LIVE AT CLARK UNIVERSITY – vinyl re-release ♥♥♥½
Released 2010 (Sony Legacy)
SIDE 1: Fire, Red House, Foxy Lady
SIDE 2: Purple Haze, Wild Thing
Experience Hendrix respond to the new found popularity of vinyl with this limited edition release to commemorate 2010 Record Store Day on April 17, 2010 in the USA.
These are of course the same recordings as the 1999 Dagger Records release but this time without the 40 minutes of interviews with the band. That makes two pretty short sides but this is a nice object for collectors.
A nice use of a ticket and a photo from the gig – 7/10
CD single. August 2020 (Sony)
Like A Rolling Stone / Spanish Castle Magic
As a taster for the up-coming Winterland CD and box-set is this two track CD single. This is the first official release of this version of “Like A Rolling Stone” (from the October 12th 1st show). “Spanish Castle Magic” (from the 2nd show on October 11th – not included in the following Winterland box set!) was only previously through the Univibes fanzine (on the CD “Calling Long Distance”), so it’s fair to give it “previously unreleased” status here.
7″ vinyl single. August 2020 (Sony)
Johnny B .Goode / Purple Haze
That’s the good old Berkeley version of “Johnny B. Goode” (yet again) plus a previously unreleased version of “Purple Haze” from the Winterland October 10th 1968 – 1st show (which is also not included in the Winterland box set pop-pickers!).
HENDRIX IN THE WEST ♥♥♥♥
Released September 2011 (Sony Legacy)
The Queen (IOW), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (IOW), Little Wing (Winterland), Fire (San Diego 69), I Don’t Live Today (San Diego 69), Spanish Castle Magic (San Diego 69), Red House (San Diego 69), Johnny B. Goode (Berkeley), Lover Man (Berkeley), Blue Suede Shoes (Berkeley), Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (San Diego 69)
An unexpected “re-release” (not really) of the classic 70s live compilation, with bonus tracks. The running order is loosly based on the original US track listing (I much prefer the old European running order which opened with the double whammy of “Johnny B. Goode”/”Lover Man”, but there you go).
Note that five of the original “In The West” tracks had already been collected together in the MCA 2000 purple box set (“Johnny B. Goode”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Red House” and the original superior Royal Albert Hall versions of “Little Wing” and “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”. That box set was re-released in 2013 on Sony with the Albert Hall tracks still in place, so why weren’t they included here? – because the original agreement with Goldstein only authorised their release on the purple box. The two tracks are sorely missed here but their replacement performances are still great.
So this new compilation is really a sort of fusion of “Hendrix In The West” and “Stages 69” (San Diego Sports Arena) as four extra tracks from the latter are included. It’s a shame they used those San Diego tracks here, because a complete concert release of that performance with the new Eddie Kramer mix would have been much more worthwhile. The substitute “Little Wing” is from the Winterland (it’s also on both the Winterland releases below!). It’s great but doesn’t quite match the beauty of the Albert Hall recording.
I don’t really understand the logic of this release, either in marketing or creative terms, coming as it does at the same time as the new Winterland releases. What are they thinking? All of this material has been previously released in some form or other but this is an exciting compilation (maybe I should really put it on the Compilations page?).
Note that the San Diego “Red House” sounds better in the purple box (superior tape source). Why did they get it wrong for this album?
Here is a breakdown of the sources:
The Queen/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Isle of Wight, August 30, 1970) – previously on “Hendrix In The West”, “Isle Of Wight”, “Blue Wild Angel”
Little Wing (Winterland, October 12, 1968 – 2nd Show) – previously on “Jimi Hendrix Concerts” and also on both of the following Winterland releases!
Fire (San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969) – previously on “Stages 69”
I Don’t Live Today (San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969) – previously on “Jimi Hendrix Concerts”, “Kiss The Sky” and “Stages 69”
Red House (San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969) – previously on “Hendrix In The West”, “Stages 69”, puple box
Johnny B. Goode (Berkeley Community Theatre, May 30, 1970 – 1st Show) – previously on “Hendrix In The West”, film soundtrack, Johnny B. Goode, purple box
Lover Man (Berkeley Community Theatre, May 30, 1970 – 2nd Show) – previously on “Hendrix In The West”, “Live At Berkeley”
Blue Suede Shoes (Berkeley Community Theatre, May 30, 1970 – soundcheck) – previously on “Hendrix In The West”, purple box
Spanish Castle Magic (San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969) – previously on “Stages 69”
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969) – previously on “Stages 69”
> An error on some pages of the booklet has the San Diego concert down for the May 25. The same error had been made in the purple box set!
A great photo by top rock photographer Jim Marshall of Jimi on stage at… the Winterland (just to add to the general confusion!) – 9/10
Another blue shirt Winterland photo was used for the “Johnny B. Goode” single (further up) and another for the 2001 “Voodoo Chile” compilation.
WINTERLAND – 1 CD version ♥♥♥♥½
Released September 2011 (Sony Legacy)
Fire (Oct. 12th-1st show), Foxy Lady (12th-2nd), Like A Rolling Stone (12th-1st), Hey Joe (11th-2nd), Hear My Train A Comin’ (10th-2nd), Sunshine Of Your Love (10th-2nd), Little Wing (12th-2nd), Are You Experienced (10th-1st), Manic Depression (12th-2nd), Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (10th-1st), Purple Haze (11th-2nd)
Rather overshadowed by the Winterland box set below comes also this superb single “Best Of” or “highlights” CD and what a fantastic Experience live album it is. It fuses together tracks that were previously featured on “Jimi Hendrix Concerts” and “Live At Winterland” plus three previously unreleased recordings, which are also in the box set below (released at the same time).
In the booklet, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” is erroneously attributed to the October 12th show). That “Little Wing” is also on the above “In The West” album! Bonkers.
Previously released tracks:
Fire, Hear My Train A Comin’, Little Wing, Are You Experienced, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – previously on Jimi Hendrix Concerts
Sunshine Of Your Love, Manic Depression – previously on Live At Winterland
> In the book “Setting The Record Straight”, John McDermott slammed the Winterland performances as being below par, sloppy, rusty. It’s true that there were technical and tuning problems here and there (as with practically every Hendrix performance because of the strain that he inflicted on his equipment) but with some cherry-picking there are plenty of satisfying songs in all this.
A bit kitsch and over the top but I like it! – 8/10
WINTERLAND – 4CD & 8 LP box sets ♥♥♥♥
Released September 2011 (Sony)
DISC 1: 10 Oct 68 2nd show (except where shown), – Tax Free, Lover Man, Sunshine of Your Love (1), Hear My Train A Comin’ (2), Killing Floor (3), Foxy Lady (1st Show), Hey Joe, Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze
DISC 2: 11 Oct 68 2nd show (except where shown), – Tax Free (4), Like a Rolling Stone (5), Lover Man, Hey Joe, Fire (6), Foxy Lady (7), Are You Experienced (1st Show) (8), Red House (1st Show) (9), Purple Haze
DISC 3: 12 Oct 68 1st & 2nd shows – Fire (1st Show) (10), Lover Man (1st Show), Like a Rolling Stone (1st Show), Manic Depression (11), Sunshine of Your Love, Little Wing (12) , Spanish Castle Magic (13), Red House , Hey Joe (1st Show) (14), Purple Haze (1st Show)(15), Wild Thing (1st Show) (16)
DISC 4: From each night – Foxy Lady (12th-/2nd), Are You Experienced (10th-1st) (17), Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (10th-1st) (18), Red House (10th-1st) (19), Star Spangled Banner (hybrid of Oct.10th 1st/11th 1st show performances), Purple Haze (11th-1st), + 19 min Backstage interview (Framingham 1968)
Outer bonus disc included for some distributors: Killing Floor , Red House ,Catfish Blues and Dear Mr. Fantasy (Parts 1 & 2) – previously on the Dagger CD “Paris 67/San Francisco 68” – see below.
So that’s 16 previously unreleased tracks.
The other 20 tracks were previously available on the following albums (with different mixes and with lengths).
(1) Live At Winterland
(2) Jimi Hendrix Concerts
(3) Live At Winterland
(4) Live At Winterland
(5) Winterland +3
(6) Live At Winterland
(7) Live At Winterland
(8) Winterland +3 (but without Virgil Gonsalves flute)
(9) Winterland +3
(10) Jimi Hendrix Concerts & Voodoo Child compilation
(11) Live At Winterland
(12) Jimi Hendrix Concerts & the new Hendrix In The West album
(13) Live At Winterland
(14) Live At Winterland & Voodoo Child compilation
(15) Live At Winterland
(16) Live At Winterland & Jimi Hendrix Concerts
(17) Jimi Hendrix Concert
(18) Jimi Hendrix Concerts
(19) Red House: Variations on A Theme
(20) Calling Long Distance – very rare CD exclusive to subscribers to Univibes magazine (so “previously unreleased” for general consumption).
Other Winterland recordings released detailed further up:
– The CD single tracks:
Like A Rolling Stone (12th/1st) / Spanish Castle Magic (11th/2nd) (20) – This “Spanish Castle Magic) is not included in the box set
– The vinyl single (B-side of Johnny B.Goode):
Purple Haze (10th/1st) – This “Purple Haze” is not included in the box set
– Note also that the October 10th version of Like A Rolling Stone was added the the 2013 re-release of the purple box.
Experience Hendrix were aware that the fans were very frustrated by the delay of the Royal Albert Hall CD/DVD (which was not their fault I must stress) so as ample compensation came this Winterland box set. This had been promised for some time from the Estate and it was great to see it finally in the shops.
Not absolutely all of the songs performed at the shows but certainly the best of of them. Many tracks were of course previously featured on the Alan Douglas produced albums “Jimi Hendrix Concerts” and “Live At Winterland” back in the 80s but there is much more here and it’s great to hear all this with Eddie Kramer’s new mix and production. The atmospheric reverb that Alan Douglas had applied to his 80s releases is not present here, giving a cleaner, in-your-face sound (though perhaps a little too “dry”).
This new collection really is a treat but many fans have expressed their disappointment that the complete shows are not featured this time. Effort has been made to present the performances as cleanly as possible but the order of play has been all messed up and shuffled around, which is a shame. If only they had assembled a “best of” each night in a logical order, plus a fourth “best of the rest” disc. That aside, this box is crammed with fantastic live music, so let’s dive in:
CD1 October 10th – mostly the 2nd show
Nearly all of the first set is present in this box set but most of it is on CD4! So straight in, one is a little disorientated. Perhaps Experience Hendrix thought that it wasn’t a good idea to open with previously released tracks of the first show. This is a shame as Jimi had ceremoniously kicked off the six show residency with that fantastic “Are You Experienced” (featured on “JH Concerts”) which ends up as track two of CD4. I recommend that it is better to start with CD 4 before listening to CD 1.
So the box set begins with the second show of the evening, and as if the pause between shows was but an interlude, the band continue on with a mammoth 13 minute exploration around “Tax Free”. It’s a great version and wonderful to hear Jimi and the guys taking off, just to see where it goes. About eight minutes in, Mitch goes into a solo, before Jimi brings it back together with style. A terrific “Lover Man” takes us then into that solid “Sunshine Of Your Love” that was on “Live At Winterland” where Noel does his thang with a moody and fuzzy bass solo while Jimi supports with funky rhythm chops until he comes back in with the “Outside Woman Blues” riff and general madness. Like with the old album, this version omits about 30 seconds of the recording.
Then comes the fantastic “Hear My Train” that we know from “Jimi Hendrix Concerts” but this time in its unedited form. This gives us the part where Jimi scat-sings in parallel to his guitar and a little off-key (which is why Alan Douglas chopped it out!).
“Killing Floor” (another old “Live In Winterland” favorite) follows as the band are joined onstage by bassist Jack Cassidy of Jefferson Airplane, who plugged into the same amp as Noel. Jimi leaves Jack the space to solo here and there, which doesn’t quite come off (not easy for bass players to stand out as soloists) but overall it’s a great rocking version of the song and a departure from the more concise version that we cherish from Monterey. This version is a little shorter than the previous official version.
Next up is the “Foxy Lady” from the first set (messy compiling) and Jimi’s guitar is a little out of tune (“I’m out of tune but hell…”) however he still pulls off a killer version featuring an absolutely fabulous central solo. Back to the second show of the night again with Cassidy still present for a convincing “Hey Joe” on automatic pilot complete with a neat tooth picked solo at the end.
Jimi then goes into “This Is America” and it’s interesting to hear how he ambitiously intended this to be an impression of all that is America, through sound. It begins with the type of prelude that he often used as the build up to his show stopping “Purple Haze” or “Wild Thing” through 1967 and early ’68. He makes every noise he can think of for over three minutes, painting a giant tapestry of sound (in which there is a quick nod to Eddie Cochran’s “20 Flight Rock”), then he drifts into “The Star Spangled Banner” with Mitch supplying great support and it all logically segues into a rather sluggish “Purple Haze” with tuning problems and forgotten words. This version of “This Is America/SSB” is in fact a hybrid edit of the versions from the 10th and 11th (not something that I really appreciate).
CD2 – October 11th – mostly the 2nd show
We also begin here with the second show for some curious reason and it’s “Tax Free” again, which follows a similar path to the version of the night before. This is the performance that was on “Live At Winterland” and like on that album, Kramer has edited out the long (and inspired) improvised jam from Mitch and Noel while Jimi had amp trouble.
The band are then joined on-stage by Herbie Rich of the Electric Flag and they go into an epic “Like A Rolling Stone” which features a beautiful long guitar intro from Jimi. Previously heard on “Winterland +3” this is more developed than the infamous Monterey version and I much prefer it with its more relaxed approach. Rich’s organ was unfortunately out of tune (as the bootlegs cruelly reveal) but Kramer has made a good job of subduing him in the most painful moments and what remains does add a more dramatic and Dylanesque tone to the performance. Jimi’s guitar also drifts out of tune at the close unfortunately. On “Winterland +3” Alan Dougles had in fact edited out Rich’s organ on that song. The organist continues with the band through a strong “Lover Man” but has his painful solo thankfully edited out by Kramer for this box set. The organ on “Hey Joe” is also mixed way down but works in quite nicely in parts although some ugly screeching does creep in towards the end of the song and also in parts of the following songs “Fire” and “Foxy Lady” (which were both on “Live In Winterland” without the organ). The band are back to a trio for the final “Purple Haze” but before that song we have two numbers from the first show. First comes a fantastic “Are You Experienced” which develops into a jam with Virgil Gonsalves on flute. Alan Douglas had edited out the flute on the mix that appeared on “Winterland +3” but had at least left in Jimi’s beautiful overture which is brutally cut out here! A scandalous omission. Gonsalves flute is thankfully present this time around but is held back in the mix, leaving Jimi’s rhythmic strumming up front, which is rather silly. The jam has also been edited down here (about four minutes are missing) which is again a shame, but when Jimi comes back in, he’s just awesome. “Red House” (also on “Winterland +3”) follows and it’s a terrific version with a passionate vocal.
CD3 – October 12th – tracks from both shows of the night
This disc opens and closes with songs from the first show of the last night with five songs from the second show in the middle and this is perhaps the best of the four CDs in the pack. The first three impeccable songs of the first set open the proceedings: the great “Fire” (which we remember as the thrilling “Live At Winterland” opener) , another killer “Lover Man” and a “Like A Rolling Stone” which is even better than the October 11th version and was a CD single in parallel to this collection.
Into the second set with that fabulous and rarely played “Manic Depression” (also on “Live At Winterland”). Interesting to note that on “Sunshine Of Your Love” we hear the humorous spoken introduction from Jimi with the actual song performance that followed it (and not the October 10th version that followed the spoken intro on “Live At Winterland”).
The nice “Little Wing” was on “JH Concerts”, “SCM” was on “Live At Winterland” (the amp trouble is much more evident here) then we have the previously unreleased “Red House” complete with Jimi’s apology for the faulty sound system. It’s far from the best “Red House” we’ve heard but has some lovely moments as usual. Unfortunatly again, the performance is edited down, losing a good two and a half minutes! The CD closes with the final three songs of the early evening show (all three were on “Live At Winterland”).
“Bonus” CD4 – various tracks from each night of the 3-day residency
This last CD of the box features choice tracks from all three nights, which didn’t fit on the other three discs. The new “Foxy Lady” (from the last show) loses about 40 seconds of Jimi’s long intro. Then come the three performances with which Jimi had so monumentally opened the Winterland residency on October 10th, namely: “Are You Experienced”, “Voodoo Chile Slight Return”, “Red House”, before we get the other suite of “This Is America/SSB/Purple Haze” from the early evening show of the 11th (however Jimi’s intro chat is from the 10th! Aaargh!). Older fans will recognise there, Jimi’s citation of the “Bonanza” TV series theme tune during the feedback sound-painting that is “This Is America”.
The disc closes with an interesting interview which (according to the December issue of Univibes – thanks Caesar!) was not recorded at Boston Gardens (as the cover says) but in a trailer at the back of the Carousel Theatre in Framingham, Massachusettes on August 25, 1968. The interview was conducted by Ted Scourtis for the underground magazine “New England Scene” who published it (with many errors apparently) in issue #15 of November 1968. You can hear Noel Redding strumming away on acoustic guitar in the background and it’s an interesting interview (as always) but it’s a shame that these precious 19 minutes of CD/vinyl space wasn’t used for more music! It’s not as if one keeps going back to listen again and again to an interview. They could have put the unedited performance of “Are You Experienced” from October 11 as a bonus for example.
So all in all, despite all the annoying flaws, this is a great box set with fantastic sound quality and some simply awesome music from The Jimi Hendrix Experience (but don’t disgard your bootlegs of the complete shows).
I think this graphic worked better on the single CD “Winterland” album. This looks like a cheap box of chocolates.
A curious thing about the booklet, Noel is only seen blurred in one photo and Mitch is hardly present either. It’s just photo after photo of Jimi performing. I would have preferred to see more group photos. – 4/10
THE WINTERLAND SET LISTS & SOURCES:
Oct 10 68
1st SHOW: Are You Experienced*, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)*, Red House*, Foxy Lady*, Like A Rolling Stone, This is America* ,Purple Haze**
2nd SHOW: Tax Free*, Lover Man*, Sunshine Of your Love*, Hear my Train A Comin*, Killing Floor*, Hey Joe*, This is America*, Purple Haze*
Oct 11 68
1st SHOW: Are You Experienced*, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), Red House*, Foxy Lady, Star Spangled Banner*, Purple Haze*
2nd SHOW:Tax Free*, Spanish Castle Magic, Like A Rolling Stone*, Lover Man*, Hey Joe*, Fire*, Foxy Lady*, Purple Haze*
Oct 12 68
1st SHOW: Fire*, Lover Man*, Like A Rolling Stone*, Foxy Lady, Tax Free, Hey Joe*, Purple Haze*, Wild Thing*
2nd SHOW: Foxy Lady*, Manic Depression*, Sunshine of your Love*, Little Wing*, Spanish Castle Magic*, Red House*, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), This is America, Purple Haze
Jimi Hendrix Concerts (“Fire” also on Voodoo Chile compilation and “Little Wing” also on the new In The West)
Live At Winterland (“Hey Joe” also on Voodoo Chile compilation)
Calling Long Distance + 2011 CD single
Red House: Variations On A Theme
“The Jimi Hendrix Experience” purple box set re-release on Sony
Winterland (2011 one CD version) – all the underlined tracks
* Winterland box set
** Flip-side of “Johnny B. Goode” vinyl single
The 10 tracks missing from the box set (and where you can find them):
October 10th – 1st show:
Like A Rolling Stone – extra track in the 2013 purple box re-release
Purple Haze – B side of the 2011 “Johnny B. Goode” vinyl single
October 11th – 1st show:
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – Winterland +3
Foxy Lady – unofficial sources
October 11th – 2nd show:
Spanish Castle Magic – Track 2 of 2011 CD single
October 12th – 1st show:
Foxy Lady – unofficial sources
Tax Free – unofficial sources
October 12th – 2nd show:
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – unofficial sources
This Is America/Star Spangled Banner – unofficial sources
Purple Haze – unofficial sources
> The entire shows have been in the shops before of course on the unnofficial “3 Nights At Winterland” from Reclamation Records but that is said to have been sourced from MP3s of simple soundboard and audience recordings (to be confirmed).
Bonus CD with the Winterland box (through certain distributors):
SAN FRANCISCO 1968 ♥♥♥♥
Released September 2011 (Dagger)
Killing Floor , Red House , Catfish Blues and Dear Mr. Fantasy (Parts 1 & 2)
This was nice little gift from Experience Hendrix to the fans who don’t already have the Dagger CD “Paris 67/San Francisco 68” from which these tracks are taken. This was recorded at the Fillmore West, San Francisco on February 4th, 1968.
The original 2003 Dagger CD of this featured one extra track, “Purple Haze” but it was incomplete, missing the very end of the song, so this must be why they decided to drop it here, to keep things neat for a regular industry distribution.
This is a simple cardboard sleeve and that must be Jimi in action at the Fillmore West. Nice. – 8/10
LIVE IN COLOGNE ♥♥
Released 2012 on vinyl and 2013 on CD (Dagger Records) – mail order only
Come On (Let The Good Times Roll), Foxy Lady, Red House, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Fire, Spanish Castle Magic, Hey Joe, Sunshine Of Your Love: Star Spangled Banner: Purple Haze
After a long wait came a new Dagger release. I knew this would appear one day and came out on what would have been Jimi’s 70th birthday. The recording was in the audio streaming section of the official site a few years ago. It was the best sounding show that they had on streaming so that’s why it was quickly pulled, to keep it aside for an eventual Dagger release. So it’s a familiar show that has also been circulating for years as a bootleg.
This was initially a double vinyl only release a CD version followed later.
This recording of the performance at the Sporthalle, Cologne Germany (13 January 1969) from the short North European tour has quite good sound. It’s from a very good quality audience tape but it sounds more like a rough soundboard recording. There are some fluctuations but on the whole, all instruments come across well and Jimi’s guitar is nice and raw.
It’s great to hear Jimi blast in with “Come On (Part 1)” (as it was titled on “Electric Ladyland”) and this is the first appearance of a live version of the song on an official release. The rest is the regular repertoire of the 1969 tours with Jimi still leaning heavily on his 1967 material. It’s a standard tour date for the band (they had announced their up-coming split in order to persue personnal projects), so it does sound a little “routine” here and there, with Jimi sometimes hurrying things along. As usual however, the performance is loaded with some stunning guitar playing. “Red House” is fantastic but has slight drop in loudness at one point. “Purple Haze” features a simply amazingly frantic and extreme finale from Jimi.
A nice photo but we have seen it so many times before (it was used in the late 80s for the cover of “Live & Unreleased – The Radio Show” and the various artists tribute album “Searching For Jimi Hendrix”). I would have preferred a more exhuberant stage photo. 5/10
MIAMI POP FESTIVAL ♥♥♥½
Hey Joe, Foxy Lady, Tax Free, Fire*, Hear My Train A Comin’*, I Don’t Live Today, Red House, Purple Haze
Bonus tracks (afternoon show): Foxy Lady , Fire
* Previously released on “Calling Long Distance” – a very rare CD exclusive to subscribers to Univibes magazine (so “previously unreleased” for general consumption).
1968 was the year when the original Jimi Hendrix Experience were at their peak. The following year came disillusionment as Jimi felt that the band were repeating themselves. So at the Miami Pop Festival, we find them full of passion and riding on a crest of a wave, shortly before their brief tour of Italy.
Like at the Winterland, Miami is a professional multi-track recording made by Eddie Kramer (at the demand of Jimi). We already had some excellent songs from this gig on the official “Calling Long Distance” (Univibes 1992) and on various bootlegs (“1968 A.D.” for example) and they gave us an indication that the recordings caught the band on a good day. They in fact played an afternoon and an evening show (unusual at pop festivals) and this album mixes the two performances together to create a neat flow, with the repeated songs tagged on as “bonuses”.
It opens just like a bootleg, with the MC announcement and general tune-ups before they go into a superb “Hey Joe” complete with a grand two minute fanfare introduction. Then we hear a great series of crowd pleasing hits, all brilliantly executed and we are also treated to some cool jamming on “Hear My Train A Comin” (only the second live performance of the song), “Red House” and “Tax Free” for good measure. Great playing from Jimi and the guys, especially Mitch (who recounted in his autobiography that he and Jimi were as high as kites on acid at the festival).
So after the very long wait, this was a very rewarding release with great sound and an essential addition to the collection for any Hendrix fan.
Here are the actual set-lists from the two shows (which shows that only a version of “Purple Haze” is missing).
Afternoon show: Tax Free, Foxy Lady, Fire, Hear My Train A Comin’, Purple Haze
Evening show: Hey Joe, Fire, I Don’t Live Today, Foxy Lady, Red House, Purple Haze
We had hoped that his release would have been backed up by a stand-alone DVD release but alas only fragments of the performances seem to have survived (no CBS news team footage has been found) and the sequences are included as bonuses (along with other rare film from Randall Island and Fehmarn in 1970!) with a new documentary DVD titled “Hear My Train A Comin” which was released the same month (a shortened version for TV was shown in many countries).
A very nicely balanced cover shot of Jimi on stage during the afternoon show. – 8/10
Fire/Foxy Lady – vinyl single. November 29, 2013 (Sony)
Heads up collectors, this vinyl single was released at the same time.
What a fabulous photo of the man in action.
Purple Haze / Freedom – 7″ vinyl single
Released April 2015 (Sony) – USA only, for Record Store Day
After the shock announcement that Experience Hendrix were releasing their own compilation of the Ed Chalpin PPX tapes came this information that a couple of Atlanta 70 tracks were being released as a vinyl single. That “Freedom” is previously unreleased, being absent from the “Stages” box set that was released in the early 90s.
FREEDOM: Atlanta Pop Festival ♥♥½
Released: 28 August 2015 (Sony)
CD1 – Fire, Lover Man, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, Room Full Of Mirrors, Hear My Train A Comin’, Message To Love
CD2 – All Along The Watchtower (Dylan), Freedom, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), Stone Free/Star Spangled Banner/Straight Ahead
At last came a neat presentation of the Atlanta Pop Festival performance. The previous release of extracts from this gig appeared 24 years ago as part of the “Stages” live box set (the concert running order was all mixed up on that release). “All Along The Watchtower” had been on the “Johnny B. Goode” compilation (1986). This time however the new Kramer mix is much better.
So 1970, deep into the last American tour and Jimi, Mitch and Billy were off to the gigantic Atlanta Pop Festival in a heatwave on the fourth of July. Outsizing Woodstock of a year earlier, this was the biggest US audience that Jimi had ever faced (a couple of months later at the Isle Of Wight festival he would face the largest crowd of his short career). Unfortunately, this multi-track recording catches Jimi on a bad night.
Looking at the film footage of the concert, Jimi was apparently totally fed up that night (the heat, a headache, girl trouble,…?) but on record it comes across as a fairly good to disappointing show. The show is of course better than what was presented on “Stages – 70”. The Alan Douglas production on that 90s release had always put me off, with its over-separation of the instruments and the dry guitar sound. This new Eddie Kramer engineered production (mastered by Bernie Grundman) is much better.
Jimi blasts off with three Experience era power rockers: “Fire”, “Lover Man” and “Spanish Castle Magic” which has that lovely moment where Jimi slips in brief a citation of “The Breeze And I”. Then he takes the band into “Red House” which has its moments but doesn’t come neatly together like the infamous San Diego 69 or Randalls Island 70 performances of the song. It’s almost as if Jimi’s attention wanders here and there (something was bugging him). Then comes a rare live rendition of “Room Full Of Mirrors” (“… a thing that we’re gonna have on our new LP” Jimi said on the night – a quote absent from this album). The richly assembled studio version is only really evoked here. Listening to it today, we know where Jimi was coming from, but the audience at the time 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. Billy Cox has said that they used to try out the new songs on stage, almost as a testing ground while they were developing them in the studio. You can feel that the song is not quite defined and Jimi draws it to a rapid, desultry close.
After that excerpt from the new album, Jimi is back in a bluesy mood and continues with “Hear My Train A Comin” and it’s a pretty good version (but again, not as great as the definitive Berkeley performance). Unfortunatly at the close, things get a little tied up and Jimi hurriedly concludes it in a rather lacklustre fashion (like on “Room Full Of Mirrors”). A dreary “Message To Love” follows, concluding CD1/LP1.
The intro to “All Along The Watchtower” was missing from the multi-track recording but luckily the sound from the camera crew was patched-in to complete the song. Unfortunately, Jimi goes into the song in the wrong key and stops singing, gets in back in key and starts singing again. He keeps on fumbling the words and the rest of the performance has its moments but on the whole it’s a disappointment.
The riff of “Freedom” then chugs in and it all sounds quite strained and sluggish especially during the middle eight (which was axed from the studio version) but the guys slog on and round things fairly well before they go into a more forceful salvo of old Experience numbers.
“Foxy Lady” is text-book Hendrix perfection (brilliant solo), “Purple Haze” also, with its “Star Spangled Banner” teaser at the outset and that fantastic high-pitched climax, followed by a classic “Hey Joe” complete with a flamenco intro.
“Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” is killer, as is the superb “Stone Free” which segues right into “The Star Spangled Banner” (with fireworks on the night – see the DVD). Jimi takes the anthem right into a fantastic and rare rendition of “Straight Ahead” (a previous performance of the song appeared on “Live At Berkeley” as “Pass It On”). Note that in a September 1970 memo, Jimi had “Straight Ahead” down as the title of his new album and not “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun”). On this live version of the song, Jimi shouts “Fly straight ahead babe!” at the key moment of the ascending riff and it works nicely (a pity he dropped it from the studio version). Jimi’s vocals sound a little strained at times, particularly on the new songs. This was in part due to the fact that the very nature of those songs was more suited to the studio where he could take his time and get them down in a more controlled fashion.
On the night, “Straight Ahead” was followed by “Hey Baby” for which Jimi was woefully out of tune. The heat of night must have finally got to him and his guitar strings. Jimi realises and just lets the song amble to a dreary close without vocals as a short instrumental coda, so it was a wise decision to leave the song off this release.
So all in all a disappointing concert with a rather tired sounding and disinterested Hendrix.
> The digipack CD has a nice 24 page booklet and is more about the festival than Jimi.
A nice “Smash Hits” type montage which includes the same photo that was used on the back of “War Heroes” all those years ago.
The huge title works for the CD but it’s too enormous for the vinyl. – 8/10
Lover Man, Spanish Castle Magic, Room Full Of Mirrors, Hear My Train A-Comin’, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, Straight Ahead – previously on “Stages 70”
Fire, Stone Free – previously on “Stages 70” and “Cornerstones”
Star Spangled Banner – previously on “Stages 70” and “Johnny B. Goode”
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – previously on “Stages 70”, “Johnny B. Goode” and “Band Of Gypsys 2”
All Along The Watchtower – previously on “Johnny B. Goode”
The DVD will follow at the end of October but we should see the film on TV before that. Do we really need another Hendrix documentary? Well, from what we can gather it’ll be more like a documentary about the festival itself (like the CD booklet notes are). All this helps to spread the word around the planet about the great man I suppose.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like all the songs from the concert will be featured on the DVD. Let’s hope that the songs captured on film are presented outside of the context of the documentary, for a more concert-like experience.
MACHINE GUN – The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/1969 ♥♥½
Released: 30 September 2016 (Sony)
Power Of Soul, Lover Man, Hear My Train A Comin’, Them Changes, Izabella, Machine Gun, Stop, Ezy Ryder, Bleeding Heart, Earth Blues, Burning Desire
You know the story – as a settlement, Jimi had to deliver an album to Ed Chalpin (to be released by Capitol Records) so to avoid submitting over his latest works (which he was labouring over in the studio), he chose to play four sets over two nights at the Fillmore East in New York. He had wanted Mitch on drums for the concerts but he was in England and didn’t want to come back for the rehearsals and gigs. Jimi also wanted Stevie Winwood on keyboards but unfortunately that didn’t come together either.
So Jimi had Billy Cox and had to fall back on Buddy Miles to take drumming duties.
Free from the image constraints of the classic The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi is in a relaxed mood here and obviously enjoying the freedom of a new repertoire. His mission was to get enough down on tape for the settlement album and this first concert was perhaps adequate to fulfill that need but the following night would provide his source material for the Band Of Gypsys album that he assembled.
This set is not completely unknown to fans as a bootleg version combining soundboard and audience recordings has been circulating for years. Those bootleg recordings even found their way into legitimate shops and websites as “Two Nights At The Fillmore East” on Voodoo Chile Records (linked to the so-called Mike Jeffrey Estate).
Hendrix fans knew that this was a good set and have been hoping that it would be released one day in pristine quality and here it is. A Band Of Gypsys live at the Fillmore East, NY on December 31, 1969. Like with the extracts from these gigs heard in the West Coast Seattle Boy box set, the multi-track tapes were used. That hadn’t been the case with the previously released official album Live At The Fillmore East (see Posthumous Live Releases 90s) and three tracks from that 1999 album re-appear here with far superior sound quality (this is also available as an hybrid SACD release for the bat-eared among you).
The mix here is very central – only Buddy’s cymbals occasionally reach left and right – and the whole thing is very cleanly produced (the masters were obviously in great condition). However I feel that this album (and the box set) is lacking some true production rather than just top class engineering. Unfortunately Buddy’s heavy-handed drums are just far too up-front in the mix. He smashes everything into submission. Just awful. He was such a dominant character and heavyweight drummer that he is almost playing lead drums throughout and it is so tedious. Dreadful, two-dimensional, slamming, metronome drums, those awful drum-rolls, plus his old-time R&B vocals, woops and yelps make a lot of this hard work. This would’ve been a four star album if not for those problems, so that is why my star-rating for the album is relatively low. It’s frustrating because quite a few numbers do come across well despite all this. Billy is great as always and Jimi puts in some fantastic solos throughout the four Fillmore sets, even though in many instances he seems a little unsure or has tuning problems (as he often did because of the extreme nature of his playing).
They kick off with a fairly decent “Power Of Soul” (or “Paper Airplanes” as Jimi calls it) and it’s almost as good as the Band Of Gypsys version. The transition after the instrumental opening works better here for example but the vocals aren’t quite as together. However, as usual Buddy just slams away like a metronome with too much cymbal, awful drum rolls and unimaginative slams. It’s as if he’s over-excited and forgets about accompanying Jimi (like Mitch did so well). As it closes, Jimi’s “Thank you” sounds like he’s a little embarassed by what just happened.
Then come the two Experience staples “Lover Man” and “Hear My Train A’ Comin” (Jimi introduces the latter as “Lonesome Town”). It’s strange to hear “Lover Man” with Buddy’s drumming, slamming right in time of Jimi’s riff for example (dreadful). Great soloing from Jimi though, even under pressure from the painfully stiff Miles who is again at a loss to know what to do with “Hear My Train A Comn” which he slams into submission.
In the inter-song chat, Jimi is very downbeat and shows little enthusiasm for the event and his vocals throughout the two nights lack spirit. He doesn’t sound comfortable.
“Them Changes” is as good, if not better than the B.O.G. version with fine lead vocals from Buddy and Jimi’s perfect backing but Buddy even slams his own piece into the ground.
“Izabella” gets trashed by Buddy and it segues logically and a little hesitantly into “Machine Gun”, which is the third rendition we’ve had from these Fillmore concerts and it’s great to have it. A superb rendition from Jimi which although it doesn’t attain the heights of the defintive Band Of Gypsys album version. It’s a more brooding blues and features a stunning central solo and a neater conclusion. Unimaginative and pedantic drums by Buddy again of course and his ratatatatat parts are just too heavy handed and obvious (OK Buddy, we get it).
The band’s cover of “Stop” is as good, if not better than the Live At The Fillmore East version (better sound quality also) and “Ezy Ryder” works pretty well despite the thudding drumming and laughable yelping from Buddy but Jimi plays brilliantly, moving back and forth from rhythm to lead. He links it to the Dennis Hopper movie by taking it to the explosive climax saying “Blown away!” as it crashes to a stop.
“Bleeding Heart” up next and Jimi attacks it with style (10 months after the legendary Royal Albert Hall rendition). It’s a good version (despite you know who) and it would’ve perhaps been a better choice on Band Of Gypsys in place of the tedious and heavily edited/salvaged “We Gotta Live Together” (but I suppose that song was more linked to the spirit of the event).
Back to a new song with “Earth Blues” (“Blues Today” or “Earth Blues Today” says Jimi) and it’s quite a solid performance of this complex song and again, better than the version that was on Live At The Fillmore East. I think you can hear Emeretta Marks contributing on backing vocals here (she was curtained off, side-stage). A good rendition despite…
Finally, Jimi suggests that they close the set with “Burning Desire”. This song has never been a favourite of mine but this version is the best yet and the band stay tight all the way with an inspired Jimi moving in all directions. The best track on the album.
As it comes to an abrupt end, Jimi rather dryly and almost apologetically says “Thank you, goodnight”, as if he just wants to get out of there.
> This album is also included in the 2019 box set “Songs For Groovy Children – The Fillmore East Concerts” – see below
> Also available as an SACD/CD from Acoustic Sounds
– Excellent booklet notes by Stephen Fricke.
Hear My Train A Comin*, Them Changes, Izabella – previously on “Live At The Fillmore East” (though not multi-track sourced).
*Also appeared on the so-called “Band Of Gypsys 2”
Quite a nice treatment with a graphic, flame coloured image of Jimi plus the typography of the original US Band Of Gypsys album. A shame the band’s name isn’t on the cover – 8/10
Curtis Knight / Jimi Hendrix Live At George’s Club 20, 1965 & 1966
Released: March 2017 (Dagger Records) – mail order only
Yes, more of the PPX Enterprises tapes that Experience Hendrix have obtained the rights to publish themselves.
See “Before Fame” section.
Live At The Hollywood Bowl ♥♥
Released: 9 November 2018 (Sony/Dagger Records) – as part of the Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary box set.
A recently discovered 2-track soundboard recording included in the Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary box set. This is in fact a Dagger Records album, so it should see a stand-alone release later.
Are You Experienced, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Red House, Foxy Lady # cuts out half-way through, Fire # cuts in near the end of the song, Hey Joe, Sunshine of Your Love, I Don’t Live Today, Little Wing, Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze
A very strange decision to include this raggedy live recording in a box set of the greatest album of all time. Another album of studio outtakes and jams would’ve been more appropriate! Curiously, this is a Dagger Records item, within the box. So it comes over as a cheap marketing ploy to create furher incentive for Hendrix fans to purchase the box. Poor quality live recordings have no place next to the euphoric richness that is Electric Ladyand. It is nice to have but it’s in the wrong place. It will probably be available as a stand-alone on Dagger later.
An audience recording of this gig has been circulating for years but this is from a newly discovered two-track soundboard feed. It is a vast improvement in sound quality compared to the bootleg in some respects but it suffers from distortion, cut outs and general roughness. Still, it’s a fascinating historical document and a good performance from the band facing an over-excited audience, some of whom invaded the decorative water basin in front of the stage. The end of the show sounds like a riot is going on, with the band pleading for the crowd to calm down, otherwise everyone could be electrocuted!
Generally great playing from Jimi throughout and his vocals are very up-front in the mix (guitar less so) but they are distorted at times. Noel’s bass is too loud and Mitch is a little far back and we rarely hear his cymbals (it sounds like he’s playing dustbins at times) so I play this with the bass turned way down and treble way up. It’s a great set-list, kicking off with an nice raw “Are You Experienced” which is preceeded by a nearly four minute free-form feedback fanfare (with Noel and Mitch backing it) which Jimi introduces as “Call Of The Black Panther”! This is followed by a fresh “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, the only song from Ladyland of course. Jimi apologises that he was out of tune when it finishes.
The version of “Red House” is terrific and comes over better as it is more laid-back. Tape problems must have occured during “Foxy Lady” as it cuts out half-way through, then cuts back in towards the end of “Fire”. Sound quality deteriotes somewhat as the tape progresses and the crowd gets more heated. “Hey Josephine” as Jimi introduces it is a regular rendition but the sound is very rough indeed (the roughest you’ve ever heard on an official release). “…and now we have the breast stroke” jokes Noel when it finishes. Mitch appeals for calm.
“Sunshine of Your Love” is raggedy with a tedious bass solo from Noel. A raucous “I Don’t Live Today” next then Jimi tries to calm things down and goes rather awkwardly and out of tune into “Little Wing” which soon aborts with him saying that he can’t hear anything. He then goes back in and delivers a good version under the chaotic circumstances.
As he goes into “Star Spangled Banner”, Jimi shouts “This is America, right?” which is title that he gave the piece at the Winterland concerts the following month. It’s a wonderfully crazy, distorted feedback blast which ends in “Purple Haze” madness, with the tape cutting out just before the final crunch (they should have faded out really).
So, despite the various faults, this is good fun and nice to have as an “official bootleg” and I prefer to listen to this than Isle Of Wight (but again, it shouldn’t be in this box).
> A better performance and recording of a show at the same venue was released in November 2023.
Surely a better photo of Jimi could’ve been used, rather than that journalistic shot of the water trough – 4/10
Live At Woodstock – 1CD edition ♥♥♥♥
Release date 10 May 2019 (Sony Legacy)
Intro, Message To Love, Izabella, Fire, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze, Woodstock Inprovisation, Villanova Junction, Hey Joe
This is weird. It would seem to be a sort of celebration of 50th anniversary of the festival thing. Maybe the estate and/or Sony Legacy thought that people wouldn’t want to shell out for the double CD edition that was released back in 1999. I’m not sure who this is aimed at. The casual fan I suppose.
So this edition leaves out Hear My Train A Comin’, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, Lover Man, Foxy Lady and Jam Back At The House (Beginning).
> Alan Douglas’s 1994 one CD version had this song selection: 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
The same as the 1999 two CD edition but tinted blue – 2/10
Songs For Groovy Children – The Fillmore East Concerts – 5CD – 8 LP box set ♥♥½
Release date 22 November 2019 (Sony Legacy)
– Yes, a low rating due to the inconsistency of the sets but there are some stunning moments from Jimi in there.
CD1 – December 31st, 1969 – 1st show (identical to the Machine Gun album already released)
Power Of Soul, Lover Man, Hear My Train A Comin’, Changes, Izabella, Machine Gun, Stop, Ezy Rider, Bleeding Heart, Earth Blues, Burning Desire
CD2 – December 31st, 1969 – 2nd show
Auld Lang Syne , Who Knows, Fire, Ezy Rider, Machine Gun, Stone Free-Sunshine Of Your Love, Changes, Message To Love, Stop, Foxy Lady
CD3 – January 1st, 1970 – 1st Show
Who Knows, Machine Gun, Changes*, Power of Soul, Stepping Stone, Foxy Lady, Stop, Earth Blues*, Burning Desire
CD4 – January 1st, 1970 – 2nd Show
Stone Free, Power of Soul, Them Changes, Message to Love, Machine Gun, Lover Man, Steal Away, Earth Blues
CD5 – January 1st, 1970 – 2nd Show
Voodoo Child (Slight Return), We Gotta Live Together, Wild Thing, Hey Joe, Purple Haze
* These two tracks (from the 01/01/70 first show) are new to record but were previously featured on the Band Of Gysys DVD
Many Hendrix fans had longed for this for decades and eventually, along it came. The (near) complete Band Of Gypsys at the Fillmore East recordings. Most of the songs had already appeared on record (see my “The Fillmore setlists” link below) but this release presents many songs in a longer format (still a few edits here and there), including those that were on Jimi’s Band Of Gypsys album, plus 9 new versions of songs and 1 completely new song: a cover of Jimmy Hughes’ “Steal Away” (with Miles on vocals).
As said earlier, the album Live At The Fillmore East (which had been released in 1999) used a mixdown tape (Hendrix/Kramer mixes apparently) and not the multi-track masters which weren’t in the possession of Experience Hendrix at the time. A few years later, they purchased the masters from the owner (Paul Allen of Microsoft) and eventually released the Machine Gun album detailed above. So this box set presents practically all the performances from the two nights at the Fillmore with new mixes from Eddie Kramer plus a 5-star Bernie Grundman mastering (as had been the case with the Machine Gun album already).
Jimi had of course cherry-picked and edited down some great performances for the 1970 Capitol album that he was obliged to release but anything else that dribbled out officially or otherwise only served to expose the fact that this outfit (pulled together simply to solve that legal obligation) was a rather awkward fit in relation to his music. However, it must be understood that these four sets were the band’s first ever live concerts! Any artist/band going straight in like that needs time to let things gel and fine-tune their music. Jimi did his utmost to showcase fresh material, steering away as much as possible from the Experience-era songs.
This was Jimi’s new concept of Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, with the trimmed-down name of A Band Of Gypsys – a band where the members might continually change through time. He wanted Mitch to do these concerts but he didn’t want to fly back to the States. Jimi also thought of getting Stevie Winwood to play keyboards (like he had done on Electric Ladyland) but nothing came of it. So by chance, the band that ended up on stage was Jimi, Billy and Buddy. Jimi was pushing for a new direction, letting it roll, letting loose, jamming, enabling a fellow musician take centre-stage,… all of the things that he had been talking about in interviews for quite some time. So, aswell as being an attempt to get out of a contractual tangle, the concerts were an experiment, an opportunity to test new songs and also to party (New Year’s Eve/Day).
Buddy Miles had a very dominating, heavy handed drum style (“the concreter” as Mitch called him), strong melodic vocals and hip scat-singing plus a love of involving the audience. All in good spirits of course but it does take the musical ambiance to territories quite far removed from Jimi’s familiar universe (there is an Experience-era interview – Clark University? – where Jimi ridicules this type of soul revue call-and-response thing, “Everybody say yeeaah!”). With some of the music here leaning so heavily towards old-school soul/R&B, Buddy Miles was in a way pulling Jimi back to his pre-Experience days and even his pre-Curtis Knight days. I think this (and the drumming problem) might have contributed to Jimi having doubts about continuing any further with Miles after these gigs. Job done, time to move on.
One of the paradoxes here is that stunning performances can be followed by lacklustre ones and downright awful ones! Jimi does in fact apologise from time to time, explaining that they are just messing about with the tunes and that some of the songs aren’t yet finished. When the band do gel, with Jimi soaring away, with Miles and Cox pumping away behind him, some truly remarkable moments have thankfully been captured here.
As this is a box set of concerts performed over two days (four sets) that means of course that there is a lot of repetition. Four performances of “Changes” and three performances of “Stop” are not all that essential for multiple listenings but for numbers like “Machine Gun” (four performances), “Power Of Soul” (three performances), “Stone Free” and “Foxy Lady” (two performances for each), the different directions that Jimi takes in the soloing is fascinating for any hardcore Hendrix fan.
So yes, this is an interesting addition to the shelf (or hard-drive). However, for the casual fan who digs Hendrix, I’d say that Jimi’s Band Of Gypsys album of 1970 and the Machine Gun album of 2016 are really adequate (for now).
Anyway, here we go:
Disc 1 (31/12/69 – 1st set) – Identical to the Machine Gun album released in 2016. See my review above (good album).
Disc 2 (31/12/69 – 2nd set) – We hear the 60s end in real-time which is nice, before the band go into their own stirring rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”. Next is a fine and long version of “Who Knows” which is as good, if not better than the one on Jimi’s Band Of Gypsys album. Not included here are the next two numbers “Stepping Stone” and “Burning Desire” perhaps because the performances were rather poor or had tuning problems (according to John Mcdermott) – must check the bootleg tapes.
“Fire” sounds pretty weird with Buddy’s soul-revue backing vocals but the band pull it off quite well despite some frankly awful drumming from Miles (his note-for-note slamming on the “Outside Woman Blues” riff is very annoying). “Ezy Ryder” is pretty raggedy with Jimi’s strained vocal and fluffed lines (he apologises at the close). “Machine Gun” gets off to a shakey start and it’s the weakest version of these sets so far. Some great guitar soloing in there of course but Miles’ drumming gets rather tedious and repetitive. The song sort of fizzles away at the end without much ceremony. “Power Of Soul” is missing. “Stone Free” also features stunning guitar but it’s ruined by a strained vocal from Jimi and just terrible drumming and corny backing vocals from Buddy. At one point Jimi takes it into the riff of “Sunshine Of Your Love” which Buddy annoyingly slams along to, on every beat. Buddy also manages to put in the worst drum solo that you will ever hear! Then it’s back into safer territory with another “Changes” from Miles before they go into a pretty neat “Message To Love” (with nice laid-back loose ending), then comes another fine “Stop” with those very cool dual lead vocals from Jimi and Buddy.
To close the set, Jimi rips into a wonderful performance of “Foxy Lady”, firing on all cylinders with Billy and Buddy right behind him. Just a shame that Jimi seems to lose interest at the end and just lets it fizzle out with no final crunchy climax and simply saying goodnight (as if he’d had enough). The encore of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”/”Purple Haze” is missing.
Disc 3 (01/01/1970 – 1st set) – Jimi’s first concert of the 70s! All of this set had been previously released, spread across various albums and the Band Of Gypsys DVD. It kicks off with the superb “Who Knows” and “Machine Gun” that had graced Jimi’s Band Of Gypsys album, though here in unedited form (though it’s not as if there are new solos to discover or anything). “Them Changes” is routine Buddy with a long chanting rap towards the end. Then comes “Power Of Soul” (which Jimi says is titled “Crash Landing” or “Paper Airplanes”) with a rather badly miked or recorded vocal from Jimi and quite a sketchy and uninspired performance compared to the one on the BOG album (from the 2nd set of the night). Jimi just basically raps the vocal on this and the song comes to an untimely finish. Buddy’s drumming is also difficult to stand. He might get into a steady rocking rhythm but then ruins it with poor puntuations and horrendous drum rolls. Then “Stepping Stone”, which is again bizarre and sketchy with Buddy’s frenetic tap-tap-tap drumming and Jimi’s lacklustre vocal (another work-in-progress song but what the hell, this is only for Ed Chalpin). It sounds like a rehearsal take and Jimi does say at the end that they are just messing around with the songs and jamming.
Then it’s the safe retreat of the crowd-pleasing “Foxy Lady” and it’s great to hear Jimi let loose (despite a little tuning problem). Miles slams away and his white noise cymbal bashing is pretty tedious to the ear. This time we get a real finish to the song! Next up, another version of “Stop” (I honestly haven’t the energy to compare each version here – suffice it to say that they are all good). A raggedy “Earth Blues” follows with some nice soulful backing vocals but just dreadful drumming from Buddy. Jimi’s first solo isn’t bad, though it does meander somewhat. A later solo is pretty awful. The final “Whoooooooh” from Buddy makes one embarassed for Jimi who’s final goodbye sounds (again) like he is ashamed at what just happened. There is a final encore of “Burning Desire” which has a nice gentle wah-wah intro but a dull off-mike vocal from Jimi and tuning problems – a rough jam and pretty tedious.
Disc 4 (01/01/1970 – 2nd set, part 1)
And so to the final set of the short residency spread across two CDs (and four vinyl sides) and the band kick off with “Stone Free” (previously heard on Live At The Fillmore East). Again, a strained, unsure vocal from Jimi and some frankly awful metronomic drumming and improvised yelping from Miles again but it’s worth staying with for the simply awesome solo from Jimi. Buddy seems to derange Jimi who calms the thing down to a near stop before bringing it back to the final chorus. In the final throws, Miles thumps like a madman driving nails into concrete and Jimi screams some strained vocals – one is impatient for it to finish.
Next come three songs that were on Jimi’s BOG album but here in unedited form and you realise what a good job Jimi did in editing the performances down. “Power Of Soul” comes across as being a little unsure and plodding (complete with awful white-noise cymbals at the outset). “Changes” is good but ruined by Miles’ audience participation chanting and never-ending tick-tock drumming – which is anything but funky). “Message To Love” is excellent and the best ever version. Then comes the final “Machine Gun” of the Fillmore nights, which has a hesitant, out of tune opening by Jimi. Still, always fascinating to hear Jimi rip into this song as each version is different. Then it’s “Lover Man” which is very lacklustre (comes over like a routine rehearsal take) with a fizzled conclusion. Next up is the only new song of the box set, the band’s cover of Jimmy Hughes’ “Steal Away” which is a nice gentle soul blues (rather like “Stormy Monday” in feel) with a good soul/blues vocal from Buddy and Jimi providing gorgeous tasteful guitar support and a neat little solo (best new track of the set). They follow this with another bash at the embryonic “Earth Blues” and things go seriosly wrong. I don’t know what was going on inside Jimi’s head but he’s all over the place and delivers perhaps the worst solo that he’s ever done that was captured on tape with Buddy slamming away like a stuck record. Just awful and shouldn’t have been included.
Disc 5 (01/01/1970 – 2nd set, part 2)
To rescue the proceedings, nothing better than a good blast of “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” (which Jimi introduces as “The Black Panther’s National Anthem”!) and it comes across very well with Jimi letting loose with some blistering solos. This segues into Buddy’s Sly Stone tribute medley “We Gotta Live Together”. Jimi edited this down to about 5 minutes for his Band Of Gypsy album and here it runs for about 9 minutes (it was an even more tedious 12 minutes long on the night!). It’s a warm, spirited conclusion to the night and fitted neatly in relation to the whole evening, where The Voices Of East Harlem’s had opened for the band. Some nice guitar from Jimi in there around Buddy’s chanting and good humour. As a final hurrah, Jimi treats everyone to a salvo of classic Experience numbers with a gritty “Wild Thing”, “Hey Joe” (Buddy reproducing the Breakaways backing vocals of the original single) and a climactic blast of “Purple Haze” with missed lines, tuning problems, Buddy’s usual stiff drums, you name it, what the hell, all topped off with another cheezy “woooooooh!” from Buddy and it’s all over.
If you already have Band Of Gypsys and Machine Gun, you might think twice before picking up this box set. it can be quite a difficult listen at times, with Jimi’s weak vocals, forgotten words, out of tune guitar, sketchy songs, some appalling drumming and cringe-worthy backing vocals. On the plus side, there is some truly wonderful playing from Jimi in there (especially on the versions of “Stone Free” and “Foxy Lady”).
Well it looks like a box set. A collage of tickets and quite nicely done and it looks quite classy, though I would have preferred a book style package like the previously Hendrix box-sets – 6/10
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