Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jimi Hendrix - 1980 - Nine To The Universe

Jimi Hendrix 
Nine To The Universe

01. Message From Nine To The Universe (8:45)
02. Jimi / Jimmy Jam (8:04)
03. Young / Hendrix (10:22)
04. Easy Blues (4:30)
05. Drone Blues (6:16)

- Jimi Hendrix / guitars

- Jim McCarty / guitar (2)
- Larry Lee / rhythm guitar (4)
- Larry Young / organ (3)
- Billy Cox / bass (1,4,5)
- Roland Robinson / bass (2)
- Dave Holland / bass (3) - uncredited
- Mitch Mitchell / drums (2,4)
- Buddy Miles / drums (1,3)
- Rocky Isaacs / drums (5) - uncredited
- Juma Sultan / percussion (4) - mixed down
- Gerardo Velez / percussion (4) - mixed down
- Al Marks / percussion (5) - uncredited

(Lead vocals by JH & backing vocals by Devon Wilson on track 1 were wiped in 1975 re-recordings)

This album consists of 5 mind-blowing, ineffably amazing jams. The track "Nine to the Universe" is the only one with vocals...Lord Have Mercy....Ow!!!! and then a climactic jam..and then..I am what I am, Thank God, I Say I am what I am Thank God.., Some people don't understand, help them God..., Some people don't understand, help them God.....and that's it. "Young/Hendrix" includes Larry Young on organ and showcases some of Jimi's most intricate and awe inspiring guitar work ever. "Jimmy/Jimi Jam" starts out with my all time favourite Hendrix riff and fuckin' "jams" all the way through. As far as "Easy Blues" is concerned, the title speaks for itself and is another manifestation of Jimi's sheer innate brilliance. The last cut, "Drone Blues" is incomparably phenomenal as well and includes a different rendition of an excerpt from the incendiary classic jam "Drivin' South". "Nine to the Universe" is hands down one of my favourite Hendrix album of all. It is imperative that this album be officially released on CD.

Jimi Hendrix - 1975 - Midnight Lightning

Jimi Hendrix 
Midnight Lightning

01. Trash Man 3:16
02. Midnight Lightning 3:52
03. Hear My Train 5:18
04. Gypsy Boy (New Rising Sun) 3:51
05. Blue Suede Shoes 3:28
06. Machine Gun 7:27
07. Once I Had A Woman 5:44
08. Beginnings 3:02

Track 1 recorded at Olmstead Studios in New York City, New York on April 3, 1969. Noel Redding - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums
Track 2 recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, New York on July 14, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion
Track 3 recorded at Olmstead Studios in New York City, New York on April 7, 1969. Noel Redding - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell's drums were kept
Track 4 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on March 18, 1969. Jimi Hendrix - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums
Track 5 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on January 23, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Buddy Miles - drums
Track 6 is a combination of several takes of "Machine Gun" and "Izabella", recorded at the Hit Factory in New York City, New York on August 29, 1969. Larry Lee - guitar, Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion, Gerrardo Velez - percussion
Track 7 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on January 23, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Buddy Miles - drums, Don [surname unknown] - harmonica
Track 8 recorded at the Hit Factory in New York City, New York on August 28, 1969. Larry Lee - guitar, Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion, Gerrardo Velez - percussion

- Jimi Hendrix / guitars, lead vocals

- Mitch Mitchell - drums (3)

(All other original backing musicians were wiped in 1975 re-recordings)

Added in 1975:
- Jeff Mironov / guitar (1-3,5,8)
- Lance Quinn / guitar (2,4,6,7)
- Buddy Lucas / harmonica (7)
- Bob Babbitt / bass
- Allan Schwartzberg / drums (1,2,4-8), percussion (3,4)
- Jimmy Maelen / percussion (2,8)
- Maeretha Stewart / backing vocals (2,4,7)
- Hilda Harris / backing vocals (2,4,7)
- Vivian Cherry / backing vocals (2,4,7)

Releases information
Rare and previously unavailable tracks, posthumously rearranged under the musical direction of producers Alan Douglas & Tony Bongiovi

In the present day, when we think of "Hendrix Albums", we think of the three studio and one live record released during his lifetime, with everything else being various degrees of salvage.  This wasn't the mindset of the era, or the mindset Alan Douglas was working with on this record or the equally infamous "Crash Landing" from the same year.

"New" Hendrix albums sold really well for quite some time after his death, and the label didn't want to give up on one of their hot stars, regardless of the fact that he'd been dead for five years.  The Hendrix purists, outraged at the effacement of the sterling harmonica work of Don [Last Name Unknown], excoriated Douglas for his work, but they'd had their day: "Loose Ends" was by any definition a "purist" release, and amply demonstrated that there just wasn't enough left in the vaults for a "New Hendrix Album" of any degree of quality.  If the demand is, in 1975, for a "New Jimi Hendrix Album", pretty much your only option is to just start making shit up.

Which is what Douglas did.  "Crash Landing" and "Midnight Lightning" offer the peculiar spectacle of Hendrixsploitation records that happen to feature Jimi Hendrix, and I'd argue that they should be judged as such.

And on these grounds it's... OK.  Certainly better than the Purple Fox record, but not as good as the Live Experience Band or Chico Magnetic Band records.  Douglas wasn't trying for something unrestrainedly psychedelic, though; he was trying to put together an album of songs.  We get "studio versions" of a couple tracks that had already appeared on live albums.  Kind of silly to erase Mitch Mitchell's contributions from a track he wrote, as well as ending the album with a song called "Beginnings", but in fairness at least Douglas released the song under its proper title.  We also have a revamped version of "Blue Suede Shoes", which had just come out on 1974's "Loose Ends", and if it's still not great it does at least make a persuasive argument for erasing pretty much every drum track Buddy Miles played with Hendrix.  If the "Band of Gypsys" version of Machine Gun is too crazy for you, well, it's easy to take the purist position and say that such a person shouldn't be listening to Hendrix, but fuck it, here's a seven and a half minute bizarre frankenstein monster version that's crazy in completely different ways.

The highlight is probably the first track, a wild and heavy jam that Douglas made a song out of.  You could do a whole album of stuff like this and it'd probably be better than "Midnight Lightning".  The purists would shit.

So this is interesting… The idea of a rock producer bringing in session dudes to fill out the sound on collected, unreleased recordings of a dead man’s tapes. The sixth album released after Hendrix’s death, these sessions have been tampered with after the fact by Alan Douglass, a record producer who controversially turned down Hendrix’s original accompanists and brought in his own talent.

These days the idea of remixing and retrofitting old material seems like a non-issue. And it has to be said that the work presented here is strong; it doesn’t smell like a quick cash-in by Douglass at all. Original bass and drums (with only one unmolested Mitch Mitchell track) disappear… and new guitar overdubs are placed as well! But these additions don’t take away from Hendrix’s lead, hardly fiddled with, only on demos where his repeated phrases were obviously unintentional. In a way I’m reminded of Teo Marceo’s album work for Miles Davis, but Miles was alive then and agreed with his studio ideas. Depending on what your opinion may be on his work, it may reflect about what you’d think of the Douglass edits. Is it so wrong to string such strong performances together in a studio? Or would you rather have the demos with some obvious blemishes? Serious questions when the music created originally needed so little studio tampering. These people were geniuses without it.

But then maybe Douglass was a fitting studio-head, the one able to handle such bold work with a legend’s material. He saw an opportunity to wrap up loose ends and executed it how he saw fit. The results are striking and worth hearing, especially when you hear the power of “Machine Gun” and the rest of side two to follow. It’s a trick, but a good one.

Jimi Hendrix - 1975 - Crash Landing

Jimi Hendrix 
Crash Landing

01. Message To Love
02. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
03. Crash Landing
04. Come Down Hard On Me
05. Peace In Mississippi
06. With The Power
07. Stone Free Again
08. Captain Coconut

Jimi Hendrix – guitars, lead vocals, backing vocals
Buddy Miles – drums on tracks 1, 6, backing vocals on tracks 1 and 6
Billy Cox – bass on tracks 1, 6 and 8, backing vocals on tracks 1 and 6
Juma Sultan – percussion on track 1

Added in 1975:
Jimmy Maelen – percussion on tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8
Jeff Mironov – guitars on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7
Allan Schwartzberg – drums on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8
Bob Babbitt – bass on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7
Linda November – backing vocals on track 3
Vivian Cherry – backing vocals on track 3
Barbara Massey – backing vocals on track 3

Track 1 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on December 19, 1969.
Track 2 recorded at the Sound Center in New York City, New York on March 13, 1968. Wiped: Stephen Stills - bass, Mitch Mitchell - drums
Track 3 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on April 24, 1969. Wiped: Billy Cox - bass. Rocky Isaacs* - drums, Al Marks* and Chris Grimes* - percussion & [unknown] - organ (*from the group, the Cherry People)
Track 4 recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, New York on July 15, 1970. Wiped: Billy Cox - bass, Mitch Mitchell - drums
Track 5 recorded at TTG Studios in Los Angeles, California on October 24, 1968. Wiped: Noel Redding - bass, Mitch Mitchell - drums
Track 6 basic track recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on January 21, 1970.
Track 7 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on April 7–9, overdubs inc. backing vocals on April 14, 1969. Wiped: Noel Redding - bass, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Roger Chapman & Andy Fairweather Low - backing vocals.
Track 8 (unknown to Douglas) was a composite of three different bits, of unrelated tracks put together posthumously in 1973 by John Jansen. These were variously recorded at Electric Lady, NYC, in July/August 1970 (possible recording date for the intro); at Record Plant, NYC, January 23, 1970 (the middle Ezy Ryder/MLK Jam); and at TTG Studios, Los Angeles, Ca. on October 23, 1968 (the New Rising Sun outro). Douglas added overdubs to Jansen's original

Rare and previously unavailable tracks, posthumously rearranged under the musical direction of producers Alan Douglas & Tony Bongiovi

Before Hendrix died in 1970, he was in the final stages of preparing what he intended to be a double studio LP, which was given various titles such as 'First Rays of the New Rising Sun', 'People, Hell & Angels', and 'Strate Ahead' [sic]. Most of the tracks intended for this LP were spread out over three posthumous single LP releases: The Cry of Love (1971), Rainbow Bridge (1971), and War Heroes (1972). In the case of the last two of these LPs, a demo track, a live track, and unreleased studio tracks were used to fill out the releases. In late 1973, his international label prepared to issue an LP titled Loose Ends which contained eight tracks, six of which were generally regarded as incomplete or substandard (the only two "finished" tracks on this release were "The Stars That Play with Laughing Sam's Dice", a heavily re-mixed stereo version of the B-side which had been released in the original mono mix on the 1968 European and Japanese versions of the Smash Hits, and a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Drifter's Escape", both of which would ultimately be re-released on the South Saturn Delta CD in 1997). Loose Ends was not released in the USA by Reprise because they considered the quality of the tracks to be subpar.

Hendrix had amassed a great deal of time in the studio in 1969 and 1970, resulting in a substantial amount of songs, some close to completion, that were available for potential release. After the death of Hendrix' manager in 1973, Alan Douglas was hired to evaluate hundreds of hours of remaining material that was not used on earlier posthumous albums. "Peace in Mississippi," "Somewhere," and "Stone Free" were recorded with the original Jimi Hendrix Experience line up, while the rest of the material used on Crash Landing consisted of recordings Hendrix originally made with Billy Cox on bass and either Mitch Mitchell or Buddy Miles on drums and on one occasion by Rocky Isaacs.

In 1974, Time magazine ran an article entitled "The Hendrix Tapes." At the end of this bombastic piece, the magazine claimed that "some 600 to 800 hours' worth were shipped off to a warehouse and forgotten. Last spring, having issued three posthumous Hendrix LPs and run out of material, Warner Bros. Records asked a former Hendrix producer, Alan Douglas, if he knew of any other tapes." It seems Douglas did, and he'd even "listened to 250 hours' worth of reels and thinks he has enough stuff for several albums. For now, he is concentrating on five LPs, the first scheduled to be issued in October, so that all who still care can get to know Jimi's kind of music."

Jimi had been gone for four years at this point. Mitch Mitchell and Eddie Kramer had released three posthumous collections of unreleased Jimi tracks. Due to a set of pesky contracts signed by manager Mike Jeffery, Jimi's vision of a double LP was scrapped. By the time War Heroes was released, it was clear that most of Jimi's best compositions had already been released to the public.

The fat cats at the label had a field day as they learned about the Hendrix tapes. Unfortunately, Jimi's close friend Eddie Kramer had no interest in producing and releasing these recordings. Warner Brothers therefore contacted a New York producer called Alan Douglas. Douglas, a wiry hippy with a fake tan that once recorded an inconsequential Hendrix session, was entrusted to make something out of the reels of tape. 

Crash Landing was to highlight the direction that Hendrix was heading before he died. At least that's what the label's massive ad campaign tried to convey. In reality, this album documents the ambitions and warped decisions of Alan Douglas. In his twisted world, the original recordings were too raw and messy for release. He firmly believed he had the right to alter Jimi's work in order to make it palatable. In late 1974, he contorted and re-interpreted music recorded in 1968-1970 and made it "fit" into the mid-70s music market.

He was not alone in this endeavor. Engineer Tony Bongiovi (who at one point recorded Hendrix as a junior engineer) was instrumental in this process. Bongiovi and Douglas masterminded a strategy based on editing, splicing, deleting and overdubbing the Hendrix tapes. Yes, you heard right. These two cats summarily deleted Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding and Buddy Miles from the tapes. In their stead, listeners were treated to more "precise" and "correct" contributions from studio laureates like Bob Babbit (bass), Alan Schwartzberg (drums) and Jeff Mirinov (guitar). Yeah, they even overdubbed a guitar. On Jimi Hendrix songs. Unbelievable.

And yet, in my humble opinion, the final product isn't really all that bad. Really.

See, the great thing about this album is that its aim and the execution coalesced extremely well. The idea behind this release was to show Hendrix's upcoming foray into funk. As such, the song choices and the overdub methods add up to a resoundingly listenable funk album. Though not without its flaws, I can honestly say that the first Alan Douglas album is kind of a cool little record.

The album kicks off with a tune called "Message to Love." We'd heard it in Woodstock, and this studio version is quite focused and complete. The song was later released on The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, as well as 1995's Voodoo Soup CD (also a Douglas creation). The version released in 1975 is quite similar to the box set version (i.e., the original mix). Why? Because Douglas opted to leave the original musicians on the recording. The mix makes the percussion stand out a bit more and the tune is a wee bit shorter, but overall, it experienced very few edits. Amazingly, the 1995 version features more remixing (half of the background vocals are inexplicably removed!) than the 1975 version. Overall, Douglas was unable to mess with such a good tune. 

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Now things get interesting. The original recording is also on the box set, though its title is shortened to "Somewhere." The intro on the 1975 version has some echo and guitar overdubs that manage to breathe life into the limp original. Boasting a different mix and a greater level of energy, this version is a keeper. After the line "And UFOs chuckle themselves," the song gets a spacey guitar overdub that makes Jimi's comment sound more irreverent. A fine idea. That being said, I find it kind of funny that Douglas included this song, as it does contain some prophetic verses: "As far as I know, they might even try to wrap me up in cellophane and sell me..."

The album's title track is a decent funk tune that boasts some bizarre female backing vocals: "Cut me free, cut me free!" Is this another instance of Jimi speaking from beyond the grave? Who knows. Kudos to Schwartzberg, for his funky drumming works quite well on here.

The A-side closes with a song titled "Come Down Hard on Me." This song had already been released as "Come Down Hard on Me Baby" on the European-only Loose Ends. In addition, it showed up as "Come Down Hard on Me" on the 2000 box set. The untampered version boasts some really funky drumming by Mitch Mitchell. Some folks have lambasted the 1975 version for being a "disco" song. Nay, I say. The 1970 original was clearly pointing at funk. The Douglas version is boosted by Allan Schwartzberg's hi-hat patterns. The beat lives on and takes on funky new dimensions. It's a very groovy song that shows us how Douglas didn't necessarily have to add too many modifications in order to "update" a Hendrix original.

The B-side is, in my opinion, the weaker half of this record. Why? Because the effortless thematic continuity of the first side has been replaced with an utterly hodgepodge selection of tracks.

"Peace in Mississippi" is a hard rock track that lurches forward at a slow pace and crushes everything that it encounters. It even features some swishy guitar overdubs that sound like Rodan or Mothra. Monstrously great. I reckon that makes the 1975 version just a wee bit cooler than original 1968 track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Note: A longer and untampered version can be found on 1995's Voodoo Soup.

"With the Power" is a song that would've fit nicely on the A-side. It's as funky as anything you'll find there. Jimi's nicely wah-wah'd guitar work meshes well with Schwartzberg's drums. The vocals are soulful, and the chorus is great "With the power/Of Soul/Anything is possible." Quite memorable. Note: A longer and unadulterated version can be found on South Saturn Delta.

"Stone Free Again" is based on a 1969 re-recording of a 1967 track. The arrangement and tempo was totally altered. The 1969 version is found on the box set. This 1975 Douglas version erases the Experience's contributions. Compared to the 1969 recording, this song lacks energy. The sessions musicians just don't cut it. In addition, it ruins Jimi's vocals. He sounds like he's recording his vocals in the nearby lavatory. A bit of a let down, actually.

The album closes with "Captain Coconut." In the early 70s, one of Eddie Kramer's subordinates started splicing Jimi material together and came up with this song. He was reprimanded for these actions. Douglas, however, seized upon these tapes and continued the cannibalistic process. Originally labeled "M.L.K.", the edited track was henceforth known as "Captain Coconut." Why? Because no one in the studio could figure out what those three letters stood for. I bet none of them knew what Jimi Hendrix stood for either. Oh well. It's an okay track that functions as an atmospheric psychedelic coda to a pretty funky album. Note: Bits of this tune were used for "The New Rising Sun" on Voodoo Soup, while the entire 20-minute source jam was released as "Ezy Ryder/MLK (aka Captain Coconut)" on Burning Desire.

Overall, this album isn't really all too bad. No, it doesn't compared to the first three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums, or even the first two posthumous albums. But it is a funky little record that shows you just how magical proper edits can be. However, the success of this LP led to the release of another 1975 posthumous album, Midnight Lightning. Had the best two tracks off Midnight Lightning ("Trashman" and title track) been placed on this LP, Alan Douglas might've been hailed a hero. Or at least less of a cretin. Alas, he didn't. He went for the quick cash-in and even added his name onto the songwriting credits. This LP signals the beginning of a 20 year period in Hendrix history that involved sub-par and generally puzzling releases from the money-grubbing Alan Douglas. It all began here, too. It kinda sucks to know that this neat album is loaded with so many controversial actions.

Jimi Hendrix - 1974 - Loose Ends

Jimi Hendrix 
Loose Ends

01. Coming Down Hard On Me Baby 2:58
02. Blue Suede Shoes 3:59
03. Jam 292 3:53
04. The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice 4:21
05. The Drifter's Escape 3:04
06. Burning Desire 9:30
07. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man 5:59
08. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Lady Land) 1:32

Track 1 recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, New York on July 15, 1970
Track 2 recorded at Record Plant studios in New York City, New York on January 23, 1970
Track 3 recorded at Record Plant Studios on May 14, 1969
Track 4 recorded at Mayfair Studios, New York City, New York on July 18 and 29, 1967
Track 5 recorded at Electric Lady Studios on June 17, 1970
Tracks 6 and 7 recorded at Baggys in New York City, New York on December 18 or 19, 1969
Track 8 recorded at Record Plant Studios on June 14, 1968

- Jimi Hendrix / guitars, lead vocals

- Sharon Layne / piano (3) - uncredited & unconfirmed
- Billy Cox / bass, backing vocals (6)
- Noel Redding / bass (4)
- Mitch Mitchell / drums (1,3-5)
- Buddy Miles / drums & backing vocals (2,6,7)

A collection of outtakes and jams recorded between 1967 and 1970, with the exception of track 4 which is the sole authorized by Hendrix, in a new stereo mix by Eddie Kramer.
All have been subsequently re-released on other official albums, in some form, except track 2.

Mostly outtakes and loose jams with one authorized track that came out in Jimi's lifetime (The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice), the outstanding track on this for me is "Drifter's Escape". I prefer the mix on this lp rather than the one on the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set. I think it's a tighter mix, and the fuzz guitar part at the end was just striking the way it came to an abrupt end (much like Jimi's too short life), and on the box set it gets marred by Billy Cox's bass. 

Michael Jeffrey, who was Jimi's manager during his life, was still able to put out product to make money off of Jimi's name. Considered by some to be an awful release, it was only put out in the U.K. in February, 1974 on the Polydor label because Warner Bros. (who were Jimi's record company at the time) refused to release it in the U.S & Canada, saying it was of inferior quality. This was the last Michael Jeffrey release. 

Jimi Hendrix - 1973 - Soundtrack Recordings from the Film JH

Jimi Hendrix 
Soundtrack Recordings from the Film JH

01. Rock Me, Baby 3:01
02. Wild Thing 5:18
03. Machine Gun I 7:45
04. Interviews I 3:41
05. Johnny B. Goode 3:37
06. Hey Joe 3:50
07. Purple Haze 3:40
08. Like A Rolling Stone 6:11
09. Interviews II 3:21
10. The Star Spangled Banner 3:42
11. Machine Gun II 12:35
12. Hear My Train A-Comin' 3:05
13. Interviews III 2:36
14. Red House 11:18
15. In From The Storm 4:27
16. Interviews IV 5:55

The documentary (or rockumentary) was made in 1973 by Joe Boyd, John Head and Gary Weis for Warner Bros. The film contains concert footage from 1967 to 1970, including material from Isle of Wight and the Monterey Pop Festival. The film also includes interviews with Hendrix' contemporaries, family and friends. The estate of Jimi Hendrix authorized the 1973 film to be re-released on video and DVD in 1999, and a special edition DVD was released 2005.

1, 2, 6, 8: Monterey Pop Festival (June 18, 1967)
3, 14, 15: Isle of Wight Festival (August 31, 1970)
5, 7: Berkeley Community Center, Berkeley, California (May 30, 1970)
10: Woodstock (August 18, 1969)
11: Fillmore East (December 31, 1969)
12: London (December 19, 1967)

Bass – Noel Redding
Drums – Mitch Mitchell
Bass – Billy Cox
Guitar, Vocals - Jimi Hendrix

It's live and you can not dispute the genius. The crazy studio shit is just the tip of the iceberg with this guy. His ability to project, connect, and surprise in a big loud setting was just unbelievable, plus there's a fantastic 12 string acoustic (see the album cover) live recording of "Hear My Train Comin'" that is jaw dropping.  These are selected 'best version' tracks from many concerts and settings (Monterey, Berkeley, Woodstock, etc.), and nearly every one of them is a gem. There are also interviews of Jimi and others (Clapton, Townsend, Jagger, etc.) from the film, laid down as audio tracks at the end of each side, so it's like watching a short version of the movie with your eyes closed. Don't ask me why you can't get it on CD, that's just a fucking crime.

Jimi Hendrix - 1972 - War Heroes

Jimi Hendrix 
War Heroes

01. Bleeding Heart 3:15
02. Highway Chile 3:30
03. Tax Free 4:58
04. Peter Gunn / Catastrophe 2:18
05. Stepping Stone 4:07
06. Midnight 5:32
07. 3 Little Bears 4:09
08. Beginning 4:13
09. Izabella 2:55

- Jimi Hendrix / guitars, lead & backing vocals

- Billy Cox / bass, backing vocals
- Mitch Mitchell / drums
- Noel Redding / bass (2,3,6)

Track 1 recorded at Record Plant in New York City, on March 24, 1970
Track 2 recorded at Olympic Studios in London, on April 3, 1967
Track 3 recorded at Record Plant Studios, on May 1, 1968
Track 4 recorded at Record Plant Studios, on May 14, 1970
Track 5 recorded at Record Plant Studios, on November 14, 1969 and on June 26, 1970 (overdubs)
Track 6 recorded at Olmstead Studios, on April 3, 1969
Track 7 recorded at Record Plant Studios,[7] on May 2, 1968
Track 8 recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, on June 16 and/or July 1, 1970
Track 9 recorded at The Hit Factory in New York City, on August 28 and 29, 1969

Jimi Hendrix left behind more unreleased material than just about any other rock artist. Some tracks have rated as all-time classics ("Angel," "Izabella," "Drifting," etc.), while others should have remained in the vaults (such as the full-length albums Crash Landing and Voodoo Soup, two collections that were near-criminally touched up by then-Hendrix keeper Alan Douglas). The out of print War Heroes is one of the few consistent compilations of unreleased Hendrix, and has since been replaced by First Rays of the New Rising Sun and South Saturn Delta. Highlights include "Beginning" (which contains a riff almost identical to the Stones' "Bitch"), "Highway Chile," and "Izabella," a track premiered on a Dick Cavett TV show a year before Hendrix's death. However, not all of the material is up to snuff, such as the nonsensical "Three Little Bears" and "Midnight," an overtly indulgent instrumental. If you're a newcomer to Hendrix, don't start here, but if you're a serious fan searching for some interesting obscurities, War Heroes is definitely worth the price.

 I actually like this album a lot. Most of it is studio jamming. Some of it sounds like complete songs. But on all of it, Jimi Hendrix was in excellent form on his guitar. Some of it (as in Peter Gunn, where the jam falls apart, and the band then breaks into Catastrophe, and 3 Little Bears ) gets a little silly, but these are studio leftovers, so some lapses are expected.
Especially impressive is Beginning, a somewhat proggy piece with shifting motifs, with Jimi deftly switching between rhythm and lead lines without missing a beat. So it's not the most polished Hendrix album, but I like to hear his guitar in the raw.

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 - Roots Of Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix 
Roots Of Hendrix

01. Wipe The Sweat 2:50
02. Wipe The Sweat, Seque 1 3:25
03. Wipe The Sweat, Seque 2 2:44
04. Goodbye Bessie Mae 2:22
05. Two In One Goes 2:17
06. All I Want 3:32
07. Under The Table, Part 1 4:20
08. Under The Table, Part 2 2:50
09. Psycho 2:40

Recorded at Abtone Recording Studios N.Y., N.Y. 1966

Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals
Lonnie Youngblood / sax, vocals
Herman Hitson / guitar
Lee Moses / guitar

all other musicians are uncredited

This album was originally recorded in 1966, with Jimi Hendrix playing as a sideman in sax player Lonnie Youngblood's band. As far as I know, the album was never released under Youngblood's name. It was released, however, shortly after Hendrix's death (I presume it was a cynical attempt by the music's owner to capitalize on the tragedy), under Hendrix' name.
I must admit, there is enough of Hendrix' distinctive guitar (in all but one track) to justify the album, but here is playing is quite raw and not yet fully developed into what we heard on "Are You Experienced?". While this does have some good playing, it's really just for collectors.

Jimi Hendrix - 1972 - Hendrix In The West

Jimi Hendrix 
Hendrix In The West

01. The Queen (2:40)
02. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1:16)
03. Little Wing (3:14)
04. Red House (13:06)
05. Johnny B. Goode (4:45)
06. Lover Man (3:05)
07. Blue Suede Shoes (4:26)
08. Voodoo Chile (7:49)

- Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals
- Mitch Mitchell / drums
- Billy Cox / bass on tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7
- Noel Redding / bass on tracks 3, 4 and 8

Tracks A1 and A2 recorded at The Isle of Wight Festival on the morning of August 31, 1970 (appears on Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight)
Tracks A3 and B4 recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England on February 24, 1969
Track A4 recorded at the San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, California on May 24, 1969
Track B1 recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970, 1st show
Track B2 recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970, 2nd show (appears on Live at Berkeley)
Track B3 recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970, afternoon rehearsals
This is the track listing of the Reprise Records release,[6] reversing side one and two of the original Polydor Records release.

Hendrix in the West was a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix, released in January 1972 by Polydor Records, and later in February by Reprise Records. The album contains songs from Hendrix's performances at the San Diego Sports Arena on May 24, 1969, Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970 and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970.

This album was supposed to be a collection of songs played live by the master while performing ''In The West'' (meaning Western US). This is not entirely the case since two tracks were recorded in the Royal Albert Hall: the great version of ''Voodoo Chile'' (only topped by the unique Woodstock performance) and Little Wing'' and two from the Isle of Wight concert.

Some tracks though were taped during the famous Berkeley concerts: the cover from the rock'n'roll classic ''Johnny B. Goode'' which is quite remarkable here: a lot of punch, enthusiasm and of course maestria.

I can't be as laudatory about ''Blue Suede Shoes''. It also comes from the Berkeley evening but was apparently played outside the official concerts (repetition or so). The result is indeed some sort of loose version with little interest (except the solo work of course).

Since this album was released in 72, it sounded interesting to Michael Jeffery to release the Isle of Wight version of ''God Save The Queen''. Even if parts of this concert were already released a year before this one, this specific track was not. I guess that it was placed here on a commercial purpose since his huge Woodstock version of ''Star Spangled Banner'' was so unanimously praised by the critics and fans. But this one is shy compared to ''Star?''.

The cover from the Beatles ''Sgt. Pepper's?'' also comes from the Isle of Wight concert (August 30th, 1970). Punchy and wildly rocking, it is quite conform to the original version for most of it, would you except the lead guitar play of course (but who could doubt about this).

The second highlight (the first one being ''Voodoo?'') is an extraordinary (the best ever?) version of ''Red House'' recorded in San Diego. A long and juicy blues-rock marvellously interpreted by ''The Experience''.

In all, this live album is quite good and since London and the Isle of Wight are geographically located in the Western world, the title of this album is not an usurpation.

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 - Rainbow Bridge

Jimi Hendrix 
Rainbow Bridge

01. Dolly Dagger (4:45)
02. Earth Blues (4:20)
03. Pali Gap (5:05)
04. Room Full of Mirrors (3:17)
05. Star Spangled Banner (4:07)
06. Look Over Yonder (3:28)
07. Hear My Train A Comin' (11:15)
08. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (6:05)

Jimi Hendrix / guitars, lead & backing (1,2) vocals

Billy Cox / bass, backing vocals (2)
Mitch Mitchell / drums
Noel Redding / bass (6)
Buddy Miles / drums (4,10,11), backing vocals (2)
Juma Sultan / percussion (1,3,8)
The Ghetto Fighters (Albert & Arthur Allen) / backing vocals (1)
The Ronettes (Veronica & Estelle Bennett and Nedra Talley) / backing vocals (2)

Despite the sub-title, the 2nd Hendrix studio album released after his death is not a soundtrack but a compilation of recordings made in 1969/70, in various stages of development and never finalized for release by Hendrix. All songs have been reissued on later albums.

“Rainbow Bridge” was the second posthumous album released by Jimi Hendrix. Once again, the tracks were mixed/finished off by Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell with John Jansen this time. I seem to remember it was released by Reprise Records – Hendrix’s American record label rather than Track (Hendrix’s UK record label) – anyway, it came out in 1971 some 9 months after “The Cry Of Love”.

It is not as good as “The Cry Of Love” but “Rainbow Bridge” is still a fine record. It starts with “Dolly Dagger” – which lyrically is a bit daft, but that doesn’t matter because it is really great. That and the next track – “Earth Blues” eventually appeared on “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun”, as did “Room Full Of Mirrors” and the closing “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”. All are excellent, especially “Room Full Of Mirrors” although it does sort of peter out – maybe, if he had lived, Hendrix would have made a better job of it. I am not sure if Hendrix actually intended all of them for “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” – Buddy Miles plays drums on “Room Full Of Mirrors”, Mitch Mitchell on the other three. Bass is the extremely reliable and rather underestimated Billy Cox with Juma Sultan on percussion. The Ronettes somewhat surprisingly sing backing vocals on “Earth Blues” and The Ghetto Fighters do the same on “Dolly Dagger”. 

So what else is on “Rainbow Bridge”? Well, there is a fine studio version of “Star Spangled Banner”  - Hendrix’s alternative anthem for the counter-culture. Then rather oddly as there were still a couple of “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” tracks not yet released at the time “Rainbow Bridge” came out, “Look Over Yonder” which was recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968, although Hendrix had played it since 1966 – I don’t think it is that good. Better is the instrumental, “Pali Gap” recorded in July 1970 with Cox & Mitchell. I don’t think it is just my imagination, but it sounds to me if Jimi is saying, “anything Senor Santana can do, I can far far better!”

Finally there is an 11-minute plus live version of “Hear My Train A-Coming” recorded live on 30th May at Berkeley. It is a blues tour-de-force. – Stunning stuff.

So how come this album is sub-titled “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”? Well, Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffrey got involved in financing a film called “Rainbow Bridge” and material from this album was used as incidental music. Also because the film is “a complete load of rubbish with hippies sitting round talking bollocks” (a friend who saw it described it thus) Jeffrey persuaded Hendrix to play a concert on 30th July 1970 to be in the film. Despite the film being sold on his name, there are only 17 minutes of Jimi Hendrix, no complete songs and none of the concert appears on this album, the so-called “Rainbow Bridge – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – although you can get the whole thing on bootleg. Good old Michael Jeffrey!

Anyway, the album “Rainbow Bridge” disappeared as the approximation of “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” got released. The other tracks appeared on other compilations – such as “South Saturn Delta” and the excellent “Blues” – “Here My Train A- Coming” of course.

Then is September of this year, Experience Hendrix  - the company that is owned by Jimi Hendrix’s family to oversee his work issued, through Sony Legacy both “The Cry Of Love” and “Rainbow Bridge” neither having been available for years. I suspect that the motive was to sell lots of copies of the vinyl versions  - as we all know, vinyl (which I mistrust) is the record media of the past and future – with the CD as an afterthought. I have the CD – and it is great.

I just hope that Experience Hendrix will not reissue the next two posthumous Hendrix albums “War Heroes” & “Loose Ends” – the later so poor it did not get an American release – or even worse, “Crash Landing”, “Midnight Lightning” or “Nine To The Universe” where producer, Alan Douglas removed the original backing musicians and replaced them and edited Hendrix’s guitar work. However, given Experience Hendrix’s recent track record, I would not put it past them. Still, having said that, it is great to have/hear “Rainbow Bridge” again.

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 - Isle Of Wight

Jimi Hendrix
Isle Of Wight

01. Midnight Lightning (6:23)
02. Foxy Lady (9:11)
03. Lover Man (2:58)
04. Freedom (4:36)
05. All Along the Watchtower (5:39)
06. In From the Storm (6:14)

- Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals
- Mitch Mitchell / drums
- Billy Cox / bass

Released: November 1971
Recorded: August 30, 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival in England

Isle of Wight was a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix, released in November 1971 by Polydor. The album documents Hendrix's performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970; his last performance in England before his death in September. Although the cover photo is from Berlin.

Isle of Wight contains just part of the concert. The entire performance was released on the 2002 album Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight.

The Isle Of Wight concert was one of the last concerts Jimi Hendrix gave for his tragic death. While the show's duration was about 1,5 hour this record doesn't reach even the 40 minutes. The choice of songs for this record is somewhat peculiar, because there are just a few 'hits' on this record, while there were many in the Isle of Wight concert. I do own a compilation of liverecordings of this guitar master with other tracks of the Isle of Wight concert, which did not make this record.
Because of the decision of leaving the hit's of this record this live record mainly exist of new material! So, what about the quality of these songs, which were never released on studio record? The opening track "Midnight Lightning" is an acidic (the record as a whole is Jimi Hendrix at it's most acidic sounding ever!) bluesrock song leaning on the old blues traditions, but acidic.

Foxy Lady is a welknown song and the performance is great. Jimi plays what comes to mind which lead to a lot of guitar experimentation and improvised solo's. "Lover man" is another great track. Acidic hard- rock with a lead guitar accompany to Jimi's vocals. This is quiet a short track with many good ideas carried out. Also "Freedom" is a great acidic hardrock track you should not wanna miss if you're a Hendrix fan.

The live version of "All Along the Watchtower" is near perfect. Jimi's vocals are great and his guitarplay is very tight on this song. This song is more convincing then the studio version, because of the boost of energy released on it. This version has a "Wow! factor"."In from the storm" begins with a drum solo, which duration is perfect: before it get's boring it is over. Another great track.

Critic's have banned this record for having no hit's on it and because of it's short duration. But if we look at the material on it, I cannot find a weak track on this record and some great new material. There are no experimental session which are stretched: this record is full of ideas and leaves you behind with the feeling: I wan't more! This is only the case with really good records!

Some people in documentaries I've seen thought that Jimi might have gone to a more jazzier direction if he hadn't die at young age. This record however shows Hendrix more acidic in sound then ever: a real thick guitar sound, comparable with the debut of Guru Guru. After the Band of Gypsies people might not have expected such a sound! The production is great: while the guitar is heavy and thick also the bass and drums are constantly distinquishable. The best live record of Jimi Hendrix released in the 70's!

Jimi Hendrix - 1971 - Cry Of Love

Jimi Hendrix
Cry Of Love

01. Freedom (3:24)
02. Drifting (3:46)
03. Ezy Ryder (4:09)
04. Night Bird Flying (3:50)
05. My Friend (4:40)
06. Straight Ahead (4:42)
07. Astro Man (3:37)
08. Angel (4:25)
09. In From the Storm (3:42)
10. Belly Button Window (3:34)

Jimi Hendrix / guitars, bass, piano, lead & backing vocals
Billy Cox / bass
Mitch Mitchell / drums
Buzzy Linhart / vibraphone (2)
Kenny Pine / 12-string guitar (5)
Stephen Stills / piano (5)
Paul Caruso "Gers" / harmonica (5)
Noel Redding / bass (5)
Buddy Miles / drums & backing vocals (3)
Jimmy Mayes / drums (5)
Juma Sultan / congas (1,3), percussion (3,4,7)
Billy Armstrong / percussion (3)
The Ghetto Fighters / backing vocals (1)
Steve Winwood / backing vocals (3)
Chris Wood / backing vocals (3)
Emeretta Marks / backing vocals (9)

Jimi Hendrix released four albums during his lifetime – three with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and one with The Band Of Gypsys. Those were released between 1967 and 1970. However, he was always recording  - he had his own studio – and worked on ideas until untimely death in September 1970. And some of these ideas were fully completed and arranged songs by then. Now much as I love “Electric Ladyland” & “Band Of Gypsys” they are mostly jams – these were proper songs Jimi had been working on – “Are You Experienced?” & “Axis: Bold As Love” his first two Jimi Hendrix Experience albums both were song based. These new songs were different though, perhaps more politically aware and far less psychedelic. It is often stated how huge an influence Hendrix was on Arthur Lee, but Arthur was already a brilliant songwriter before he worked with Jimi – perhaps it was a two-way thing.

Hendrix was working on a proposed double album – “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” – there are rough track lists. It is also possible there was to be another album called “People, Hell & Angels” (not the album that came out in 2013!) So lots of stuff. In fact in 1997 a CD was released of the attempt to try and construct the album in line with Jimi Hendrix’s wishes and its great.

However, back in 1971 due to the heavy demand for his music following Hendrix’s death an album was released that many consider the finest posthumous album ever and that is “The Cry Of Love”. It contained 10 tracks and was put together by producer and engineer, Eddie Kramer who had worked with Jimi Hendrix for some time and Mitch Mitchell – drummer with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and later the band Hendrix had at the time of his death. There was input from Michael Jeffrey but he did not spoil anything. Half the tracks were complete and the rest needed some work but “The Cry Of Love” is considered as much a proper Jimi Hendrix album as, say,  “Electric Ladyland”. Both Kramer & Mitchell knew what Jimi Hendrix wanted.

So what happened to “The Cry Of Love”? Well, all the tracks ended up on “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” And before that, the Alan Douglas produced and played about with – “Voodoo Soup”. “The Cry Of Love” was almost forgotten. It had not been available for years. 

But in the last year or so, vinyl albums have made a huge comeback and never an organisation to miss the opportunity to milk the cash cow; Experience Hendrix reissued it via Sony Records. It also came out on CD, which I got. Why? – after all I have all the tracks. Well, the new version uses the 1971 mixes and track listing and art work so it is worth having  - it doesn’t detract from Jimi Hendrix’s legacy, rather restores an important part of it and is also a fitting memorial to the great Mitch Mitchell and the genius of Eddie Kramer (who fortunately is still with us). By the way, Jeffrey died in a plane crash in 1973. 

OK – so that is the background to “The Cry Of Love” and why its reissue is so welcome.

What about the album itself?

The musicians beside Hendrix – who I assume you know is one of the greatest guitarists ever, were Mitchell and Billy Cox who played bass. Elsewhere Buddy Miles from Band of Gypsys plays drums on “Ezy Rider” (Hendrix’s tribute to the film) and Noel Redding  - from The Jimi Hendrix Experience  - plays bass on “My Friend”. In fact “My Friend” was recorded as early as 1968 which means it probably was not intended for “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” but its bar room atmosphere works and it is a fine track to close what was Side 1. Juma Sultan plays percussion on three of the tracks – he was at Woodstock with Hendrix and elsewhere Steve Winwood and Chris Wood from Traffic crop up on backing vocals and Stephen Stills played piano on “My Friend”. However, “The Cry Of Love” is not an album completed by famous friends rather it is mostly the work of Hendrix, Cox & Mitchell.

“Angel” was covered by Rod Stewart – he did a good job, but Hendrix’s version is far superior – his guitar playing throughout is brilliant but so is his singing. The opening “Freedom” is a brilliant way to start an album and the bluesy “Belly Button Window” is a brilliant way to close. It is sung from the point of view of a baby waiting to be born and looking out on the world. “Drifting” is as its title would imply is dreamy and floats. “Ezy Rider” sums up the rush of the film, without actually having anything to do with it and Arthur Lee later recorded it (although his version was only released years later.) 

All the other tracks are great, too, especially “In From The Storm”. Kramer, Mitchell and – OK – Jeffrey – chose very well indeed.

If you have any interest in Jimi Hendrix – and have not got “The First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” or even if you have, “The Cry Of Love” is well worth having and it is great that it is available again. So praise is due to Experience Hendrix. I only hope they do not release any more substandard albums and certainly do not even consider reissuing some of the other posthumous albums from the 1970s

This is the first posthumous studio album from Hendrix and definitely the one that is the closest to what Jimi would have liked to be.
There aren't such overdubbing as during later efforts to revive the memory of this great musician (like Douglas or even his sister will do later on). What we have here is almost the album as it would have been released if Jimi would have been still alive.

Most of the titles were achieved, even if some did receive a small edition work; but nothing exaggerated. Like a new drum play during ''Drifting''. Lots of tracks featured here already had a serious life during concerts and can be therefore considered as totally legitimate of his work (''Freedom', ''Easy Ryder'') and to a lesser extent ''Straight Ahead'' and ''In From the Storm''.

One of my fave track on this ''Cry Of Love'' is the fine rock ballad ''Angel''. Some sort of post ''Hey Joe'' kind of tune, full of emotion during the vocal parts (one of his best IMO) it is all sweetness and peace of mind.

I would recommend this album to any Hendrix fan of course, but not only. It is a good release that fully respect the view of the artist before his death. Mitchell did a lot of work to release this album as such (along with Kramer of course).

Jimi Hendrix / Otis Redding - 1970 - Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival

Jimi Hendrix / Otis Redding
Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival

Side 1: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
01. Like a Rolling Stone
02. Rock Me Baby
03. Can You See Me
04. Wild Thing

Side 2: Otis Redding
01. Shake
02. Respect
03. I've Been Loving You Too Long
04. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
05. Try A Little Tenderness

Line-up / Musicians
The Jimi Hendrix Experience:
- Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals
- Noel Redding / bass
- Mitch Mitchell / drums

Otis Redding:
- Otis Redding / vocals
- Booker T. Jones / organ
- Steve Cropper / guitar
- Donald "Duck" Dunn / bass guitar
- Al Jackson, Jr. / drums
- Wayne Jackson / trumpet
- Andrew Love / tenor saxophone

Live album by Otis Redding/The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Released: August 26, 1970

The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was one of the most significant cultural events of the 20th century. For the first time, the new style of loud rock n roll that had been hatched in London and on the west coast of the US was unleashed on the whole world via international media coverage of this groundbreaking event. Although the slew of west coast bands that opened the event seemed daunted by the challenge and floundered amongst out-of-tune guitars, amateur drug-addled performances and deer-in-headlights intimidation, three non-west coast bands followed and delivered a much needed 1-2-3 knockout punch to send this concert into musical history. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Otis Redding changed rock forever with incendiary performances that fueled nothing short of a revolution. This record presents two of those performances as best as possible, but cannot convey the feeling of shock and disbelief felt by the people who witnessed these three bands.
I've always preferred Jimi's artsy studio songs to his barn-burning live performances, but I'm probably in a minority on that opinion. Having said that, the first side of this album presents a fairly typical Hendrix outing for that time; a Dylan song, a blues classic, a fusion flavored Hendrix original and a psychotic version of Wild Thing. Like a Rollin Stone is a bit on the boring side, but the other songs have that incredible urgent punk/jazz feeling that only Mitchell and Hendrix can pull off. I especially enjoy Wild Thing with it's crazy 'Strangers in the Night' guitar solo and sheets of bizarre noise. As the song approaches it's end, shouts from the stage blend with crowd noise and guitar feedback to produce a nightmarish soundscape that would make the most avant-garde composer proud. All through this side Jimi treats us to mumbled hippie lingo mumbo-jumbo in between songs that is both funny and embarrassing.

Although the Hendrix side is good, the Otis side is even better. Having played mostly in the south, the huge crowd of hippies in California was a new thing for the countryish Redding. His response was to tell his band to play everything at double tempo in an attempt to match the previous evening's sonic blasts from The Who and The Experience. The end result lifted Redding's southern funky RnB to punk/gospel hyper workouts that generated enough energy to even outshine all other performers. Otis seems to go into a trance as the band keeps pushing the tempo and he repeats words like a man possessed. This is early rock at it's very best, and his band delivers with a professionalism that was severely lacking from all the west coast bands.

Early fast and heavy rock at it's very finest delivered by two yanks who grew up playing music in the southern US where an ability to sweat and deliver is placed above style and current trend. Music this kinetic and energetic barely exists anymore.

Jimi Hendrix - 1970 - Band Of Gypsys

Jimi Hendrix
Band Of Gypsys

01. Who Knows 9:34
02. Machine Gun 12:38
03. Changes 5:11
04. Power To Love 6:55
05. Message Of Love 5:24
06. We Gotta Live Together 5:51

Recorded Live-New Year's Eve 69-70 At Fillmore East in New York

Jimi Hendrix - guitar voice
Buddy Miles - drums
Billy Cox - voice, bass

Band of Gypsys is a live album by Jimi Hendrix and the first without his original group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was recorded on January 1, 1970, at the Fillmore East in New York City with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums, frequently referred to as the Band of Gypsys. The album mixes funk and rhythm and blues elements with hard rock and jamming, an approach which later became the basis of funk rock. It contains previously unreleased songs and was the last full-length Hendrix album released before his death.

After his appearance at Woodstock with an interim group that included Cox, Hendrix began developing new songs and recording demos. When Miles became involved, he and Cox agreed to record a live album with Hendrix to be used to settle a contract dispute with a former manager. The new material, influenced by Cox's and Miles' musical approaches, signals a new direction for Hendrix. Songs such as "Power of Soul" and "Message to Love" (originally "Power to Love" and "Message of Love") still maintain the dominant role of Hendrix's guitar, but show funk and R&B influences. Lyrically, they also explore new, more humanistic themes for Hendrix. The two numbers written and sung by Miles bear the stylings of soul music. The anti-riot/anti-war "Machine Gun", draws on Hendrix's earlier blues aspirations, but incorporates new approaches to guitar improvisation and tonal effects.

As the album's producer, Hendrix had a difficult time completing the task. Presented with the sometimes problematic recordings and resigned to turning it over to a different record company, Hendrix expressed his dissatisfaction with the final product. Shortly after its release, Band of Gypsys reached the top ten of the album charts in the US and UK as well as appearing in charts in several other countries. Although it was as popular as his albums with the Experience, it received mixed reviews. Some faulted the performances as tentative and underprepared; additionally, Miles' contributions on drums and vocals have been characterized as plodding and obtrusive. However, "Machine Gun" is generally regarded as the album's highlight and one of Hendrix's greatest achievements. The influence of Band of Gypsys is heard in the funk rock developments of the 1970s and has been cited as an inspiration by various later rock musicians. Reissues of the album on compact disc included three extra songs recorded during the Fillmore East shows, and additional material has been released on later albums.

In 1969, Jimi Hendrix was under pressure from his manager and record company to record a follow-up to his hugely successful 1968 album Electric Ladyland. He was also required to produce an album's worth of new material for Capitol Records in order to satisfy a contract dispute with former manager Ed Chalpin and PPX Enterprises. Capitol had released two misleading Chalpin-produced Curtis Knight albums with Hendrix on guitar, which competed directly with his own Experience albums. Additionally, Hendrix was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of bassist Noel Redding and the Experience format. During the recording of Electric Ladyland, he and producer Chas Chandler parted ways and Hendrix explored recording with new musicians and different musical styles. By the middle of the year, he had not completed any promising new material and Reprise Records resorted to issuing his April 1968 UK compilation album, Smash Hits, with some new tracks for the North American market. A concert film for which he had performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London in February 1969 was wrapped up in legal disputes and its release was uncertain. In May, while en route to a concert performance in Toronto, Hendrix was detained and charged with illegal possession of narcotics. If convicted of the felony, he faced as many as 20 years in prison. On June 28, 1969, Hendrix announced he planned to work with new musicians, including a new bass player. The next day, after a potentially life-threatening riot following a concert in Denver, Colorado, Redding left the group to return to London and the Jimi Hendrix Experience came to an end.

Hendrix then began experimenting with an expanded lineup for a limited number of American engagements. In addition to original Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, he worked with bassist Billy Cox and second guitarist Larry Lee, as well as percussionists Juma Sultan and Gerardo "Jerry" Velez. Cox and Lee were two musicians with whom he had played in R&B bands in Tennessee in 1962, shortly after his stint in the US Army. The aggregation, often referred to as "Gypsy Sun and Rainbows", performed as the final act at the Woodstock Festival on August 18, 1969 (while introducing the group at Woodstock, Hendrix added "It's nothing but a band of gypsies"). After a couple more appearances, including a September 8 episode of the late night American television The Dick Cavett Show without Lee and Velez, the ensemble disbanded. Lee returned to Tennessee, Sultan and Velez left to pursue other opportunities, and Mitchell joined Jack Bruce's touring group.

In October 1969, Hendrix and Cox began jamming and recording demos with drummer Buddy Miles. Miles had played with various R&B and soul musicians, as a member of the Electric Flag and fronting the Buddy Miles Express, both blues rock-R&B fusion groups. Miles was also a frequent jam partner of Hendrix and played the drums the year before on the two-part song "Rainy Day, Dream Away"/"Still Raining, Still Dreaming" for Electric Ladyland. Cox and Miles expressed an interest in performing and recording a new album with Hendrix. Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffery, saw the opportunity to record a live album during a New Year's performance at the Fillmore East and the trio began preparing for the upcoming concerts and new album. Between then and the end of December, the trio rehearsed at Juggy Sound Studios and recorded several demos at the Record Plant Studios in New York City, where Hendrix recorded much of Electric Ladyland. After Hendrix's December 10, 1969, acquittal in his Canadian trial, the trio rehearsed their material at Baggy's Studios up until their first concert appearance on December 31. In an interview, Hendrix explained, "We spent 12 to 18 hours a day practicing this whole last week, straight ahead, and then we went into a funky little club and jammed down there to test it out". Early versions of some of the songs which eventually appeared on Band of Gypsys from two of the rehearsal sessions were released as The Baggy's Rehearsal Sessions by Dagger Records in 2002.

As a new group, the Band of Gypsys needed to develop a repertoire. Several songs that had begun as ideas, jams, and demos with the Experience and Gypsy Sun and Rainbows (but unreleased) were carried over to the Band of Gypsys. These included "Lover Man", "Hear My Train A Comin'", "Izabella", "Machine Gun", "Bleeding Heart", "Stepping Stone", and "Message to Love". Three new songs featuring vocals by Buddy Miles were added: "Changes", "We Gotta Live Together" (both Miles compositions) and "Stop", an R&B song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Mort Shuman, which had been recorded by Howard Tate in 1968. Hendrix contributed new material as well, including "Power of Soul", "Ezy Ryder", "Earth Blues", "Burning Desire", and the riff for the jam song "Who Knows". The trio began rehearsing a set of songs for the four upcoming Fillmore shows.

Many of these songs represent a change in Hendrix's music from his Experience repertoire. Biographer and later Hendrix producer John McDermott elaborates

Hendrix's new songs made clear the emerging shifts in his musical direction. The titles alone—"Message to Love", "Power of Soul", "Earth Blues", "Burning Desire"—suggest a change in theme. Jimi's playful humor ... had been replaced with a strident sense of self-examination. In addition, Cox and Miles spurred Jimi's embrace of the R&B tradition they shared [and] merged rock and funk with unparalleled ease.

Most of the arrangements were developed through extensive jamming, with Cox's and Miles' playing influencing Hendrix's ideas. According to biographer Keith Shadwick, Cox explained in later interviews, "the process was based on building up rhythm patterns and that each pattern dictated the shape and character of a portion of a song in which it appeared". Record producer Alan Douglas witnessed the approach during a jam at the Record Plant and saw it as inefficient. On the other hand, Shadwick feels that it was necessary: "it seemed the only way available, especially as neither Cox nor Miles, in particular, were exactly swift on the musical uptake".Music journalist Charles Shaar Murray noted, "Cox's funky, uncluttered bass style would give Hendrix's new music a more solid, less frenetic underpinning [than Noel Redding's style]. In every way, Cox's function would be to provide the steadiness Hendrix so urgently required". Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt described Miles' style as "pleasantly messy ... He wasn't as tight as a Stax drummer [such as Al Jackson, Jr. ] ... his rolls would clatter about a bit". However, his often described "fatback grooves" lay down a solid rhythmic foundation and the combination of Cox and Miles adds a "heavy, rolling fluidity which brings out a very different dimension in Hendrix's playing".

The mix of improvisation and R&B/funk elements is evident in "Who Knows", which was the opening number for the second (after the brief "Auld Lang Syne") and third shows. It is a loose jam rather than a structured song and during the performance for second show Hendrix teases the audience with "I hope you don't mind us jamming a little bit, we're just messing around ... seeing what we're gonna play next". Built on Hendrix's guitar figure, "Who Knows" is framed by Cox's economical funk-blues bass line and Miles' steady drum beat, which Murray describes as "a thick, lazy twitch". Hendrix explores guitar phrases using different tones and effects between vocal sections. According to Cox, Hendrix used a new combination of effects for the first time. These included a Uni-Vibe phase shifter, an Octavia harmonizer (developed for him by Roger Mayer during the recording of his first album), a Fuzz Face distortion box, and a wah-wah pedal. One mixture of them produces a "whistling, shimmering, ring-modulated tone so rich with upper harmonics" in the higher range, while in the lower range "it almost sounds like 'Froggy Went a-Courtin'' ... all these [lower] oct[ave]-intervals give it such a dramatic effect". His use of the wah-wah employs "rapid foot movement and wide sweeps [which] tend to make the melody fade in and out". Also, by using a triplet rhythm with the pedal, a polyrhythm with the prevailing 4/4 beat is created. The lyrics, some which borrow from other R&B songs, are also improvised and show considerable differences between the two renditions. As it unfolds, there is an R&B-style vocal call and response section between Hendrix and Miles, then separate vocal sections for each, which Miles follows with scat singing. During the middle section, most of the instrumentation drops out and returns with more Hendrix guitar tonal explorations before winding down at 8:23 (second show) and 9:32 (third show). While McDermott feels that the jam is underdeveloped and biographer Harry Shapiro criticizes Miles' vocals, Shadwick and writer David Henderson focus on the "easy groove" and "lilting flow". Besides adding a fresh rhythmic element to his music, it also gives Hendrix more room to experiment with different approaches and sounds on guitar.

Similarly, the Buddy Miles song "We Gotta Live Together" is a jam number. It forms the second part of a medley with "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and had only been performed once before at the Baggy's rehearsal room. The song features Miles attempting to engage the audience in a call and response "testifying" soul music-style vocal section, which was mostly edited out for the album release. Hendrix and Cox back Miles' vocal sections with parallel funk-style lines, before a guitar solo using Hendrix's new combination of effects. Shapiro comments

At that point, it picks up into double-time and the sounds of electronic equipment not yet invented stream out of Jimi's Stratocaster at breakneck speed. Coming after the kind of stuff Jimi could play in his sleep, the contrast is even more startling. The passage is quite short, but it has an eerie abstract quality.

"Changes" is another song written and sung by Miles and it benefits from more development and structure. Although it includes a prominent guitar line by Hendrix, it is Miles' showcase piece. The song was performed during each show with little variation, except for Miles' vocal improvisations. With these sections edited out, "Changes" is a relatively concise, soul music radio-friendly number. When Miles re-recorded it as "Them Changes", it became a Billboard top 40 Best Selling Soul Singles as well as appearing in the magazine's Hot 100 pop chart.

The two Hendrix compositions, "Power of Soul" and "Message to Love", are also more structured and rehearsed songs. They represent Hendrix's new blending of funk, R&B, and rock together with a new lyrical approach. According to Shapiro, the lyrics reflect "a Jimi Hendrix who felt an increasing need to impart his compassionate vision of human potentiality [and a] move away from cynicism and bitterness". Cox and Miles provide strong instrumental backing, where the rhythm is "locked-in" or "deep in the pocket", a common feature of funk and R&B. (Nearly all of Hendrix's music, and contemporary rock in general, uses common or 4/4 time; "Manic Depression" (3/4 or 9/8), "Dolly Dagger" (5/4), "Stepping Stone" (8/8), and the slow blues ""Red House" and "Belly Button Window" (both 12/8) are among the exceptions.). Jazz innovator Miles Davis felt that Cox and Miles were the best rhythm section for Hendrix and freed him from the constraints of the Experience. Guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly, who played with Davis, commented in an interview:

Band of Gypsys was the ultimate in terms of what he [Hendrix] was doing. I thought the rhythm section was perfect for him. Billy Cox and Buddy Miles—those were two cats who could hit. I mean, it was so solid that when Hendrix went into his psychedelic stuff it was like a perfect contrast. You could see how far he was traveling because the ground was so clear!

"Machine Gun" is another song that Hendrix had spent more time developing. By the Fillmore East concerts, it became an extended guitar improvisational piece, which "would completely change the perception of Hendrix's capabilities as an improviser and musician", according to Shadwick. Although based on a "minor drone-blues" in the line of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", Hendrix's performance has been compared to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane's approach to improvisation. Miles Davis, with whom Coltrane had recorded several albums in the 1950s, including the influential Kind of Blue, noted the connection: "Jimi liked what I had done with Kind of Blue and some other stuff and wanted to add more jazz elements to what he was doing. He liked the way Coltrane played with all those sheets of sound, and played his guitar in a similar way". From Hendrix's dedication of the song "to all the soldiers that are fighting in Chicago and Milwaukee and New York, oh yes, and all the soldiers fighting in Vietnam", "Machine Gun" is as much about the late 1960s American race riots as the war in Vietnam. Guitarist Vernon Reid describes it as "like a movie about war without the visuals. It had everything—the lyrics, the humanism of it, the drama of it, the violence of it, the eeriness of it, [and] the unpredictability of it". In many commentaries about Band of Gypsys, "Machine Gun" is singled out as the highlight of the album. Both McDermott and Shadwick call it one of Hendrix's greatest achievements, which sets a standard that the rest of the album does not approach.

The material for Band of Gypsys was recorded over two consecutive nights at the Fillmore East. The group was scheduled for two shows on December 31, 1969, and another two on January 1, 1970 (because the shows went beyond midnight, the actual dates were December 31 – January 1 and January 1–2; for ease of reference, these are referred as the first show, second show, third show, and fourth show). The recording was supervised by Wally Heider, an experienced sound engineer who ran a recording studio and had made several live recordings. He had already recorded Hendrix live several times, including at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969. Portable recording equipment was set up at the venue and the trio performed for a soundcheck in the afternoon.

Concert promoter Bill Graham billed the performances as "Jimi Hendrix: A Band of Gypsys", but Hendrix's new direction since the breakup of the Experience six months earlier had not been publicized. With a new lineup and material, Cox observed, "We didn't know what to expect from the audience and the audience didn't know what to expect from us". A total of 47 songs were performed and recorded; since most were played in more than one show, the number of different songs was 24. The group did not prepare set lists or otherwise plan for their performances. McDermott notes, "Hendrix called out tunes to Miles and Cox and would often make time and tempo changes on the fly, alerting his partners with a simple head nod or raising of his guitar neck". Miles also saw improvisation as a key element of their approach. According to Shadwick, the first show was essentially a warm-up set and they performed eleven new songs (it was the only show not to include any familiar Experience numbers). There were some microphone problems during the first two songs, which re-appeared for the first two songs of the second show as well. Hendrix also experienced tuning problems with his guitar. His heavy use of the Stratocaster's vibrato arm or "whammy bar" stressed the strings and led to pitch problems, which he was often forced to correct mid-song. For the second show, in addition to new songs, Hendrix added "Stone Free", "Foxy Lady", "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", and "Purple Haze" to ring in the new decade.

On the second night, the group performed a mix of new and older material for the third and fourth shows. The contrast between the first and second nights has been noted by Hendrix biographers. Based on interviews with Cox and Miles, concert reviews, and film footage, McDermott and Shadwick conclude that Hendrix was less animated during the third and fourth shows, when he stood mostly in place until the final encores, seemingly concentrating on recording. In frequent interviews and in his autobiography, Bill Graham claimed that his criticism of Hendrix for playing to the audience (although he seems to confuse which shows) spurred him on. However, according to McDermott, Hendrix was already determined to deliver suitable performances to finally settle the bitter legal dispute with Ed Chalpin. All of the six songs that were chosen for Band of Gypsys were recorded during these two shows. When it was all done, Hendrix cut loose for his last encores with "Wild Thing", "Hey Joe", and "Purple Haze".

On January 12, 1970, Hendrix and recording engineer Eddie Kramer began the task of deciding which songs to include on the new album (Cox and Miles did not participate in the process). The review and subsequent audio mixing was undertaken at Juggy Sound Studios in New York, where the trio started rehearsing in October. Excluding Experience and cover songs, there were multiple versions of thirteen new, previously unreleased songs from which to choose. Among those that received Kramer's and Hendrix's attention were "Machine Gun", "Earth Blues", "Burning Desire", "Ezy Ryder", "Who Knows", and "Hear My Train A Comin'". Early on, Hendrix chose to include the Buddy Miles songs "Changes" and "We Gotta Live Together". He also decided on "Power of Soul" and "Message to Love", studio versions of which had been considered for release as a single (these studio recordings were later included on South Saturn Delta and West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology). Songs with recording problems and those Hendrix wished to complete as studio recordings were withheld (studio versions of "Izabella" and "Stepping Stone" were released as a single in March; "Ezy Ryder" and "Earth Blues" were included on his first posthumous albums).

By January 21, Hendrix and Kramer narrowed the list to "Message to Love" (fourth show), "Hear My Train A Comin'" (first show), "Power of Soul" (third and fourth shows), and all four recordings of "Machine Gun". Hendrix and Kramer began preparing mixes of the multitrack recordings. During the process, Kramer recalled

Mixing the Band of Gypsys album was a challenge. It was like Jimi was really almost pressured into doing it. Hearing Buddy's [vamping or musical improvisation] seemed to bother him. We were sitting there and he was like. 'Oh man, I wish Buddy would shut the fuck up.' He would listen to him and say, 'Can we cut some of those parts out?' I ended up editing a lot of Buddy's quote unquote 'jamming', where he would go off and sing a lot.

One of Miles' songs, "We Gotta Live Together" was pared down from fifteen to a little over five minutes and another, "Changes", also benefited from trimming, because, as Murray puts it, "a little of [Miles' vamping] goes an extremely long way". This editing also provided some lighter moments. One of Jeffery's assistants recalled, "Hendrix played me a tape and prefaced it by saying it represented the new direction in his music. He had made up this long loop of tape of the portions edited out of 'We Gotta Live Together'. I flipped out and he started cracking up". After several more editing and mixing sessions at Juggy Sound, the material for the album was readied on February 17. The following day, Hendrix and Kramer met with Bob Ludwig, who supervised the final mastering. Hendrix chose to work with his own mastering engineer, because he had been dissatisfied with his record company's results for Electric Ladyland. The task was completed on February 19, 1970, and the final track listing included two songs from the third show and four from the fourth and last show.

According to Shadwick, "The process of choosing and mixing the live album was not a pleasant one: Hendrix only fulfilled his legal obligation to PPX/Capitol under duress and with the greatest reluctance". McDermott questions why some superior tracks that Hendrix recorded were not used instead. Kramer sees it as a compromise:

I don't know that Jimi felt that these concerts were his best performances, but there were parts of them that he was really happy with. Certainly, 'Machine Gun' and tracks like 'Message to Love' sounded pretty good. At the time he didn't want to include new songs that he wanted to finish in Electric Lady [Hendrix's new custom-built recording studio]. Jimi was kind of resigned to the fact that here we are, we have to mix this, we got to give it to Capitol, it wasn't a Warner's record [his official record company], let's do the best we can with it.

Early on, Billy Cox believed that the primary goal was to resolve the matter with Chalpin. Later, he commented, "Overall, the feeling was, 'What the heck, the album doesn't belong to us anyway. Let's just move on and forget it'". Already past the 1969 deadline, Hendrix summed it up:

I wasn't too satisfied with the album. If it had been up to me, I never would have put it out. From a musician's point of view, it was not a good recording and I was out of tune on a few things ... not enough preparation went into it and it came out a bit 'grizzly'. The thing was, we owed the record company an album and they were pushing us, so here it is.

On February 25, 1970, Michael Jeffery delivered the master tapes for Band of Gypsys to Capitol Records executives in Los Angeles. Capitol rush released the album one month later on March 25, 1970, and it entered Billboard magazine's Top 200 albums chart at number eighteen. It reached number five during a stay of 61 weeks on the chart and, at the time of his death, was Hendrix's best selling album in the US since Are You Experienced. Due to legal wrangling by Ed Chalpin and PPX, the album was not released in the UK for nearly two more months. When Track Records issued it on June 12, 1970, it quickly entered the British charts, where it remained for 30 weeks and reached number six.

For the album cover, Capitol Records used a grainy photograph of Hendrix taken during the Fillmore East shows illuminated by the multi-colored liquid light show projected by the Joshua Light Show. However, Track used album cover art which proved controversial, as they had done with Electric Ladyland. It depicted puppets or dolls that resembled Hendrix, Brian Jones, Bob Dylan, and John Peel huddled next to a drab, corrugated backdrop. The significance of posing the three with Hendrix was not evident as they had no known association with the Band of Gypsys nor the group's material. Hendrix was an admirer of Dylan and recorded some of his songs; Jones, who died the year before, had participated in a recording session for Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" (a Dylan composition); and Peel hosted BBC's Top Gear radio show when Hendrix performed there in 1967. Jeffrey remarked, "If ever there is an award for the worst taste album cover it must go to this".Responding to public pressure, Track later replaced it with a photograph of Hendrix performing at the August 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

By the time of the album's release, the trio had already broken up. Their first show after the Fillmore East engagement was at the Madison Square Garden on January 28, 1970. There they struggled through "Who Knows" and "Earth Blues" before leaving the stage. Jeffery, who reportedly was never happy with the lineup, fired Buddy Miles on the spot. Gerry Stickells, Hendrix's tour manager, points to "Jimi's own lack of commitment to the Band of Gypsys concept as its fatal flaw". Two songs, "Stepping Stone" and "Izabella", that the trio had recorded, were issued as a single by Reprise Records two weeks after Capitol released Band of Gypsys. Hendrix was dissatisfied with the mix and it was quickly withdrawn without ever appearing in the charts. Three other songs that were recorded with Cox and Miles were later used for early posthumous Hendrix albums, including The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge. Additional studio recordings by the trio in various stages of development were released on South Saturn Delta, The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, Burning Desire, West Coast Seattle Boy, and People, Hell and Angels

Band of Gypsys has often been viewed as the least important album that Hendrix released when he was alive. Critics have generally found it less powerful than his performance with the Experience, whom they felt Hendrix had a better rapport with live. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music journalist Gary von Tersch said that the album is hampered by poorly recorded vocals and Miles' unpleasant drumming, and instead viewed it as a showcase for Hendrix's virtuosic guitar playing: "With just bass and drum support he is able to transfuse and transfix on the strength of his guitar-work alone." The magazine's David Wild was more enthusiastic in a retrospective review and felt that songs such as "Message of Love" and "Machine Gun" still sound powerful in spite of the unclear recording quality.

According to Sean Westergaard of AllMusic, Band of Gypsys is one of the best live albums of all time and an important recording for Hendrix, who played with a remarkable degree of focus and precision on what were "perhaps his finest [live] performances." Sputnikmusic's Hernan M. Campbell believed that it departed from his more psychedelic recordings with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but still retained their intensity, particular on "Machine Gun", which Campbell called one of Hendrix's most captivating performances. On the other hand, Robert Christgau felt that the "overrated" album is decent by live rock standards, but unexceptional in Hendrix's discography. Christgau also believed that Hendrix is limited by the straighter, simpler rhythm section, but added that "Who Knows" and "Machine Gun" "are as powerful if not complex as anything he's ever put on record". He stated that Hendrix is more reliant on wah-wah guitar lines for the second half of the album, except for the "rapid fire" "Message to Love"

Band of Gypsys was re-released on compact disc in 1991 by Polydor Records in Europe and Japan. In addition to the original tracks, it included three extra songs recorded during the Fillmore East shows: "Hear My Train A Comin'" from the first show and "Foxy Lady" and the Jerry Ragovoy and Mort Shuman song "Stop", both from the third show. These had been originally released in the US by Capitol Records in 1986 on the Band of Gypsys 2 album (despite the title, only half of the album's songs were recorded with Cox and Miles). In 1997, when Band of Gypsys was re-released on CD in the US, Capitol only included the original six tracks.

After Experience Hendrix, a family-run company, assumed control of his recording legacy, more material from the Fillmore shows has been issued. "Hear My Train" and "Stop" are included on the 1999 double CD Live at the Fillmore East, along with several songs from each of the four shows. "Foxy Lady" was added to one version of the 2013 "Somewhere" single. An additional three songs from the second Fillmore show are included on West Coast Seattle Boy. The trio was filmed performing two of the songs that are included on the original album. Black and white footage for part of "Who Knows" was filmed by Woody Vasulka from the hall, while Jan Blom shot "Machine Gun" from the balcony. It was later included on the 1999 DVD documentary Band of Gypsys: Live at the Fillmore East.

Rolling Stone Magazine review
Gary Von Tersch
May 28, 1970

This is the album that Hendrix "owed" Capitol for releasing him over to Reprise Records and significantly, it isn't a studio effort, as his Reprise albums have been. Which is not to imply that it is any better than those Experience albums. The context of the album is vital — Band of Gypsys was one of Hendrix' 1969 amalgamations consisting of Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass, among others. They hadn't been together very long when this session was recorded live at the Fillmore East, New Year's Eve 1969/70, and the music shows it.

Both sides are basically extended jams with lots of powerful, together guitar by Hendrix, able bass by Cox, at times overbearing drums by Miles and rather lame, buried vocals by both Hendrix and Miles. The group sound is surprisingly similar to Hendrix' old "Foxy Lady" and "Purple Haze" days, with the significant difference that here Hendrix really gets into his guitar playing. No more the flashy, crotch-oriented gimmickry and extended wah-wahs — here he just stands still and shows us how adept he is with the ax. The support from Cox is always inventive, but Miles' drumming is definitely disturbing and exceedingly pedestrian at times. Hendrix overcomes on pure tension alone, as both "Message To Love" and "Who Knows" aptly demonstrate.

The problem is the vocals — all the tunes are new ones and with Hendrix' weird poetic sensibility (akin to LeRoi Jones in effect at times: catch the poem on the inside cover), it would have been a large improvement had we been presented with a little less drumming and a lot more vocal. The excitement and hypnotic compression so apparent in the music would have been pressed home even wore forcefully behind Hendrix' drawling, heavily inflected voice, because Hendrix is not just a run-of-the mill R&B singer — his voice is just as much an instrument as his guitar. But, it's all just potential this time out, with the one exception of the twelve-minute "Machine Gun," dedicated to "all the soldiers that are fighting in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York and . . . oh, yes . . . all the soldiers fighting in Viet Nam." Here the Hendrix vocal is in the forefront and perfectly matched to his most desperate, driving guitar solo ever. You can hear the sirens wailing and the entire mood, even down to Miles' drumming, is one of confrontation and freneticism mixed in equal parts.

This album is Hendrix the musician. With just bass and drum support he is able to transfuse and transfix on the strength of his guitar-work alone.

To hear a recording of Hendrix' live performances,never doing the same thing twice and still managing to be unparalleled all the time in therms of guitar improvisation,is always a joy.Mitch Mitchell,his Experience drummer,was almost as equally gifted.But the man behind the drum kit in this 1970 new year's eve performances in New York was Buddy Miles,who somehow completed and brought out Jimi's vein in american black music.As a result,what we hear is an absolutely brilliant mixture of blues,funk,soul, and elements of jazz,at least in therms of structure.
Jimi might not have being on a good mood that day,as it is popularly known.His guitar sounds like a demon on acid.By tuning it on the key of D,he managed to bend and vibrate the strings in a ferocious way.Hendrix evokes a napalm bombing out of a stratocaster, and thankfully this recording exists 40 years later to prove why,according to Neil Young,"no one was even in the same building as that guy".The sounds that popped in his head at the spur of the moment,and which he flawlessly gave physical dimension with his fingers,may be one's subject of study for years.And still,not even the most skillful guitarist will ever be able to plainly reproduce what is heard on record.

Buddy Miles,with his Motown-stile singing,is also a shining star here.His contribution to the set-list, Changes,is a first-class James Brown inspired funk groove.The centerpiece of the album,Machine Gun,is where the spotlights turn completely to Hendrix.In a 12 minute lysergic ritual,we hear his guitar as a force of nature,thundering and roaring through the Marshall amplifiers in a chaotic,atrocious,unearthly powerful way that would never be heard again after he was gone.

This album is truly what rock n'roll is all about,or was at it's best moment in time.Not a proper style of music,but a mixture of many.Hendrix drinks from outside influences to formulate the purest rock brand, which was his own and 100% original.What makes it a true work of art is the priceless spontaneity of the whole thing, which was definitely in the air in the late 60's,but no one captured as well as Jimi. To go on writing just how disturbingly genius was this man is pointless.All of his albums speak for themselves,and maybe this one does so best of all.