (Polydor/Reprise)
Alan Douglas opened the flood gates here, to deliver four concerts, one for each year of Jimi’s stardom, on a four CD boxed set. A few numbers from the San Diego and Atlanta gigs had already appeared spread across “In The West”,”The Jimi Hendrix Concerts”, “Johnny B. Goode”, “Band Of Gypsys 2” and “Cornerstones” . The rest was all previously unreleased. In their highly recommended book, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott point out that the material isn’t all top quality Hendrix, we hear the band occaisionally out of tune, beset with sound problems etc. The tapes keep rolling as the band tune up, solve technical problems and chat to the audiences, which is fun, as it puts you in the seat at the gigs. A sort of official luxury bootleg and a nice idea from Alan Douglas.
STAGES ’67 – STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – 5 Sept. 67
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / Fire / The Wind Cries Mary / Foxy Lady / Hey Joe / I Don’t Live Today / Burning Of The Midnight Lamp / Purple Haze
The 1967 set (nearly three months after the historic Monterey appearence) is an intimate affair in front of a small and very reserved audience who were evidently unfamiliar with Jimi’s music. His introductions of songs such as “Purple Haze” for example are met with complete silence. Conscious of the fact that this performance was recorded specially for radio airplay, the band deliver tight and meticulous interpretations of their songs staying very close to the original album versions. The set features a rare and relatively sparse “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” (first ever live performance) and a superb “I Don’t Live Today” (“…dedicated to the American Indian”). Though a little restrained, this recording is a precious document. Even if this gives the impression that it catches the band in their “early days”, it must be remembered that they already had 11 months and around 200 shows behind them at this stage.
“Sgt. Pepper’s” and “Midnight Lamp” turned up later on the 2000 box set (with better sound!) – about time this was re-released.
> That’s a photo from the gig at the Stora Scenen, Gronalund, Tvoli Gardens, Stockholm – 24 May 1967
STAGES ’68 – PARIS, FRANCE – 29 Jan. 68, SECOND SHOW:
Killin’ Floor / Catfish Blues / Foxy Lady / Red House / Drivin’ South / The Wind Cries Mary / Fire / Little Wing / Purple Haze
Four months later and a real gig this time, recorded in early 1968 at the famous Paris Olympia Theatre where we find the Experience riding on a crest of a wave. The band are in such good humour on this clear mono recording, which captures the excitement of the European concerts of the epoch. It’s a delight to hear Jimi in such a playful mood. Interesting that on “Red House” , Noel plays his bass parts on a six string guitar (borrowed off Kieth Richards backstage) just like on the original studio version (that track had appeared a year earlier on “Lifelines”). Rare live version of “Drivin’ South” also, which ends dramatically as Jimi creates the sound of a car screaming towards us.
Earlier appearances of the band at this theatre were to come out much later on the MCA box set (the October 1966 gig) and on the Dagger records release “Paris 67/San Francisco 68”.
This concert was remastered and released on Dagger records in September 2008
> The sleeve shot is in fact from the October 1967 gig at the same venue.
STAGES ’69 – SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – 24 May 69:
Fire / Hey Joe / Spanish Castle Magic / Sunshine Of Your Love / Red House / I Don’t Live Today / Purple Haze / Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
1969, and we hear The Experience a month after the L.A. Forum gig (on “Lifelines”) and one month before their eventual separation, with their now more measured and precise style. The mood of the band is far more sober than on the Olympia 68 disc, as Jimi now favoured a more serious jazz-like approach to his music, rather than the rock ‘n’ roll circus antics of the previous years. He is very communicative with the audience here however.
This is the standard 1969 set like on “The LA Forum Concert” and “Oakland Colliseum”. It’s a pity in a way that the band didn’t perform more numbers from “Ladyland” or “Axis” on stage, but they favoured the songs which permitted Jimi to stretch out and improvise.
If the tendancy at this stage was to use songs as a basic structure for improvisation (again, like jazz musicians would do) this didn’t prevent the band from delivering superb compact versions of crowd pleasers such as “Purple Haze“. That song turned up on the 2000 box set as did that great long version of “Red House” (it had previously been on “In The West”). The version of “I Don’t Live Today” was previously on “The Jimi Hendrix Concerts”. Unfortunately, on “Hey Joe” Jimi is a little out of tune.
In 2005, Purple Haze Records put out a mono version of this show which included “Foxy Lady” which is absent on this release. Alan Douglas evidently had a problem with the song, he had left it off “Lifelines IV – The LA Forum Concert” also!
> “I Don’t Live Today” is incomplete. The complete version is on Jimi Hendrix Concerts and the new edition Hendrix In The West.
> 5 tracks from this gig appeared on the 2011 “re-release” of Hendrix In The West
> The whole concert founds its way into the shops as CD2 of Purple Haze Records’ “Truth And Emotion” (but as a more compacted soundboard-type version – so not the over-seperation of the Douglas version)- see Unnoficial Releases section.
> Sleeve shot from the Albert Hall 69 soundchecks.
STAGES ’70 – ATLANTA POP FESTIVAL; BYRON, GEORGIA – 4 July 70
Fire / Lover Man / Spanish Castle Magic / Foxy Lady / Purple Haze / Hear My Train A-Comin’ / Stone Free / Star Spangled Banner / Straight Ahead / Room Full Of Mirrors / Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
1970, deep into the last American tour and we’re off to the gigantic Atlanta Pop Festival on the fourth of July. This was the biggest audience Jimi ever had for a live show. On the tour, the band were still billed as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, even though Noel had been replaced by Billy Cox and Jimi was now calling the band The Cry Of Love. Mitch said in his book “It was like the old band, but not as exciting”, which is true in a way, but the times had changed aswell.
On the video release of the concert, Jimi seems a bit fed up so the show is a b it of a disappointment visually. As a simple listen it’s a very good show and I recently went back to this concert (this CD and bootlegs) and it’s a lot better that I remembred. Perhaps the Alan Douglas production here had always put me off (on headphones, Cox’s bass hangs annoyingly in the right ear). The later Eddie Kramer mix of all this has a more central mix thankfully..
After the extended jamming of the 1969 tours, Jimi had returned to a more direct delivery of his songs. Terrific versions of “Foxy Lady” and “Purple Haze” for example. “Hear My Train” is nice but has and unfortunatly weak ending, as if Jimi couldn’t be bothered. The great solo in “Spanish Castle Magic” has that lovely moment where Jimi slips in brief a citation of “The Breez And I”.
Apart from all the regular Exprience songs which are very good, there are a couple of sketchy performances of “Straight Ahead” and “Room Full Of Mirrors”. Listening to them today, we know where Jimi was coming from, but audiences must have been mystified. His head was full of the multilayered tracks he was still in the process of constructing in the studio, but on stage he could only approximate their delivery.This disc rounds off with that good rendition of “Voodoo Child” (previously seen on “Band Of Gypsys 2”).
> Nice sleeve shot from the gig.
Note that “All Along The Watchtower” from the same concert, had appeared on the album “Johnny B. Goode”.
“STAGES” – All in all, four fascinating snapshots of a great artist in a variety of moods with each performance sounding quite unlike the others.
1967 – Sgt. Peppers, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp – “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” purple box set
1968 – Live 68 – Paris Ottowa” (Dagger Records),
1969 – Purple Haze – 2 CD “Voodoo Chile” compilation and”The Jimi Hendrix Experience” purple box set, Red House – “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” purple box set, Fire, I Don’t Live Today, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, Voodoo Chile – Hendrix In The West 2011 re-release.
1970 – all tracks re-released on the more complete album “Freedom – Atlanta Pop Festival”
> 2015 Atlanta single for Record Store Day 2015 – 7″ single with “Purple Haze”/”Freedom”
Stockholm 67 -“No More A Rolling Stone” (Purple Haze Records) – Deleted
Paris 68 – “Live At Paris Olympia” (Radioactive)- Deleted
San Diego 69 -“Truth And Emotion” (Purple Haze Records) – Deleted (with an extra track “Foxy Lady”)
A luxury box approach like with “Lifelines”. Nice typo and individual photos for the discs – 7/10
This excellent US 8 track promotional sampler CD of Stages was distributed to the press and radio stations.
01 Hey Joe (Stockholm 1967)
02 Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Stockholm 1967)
03 Purple Haze (Stockholm 1967)
04 The Wind Cries Mary (Paris 1968)
05 Red House (Paris 1968)
06 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (San Diego 1969)
07 Spanish Castle Magic (Atlanta 1970)
08 Hear My Train A Comin’ ( Atlanta 1970)
JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY – Free with the videocassette of the movie
Released 1991 (Interlit/BMG)
Freedom, Red House, Ezy Ryder (edited) – all from the first set
A rare 3 track CD given away free with the video of the same name. “Ezy Ryder” had previously been released on “Band Of Gypsys 2” (edited down a little, as here) and “Red House” on the “Red House-Variations” compilation. These are from the first show at Berkeley and are not the best tracks from Jimi’s performances at the venue. “Red House” is good but on the other tracks Jimi’s playing in parts is just awful. The complex studio arrangements of the songs were not particularly suited to a three piece live format, the songs were new and Jimi had not yet perfected them for the stage. During the same show Jimi’s playing was however top notch, just listen to the breakneck “Johnny B. Goode” (released many times and on the MCA box now), the staggering “Hear My Train..” (on “Blues”) or the perfect “Purple Haze” (from the “Jimi Hendrix” film soundtrack album and today on the Berkeley DVD).
“Red House” turned up in 2010 on the “West Coast Seattle Boy” box set.
Recordings from Jimi’s second show at Berkeley were released by MCA in 2003 as “Live At Berkeley”.
Most of the first show was available on Radioactive Records (unofficial) before being deleted.See also DVD
Jimi on stage, without a moustache, during his first show at Berkeley. He grew it back for the second show later that night (just kidding) – 5/10
LIVE ISLE OF WIGHT 70 ⊗
Released 1991 (Polydor)
God SaveThe Queen, Message To Love, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Lover Man, Machine Gun, Dolly Dagger, Red House, In From The Storm, New Rising Sun.
An appalling album that was put out by Alan Douglas featuring Jimi’s best forgotten gig of 30/08/70. First of all, it carried the mention “7 previoulsy unreleased tracks” but there were only two! The tracks are full of edits, there’s overdubbed crowd noise and the album is poorly mixed and mastered.
All tracks would later reappear on “Live At The Isle Of Wight – Blue Wild Angel”. The whole thing is a series of raw and ugly extracts of Jimi struggling through his set.
There are some flashes of JImi’s guitar genius here and there of course (notably on “Machine Gun” and “Red House” but the whole thing is such a gruelling experience with an exhausted and mostly uninspired Hendrix dragging the under rehearsed Cox and Mitchell behind him through the cold, early morning. It’s as if Douglas wanted to show how badly Jimi could play when he was in bad shape.
Previously released tracks:
“God Save The Queen”, “Lover Man” and “In From The Storm” – previously on “Isle Of Wight”
“Message To Love” – previously on “First Great Rock Festivals Of The 70s: Isle Of Wight & Atlanta”
“Machine Gun”, “Red House” and “In From The Storm” – previously on “A Film About Jimi Hendrix” soundtrack album (in a slightly different form).
“Dolly Dagger” – Previously on “Jimi Hendrix Live”
All Isle Of Wight songs available today on: “Blue Wild Angel” (which is an equally grim listen)
See also DVD
Quite a modern approach here with a photo of Jimi at the festival over a night shot of the stage. A bit empty, like Jimi’s performance that night – 4/10
LIVE AT MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL ⊗
Released 1992 (ITM Media)
Can You See Me, Hey Joe, Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary, Killing Floor, Foxy Lady, Like A Rolling stone, Rock Me Baby, Wild Thing
This Italian (unofficial ?) re-release of “Jimi Plays Monterey” rearranged the running order for some stupid reason. The individual tracks are superb of course.
Two combined images of Jimi “performing” at the Monterey soundchecks. Better cover than “Jimi Plays Monterey” – 8/10
LIVE FOREVER (Sacred Sources 1) – various artists ♥♥♥
Released 1993 (Guts & Grace/Polydor)
Message To Love (1st Show), Fire (1st Show), I Don’t Live Today (2nd Show) – Berkeley Community Centre 30/05/70
Marvin Gaye – Joy, What’s going On / Bob Marley – Natural Mystic, Exodus / Stevie Ray Vaughan – Riviera Paradise / John Coltrane – Ogunde
Five legendary artists are featured in live performances of their last tours, on this first release from a label founded by Carlos Santana. As well as tracks by the wonderful John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bob Marley, Jimi is featured in great shape on three numbers from the Berkeley concerts of May 1970. The different performances merge together giving the impression that this is one mega-concert. It doesn’t really work very well as the sound quality varies enourmously (Marvin Gaye is in mono and the Coltrane track has inferior sound quality).
I Don’t Live Today – Live At Berkeley
A superb collage illustraion of the five artists in action. Jimi is in the middle, from a photo that was later used for “Live At The Fillmore East” (see below)- 10/10
Released 1994 (MCA)
Hear My Train A Comin’, Red House, Jam Back At The House (Beginning), Izabella, Fire, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Improvisation/Villanova Junction Blues
At last came a more complete set of tracks from the historic Monday morning concert, put together here by Alan Douglas. Asked why he didn’t put the complete gig out, he stated that the other material was of inferior quality (that is true for quite a lot of what went down on the day). Unfortunately Douglas applied noise reduction to the recordings and placed Mitch’s drums to far back in the mix. There is also a lot of editing (more than on the following 1999 release). To make things worse, some stadium audience noise was flown in, between each song! (Thanks to Chris M for pointing out those faults).
Jimi takes the stage just two months after the break-up of the Experience with his new, short-lived band called Gypsy Sun & Rainbows. The band had rehearsed little and were pretty loose and tatty but Jimi was relaxed and on top form. Four unreleased songs from the gig made their appearance here. The closing suite of “Voodoo Child” through to “Villanova Junction” is simply astonishing. Jimi throws in an embryonic “Stepping Stone” during “Voodoo Child” before going into his most famous performance (thanks to Michael Wadleigh’s film) of “The Star Spangled Banner“. A fascinating video was released at the same time and more from this gig was to follow five years later on the expanded 2 CD “Live At Woodstock” – see below
Tracks available today on: “Live At Woodstock”
See also DVD
This follows the same title idea as ” :Blues” with an intense gold tinged photo of Jimi in full flight at the festival – 8/10
MONTEREY INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL – various artists ♥♥♥♥
Released 1994 (Castle Communications)
SIDE 1: Still Raining, Still Dreaming, House Burning Down, All Along The Watchtower (Dylan), Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
SIDE 2: Rainy Day, Dream Away, 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be), Moon, Turn The Tides Gently Gently, Away
Killing Floor (Burnett), Foxy Lady, Like A Rolling Stone (Dylan), Rock Me Baby (King/arr. Hendrix), Hey Joe (Roberts), Can You See Me, The Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze, Wild Thing (Chip Taylor)
A 4 CD (and a vinyl box) various artists set, which contains The Experience’s performance at the festival that was previously released as “Jimi Plays Monterey” in the eighties and as “Live At Monterey” today. Thanks to Pauli for the cover shot.
> The legendary Experience set was also available briefly on the unofficial Purple Haze Records label in 2004 as part of a double 1967 CD called “No More A Rolling Stone”.
1997 re-release by Rhino/Essential
BAND OF GYPSYS (Remastered) ♥♥♥½
Released 1997 (MCA)
Who Knows, Machine Gun, Changes (Miles), Power To Love*, Message To Love, We Gotta Live Together (Miles)
This MCA remaster dropped the bonuses that were on the 1991 Alan Douglas re-issue, bringing the album back to its original form. Two of those bonuses that were omitted re-appeared on the following album
*It is bizarre that the erroneous title of “Power To Love” persists here. It is of course “Power Of Soul”.
See also DVD
LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST ♥♥½
Released 1999 (MCA)
DISC ONE – Stone Free, Power Of Soul, Hear My Train A Comin’ , Izabella, Machine Gun, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/We Gotta Live Together (Miles)
DISC TWO – Auld Lang Syne (Traditional) , Who Knows, Changes (Miles), Machine Gun, Stepping Stone, Stop (Ragovy/Shuman), Earth Blues, Burning Desire, Wild Thing (Taylor)
A new selection of tracks from the same gigs (Filmore East 31/12/69 + 1/1/70) as those which made up “Band Of Gypsys” although two tracks here had already appeared on a 90s reissue of that album and before that on the misleadingly titled “Band Of Gypsys 2”. Also, one of the versions of “Machine Gun” had been featured on “Lifelines”, though in an incomplete form. These tracks are not from the concert master tape multi-tracks but the sound quality is good (the Hendrix estate later got hold of the master tapes for the tracks on “West Coast Seattle Boy”).
Interestingly, the tracks here are from a mixdown tape that Jimi and Eddi Kramer had done in 1970 – their original mixes and production.
Firstly, it must be said that the performances here are not as good as those on the “Band Of Gypsys” album (Jimi had picked the best in assembling that album) but there are one or two interesting things here nonetheless. The always fascinating versions of “Machine Gun” being the obvious example. “Hear My Train a Comin” (which Jimi introduces as “Lonesome Train”) is also good.
The opener here, “Stone Free”, is perplexing at first, due to a rather strained vocal from Jimi, plus Buddy Miles’s metronome drumming and “soul brother” backing vocals, but the extended guitar solo that follows from Jimi is just devastating (as already underlined in the McDermott/Kramer book). I’ve been a Hendrix fan since the early seventies and he still surprises me. Not just a guitar solo, it goes beyond that.
Jimi was evidently on stunning form for these concerts, pulling out some great solos despite the rather awkward sound that the band produced. However, on some of the newer songs (“Stepping Stone”, “Earth Blues” and “Burning Desire”) it is clear that he wasn’t yet fully confident with them, his vocals particularly lacking conviction. Jimi even explains that the songs are incomplete and that they are just “messin’ around with them“. On some numbers he just seems to strum along and is even out of tune. I get the impression that he knew which numbers were going in the can for the eventual album and for the rest of the sets he thought “what the hell”. Also, by this time, Jimi had tired of putting on a tight “show” and began to play things down on stage, saying often “… we’re just jamming” or turning to his musicians and asking “What d’ya wanna play ?” These tracks might be interesting to the experienced fan (no pun intended) but really they should not have been released for the wider public. A Dagger release would have been more appropriate. In his book, Eddie Kramer made a point of indicating that Alan Douglas had put out some sub-standard Hendrix, but here, Experience Hendrix are just as guilty.
Interestingly, on CD2, you can actually hear the sixties come to an end in real time as the countdown to 1970 gets under way, after which Jimi gives his own rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” which segues into a half-hearted and shortened “Who Knows”.
During these shows the band did play “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady”, “Hey Joe” and “Fire” (a snippet of which is on the “Band Of Gypsys” DVD) but they were left off here, in an effort to underline Jimi’s shift in direction. The old Experience numbers were pretty rough because Buddy Miles’ style just didn’t sound right. We do have “Wild Thing” here and it is a bit rough. “Foxy Lady” had been included on “Band Of Gypsys 2” but it didn’t get a chance here. “Voodoo Chile” is okay I suppose but it segues straight into “We Gotta Live Together” where Miles then asks the audience to chant with him, which comes over as quite corny now*. Jimi had used part of that same song to close his “Band Of Gypsys” album.
All this is a million miles from The Jimi Hendrix Experience and it’s no wonder that Jimi’s management were eager to get Mitch and Noel back behind Jimi (Mitch did eventually come back of course but Cox remaind on bass through 1970). Check “Atlanta 70” (on “Stages”) or “Live At Berkeley” to assess Jimi’s next line up.
A Band Of Gypsys. An innovative experiment by Jimi, a few surprises, a lot of disappointments, but still fascinating.
*You can hear what Jimi thought about this sort of “soul revue” routine on “Live At Clark University” (1968 interview ). He’d been through it in his younger days and here he was with Buddy Miles taking him right back to where he had begun. No wonder he quickly disolved the Band Of Gypsys.
> Three more songs from these concerts appeared in 2010 on the “West Coast Seattle Boy” box set and many more in the Songs For Groovy Children box set.
See also DVD
Same typo as “Band Of Gypsys” and a superb shot of Jimi gettin’ down to business at the Fillmore (during “Foxy Lady”- absent here) – 10/10
This US 3 track (+ mini video) promotional sampler CD was distributed to the press and radio stations.
1. Stepping Stone
2. Machine Gun
4. CD Rom section – Interviews with Billy Cox and Eddie Kramer + Who Knows (Live)
LIVE AT OAKLAND COLISEUM ♥♥♥
Released 1999 (Dagger Records) – Mail order only
Fire, Hey Joe, Spanish Castle Magic, Hear My Train A Comin’, Red House, Foxy Lady, Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
A Dagger Records mail order only release. This first release by the label was this remarkably good quality audience recording, in mono, of the Experience (April 27 1969), it was remastered under Eddie Kramer’s supervision. The problem with so many audience tapes (particularly from this era), is that the recordings lack fidelity to fully appreciate the shows. Here however, all instruments come across pretty well (even the drums if one boosts the treble) giving a balanced overall sound.
On “Hey Joe”, Jimi slips in some anti-vietnam war comments into the lyrics. As usual “Spanish Castle Magic” has some fine solo explorations from Jimi. For “Voodoo Chile” Noel Redding plays rhythm guitar when the band are joined again by Jack Casady on bass (as at the Winterland 68 gigs). Jimi introduces him as Jack Bruce (of Cream) by mistake at the end ! This gig took place the night after the LA Forum gig (that was put out in the “Lifelines” box set) and again you can sense Jimi’s more distant manner. He had his reasons, the incessant touring, which he had long since had enough of, aswell as the collapse of relations within the band and with his management.
More concerts, studio tapes and home demos are promised from Dagger Records. Keep in touch with the official web site (www.jimi-hendrix.com) for details of this and future releases.
Lively typo and it does show Jimi at the actual gig – 7/10
LIVE AT WOODSTOCK ♥♥♥♥
Released 1999 (MCA)
CD 1 – Message To Love, Hear My Train A Comin’, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, Lover Man, Foxy Lady, Jam Back At The House (Beginning)
CD 2 – Izabella, Fire, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Improvisation/Villanova Junction, Hey Joe (Roberts)
The never-ending Woodstock saga continued with this double CD release (put together by Eddie Kramer this time), which must have infuriated those who had bought the Alan Douglas single CD version five years earlier. Jimi was the headlining act for the festival and was programmed to close the event on the Sunday night, in front of the estimated 400,000 visitors to the site. Things ran late, so the band ended up playing at 9 a.m. on Monday morning in front of some 25000 die hard fans! Jimi said a year later (N.M.E. September 5, 1070 and in Tony Brown’s The Final Days) “Strangely there were only around 15,000 people left when we played at Woodstock as I insisted on playing in daylight which meant waiting until the fourth day and most of the kids had split by then” – so the Monday morning appearance wasn’t due to the festival running late.
Jimi’s new band is introduced as The Jimi Hendrix Experience but Jimi makes a point of correcting that, telling the audience that this line-up is called “Gypsy Sun & Rainbows” … for short, it’s nothing but a band of gypsies” , a little hint of what lay ahead. It’s Mitch in the drum seat however and he drives things along with Jimi and Billy Cox as the other musicians try to keep up. Mitch: “The band was a shambles.”
Five previously unreleased numbers made their appearance on this album. This still doesn’t give us the complete concert. Bootleg recordings reveal that on the day, guitarist Larry Lee sang a couple of numbers (The Impression’s “Gypsy Woman” and one of his own songs called “Mastermind”) which were very raggedy and sung out of tune, almost amateur-hour. The two songs can be heard on the full concert tapes of course and it’s interesting to hear Jimi supplying (superb) back up guitar and vocals I suppose but it was the right decision to leave them off this release. The booklet admits also that some of Lee’s out of tune guitar playing had to be chopped out, so we are spared his guitar solo on “Red House” for example. We do get to hear his contributions on “Beginning” and “Voodoo Child” however. In fact Eddie Kramer made a good job of tidying up the recording on the whole, delivering a very good album.
The booklet does tend to run down the performance somewhat and even in the John McDermott/Eddie Kramer book, Kramer admits that at the time, he thought the gig marked the beginning of the end. In retrospect, that is a bit unfair. It was their debut gig and it took place first thing on a cold Monday morning, after just about everyone had left the party. Not the most inspiring of situations. Mitch also said that the welcome and atmosphere at the Woodstock site was lousy, “Peace and love or I’ll break your arm“. So under the circumstances, I’d say the band’s performance is miraculous. It is a ramshackle affair but Jimi is on top form.
Jimi was himself unhappy with the results of this morning performance and that his new band’s scheduled position as final night headliners had been botched. It’s true that the band were very untogether compared to The Experience, but good old Mitch and Billy Cox do lock together quite well, as a foretaste of their future teaming in 1970. It is a shame that Larry Lee’s back up guitar and the percussion section didn’t take this formation into decisive new territories, but that said, the music here is a delight as Jimi’s strong playing carries everything along in it’s wake.
The opening “Message To Love” (introduced as “Message To The Universe” by Jimi) is a bit tatty, but the song was in its early stages. Despite some great soloing, “Lover Man” also gets a little tied up, Jimi even going back to the old “Rock Me Baby” lyrics at one stage. The only real moment when some constructive interaction is attempted is on “Beginning“, before Jimi takes hold of the riff, driving it on and on hypnotically and punctuating it with a stunning solo.
The climax suite, from “Voodoo Child” to the last waltz of “Villanova Junction” is just brilliant, Jimi seems to have limitless creative energy as he winds up the set, the festival, the sixties, and the whole hippy movement (as Vernon Reid describes in the booklet).
When you think, it took thirty years for all of this to get to us.
> Some who had seen Jimi at Woodstock claim that the band played “Wild Thing” at the end also, which seems unlikely and nothing has ever surfaced to confirm this (you can hear fans calling for the song before “Hey Joe” which must be at the root of the rumour).
See also DVD
A photo of Jimi tuning up before he went on stage at Woodstock is used to good effect here with some cool lettering – 9/10
The 2005 triple vinyl re-release features this extra 7″ of “Message To The Universe”/”Izabella”. These are studio versions and must be the tracks already seen on “South Saturn Delta” and the purple box set.
LIVE AT CLARK UNIVERSITY ♥♥♥♥
Released 1999 (Dagger Records) – Mail order only
Interview Jimi/Fire/Red House/Foxy Lady/Purple Haze/Wild Thing/Interview Noel/Interview Mitch/Interview Jimi
Another mail-order only release from Dagger records, available on the official Hendrix site. An excellent mono soundboard recording this time, and it’s back to March 1968 and a rare chance to hear the Experience on their 2nd American tour in Worcester, Massachusetts. This is mainly an interview disc (40 minutes of chat for only 30 minutes of music). Excellent interviews in fact, where Jimi talks with enthusiasm and at length about his past, present and future to a meticulous and insistant interviewer (Alan Palmer ?).
The excerpts of the gig are superb, capturing the force of the Jimi Hendrix Experience on a regular tour date in 1968 (“… these are early days” says Jimi in the first interview). “Red House” features the up-tempo arrangement like on the original studio version. The tape slips a little at the beginning of “Purple Haze” and “Wild Thing” (reminding me that those tracks used to be on the “Broadcasts” bootleg all those years ago). “Foxy Lady” is perfect and that “Wild Thing” is even better than the Monterey version (Noel’s co-vocals come across very well). The band played two sets that night and Jimi played “The Star Spangled Banner” for the first known occasion but it is unfortunately absent here.
Some of the gig was filmed by Alan Palmer and sequences turned up in his 55 minute film “All My Loving” later in the year and since then in various documentaries.
Photo from the gig I think. Nice idea to put Jimi’s name in the spotlight – 8/10
The live tracks from this album were released on vinyl (Sony Legacy April 2010) – see Posthumous live releases 2010.
>>>> See the Univibe fanzine CDs <<<<
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