Friday, March 16, 2018

Alphonso Johnson - 1977 - Spellbound

Alphonso Johnson 

01. Summer Solstice (First Movement) 1:31
02. Follow Your Heart 4:41
03. Bahama Mama 4:07
04. Nomads 4:57
05. Moonlight Conversation 2:56
06. Face Blaster 4:13
07. Feelings Are ...(The Hardest Words To Say) 5:08
08. Earthtales Suite 8:51

Backing Vocals - Bayeté , Michaela Carey
Drums, Cymbals, Percussion, Gong, Bells, Percussion,- David Igelfeld
Guitar - Pat Thrall
Guitar - Kevin Shireve
Piano, Arp 2600, Arp Omni, Mini-moog, Clavinet - Clyde Criner
Chapman Stick, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer - Alphonso Johnson

After Yesterday's Dreams and Moonshadows, Spellbound is Alphonso Johnson's third and, unfortunately, last album (to date) as a leader. Whereas Moonshadows featured a lot of famous guest players, such as Bennie Maupin and Patrice Rushen, Spellbound features a band consisting of relatively unknown musicians: Kevin Shireve (guitars), Clyde Criner (keyboards), and David Igelfeld (drums and percussion), with Pat Thrall adding some guitar solos to some tracks. The record is a great showcase for Johnson's bass playing, alternating between soloing ("Nomads"), lead bass ("Face Blaster"), and supporting duties. The band delivers a very solid performance, though they never get as much spotlight. For all of Johnson's technical brilliance, he seems to be more concerned with the songs itself and their respective moods, though, and so he restrains himself quite often from showing off, which helps a lot. Most of the tracks are jazz-rock pieces somewhere between Romantic Warrior and Goblin, but there are a couple of ballads added for good measure. On four occasions, Johnson also sings, and while he has a rather weak (albeit pleasant) voice, it actually fits the songs very well: even the faster pieces on this record always retain a quiet aura of melancholy, and Johnson's tender voice and peculiar melodies add to the charm. The pensive "Moonlight Conversations" is a gem, while the six-part "Earthtales Suite" shows the artist's ambitions, as it ranges from almost classical impressions (his bowed bass playing nearly passes as a whole string section) to synth noise effortlessly. Actually, the whole album works as a suite, especially since the last track reprises the first one, and while it is not a must-have, it certainly shows ambition and originality. 

Alphonso Johnson - 1976 - Yesterdays Dreams

Alphonso Johnson 
Yesterdays Dreams

01. Love's The Way I Feel 'Bout Cha 4:43
02. As Little As You 3:22
03. Scapegoat 5:09
04. Show Us The Way 4:54
05. Balls To The Wall 4:59
06. Tales Of Barcelona 2:15
07. Flight To Hampstead Heath 5:55
08. One To One 3:52

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Lee Ritenour
Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Ernie Fields
Bells [Orchestra], Marimba, Vibraphone – Ruth Underwood
Congas, Percussion – Sheila Escovedo
Drums – Chester Thompson, Mike Clark
Electric Guitar – Ray Gomez
Keyboards – Patrice Rushen
Organ – David Foster, Mark Jordan
Synthesizer – Ian Underwood
Tenor Saxophone – Ernie Watts, Grover Washington, Jr.
Trombone – Garnett Brown, George Bohannon
Trumpet – Chuck Findley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Gary Grant
Vocals – Diane Reeves, Jon Lucien, Phillip Bailey
Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Alphonso Johnson

Assembling the same jazz-fusion dream team as on his debut,Alphonso Johnson's sophomore album kicks off with the harmonically expansive big band jazz funk of "Love's The Way I Feel About Cha"-with Alphonso and Dianne Reeves voices ascending into the musical stratosphere. "As Little As You" creates an internally funky extravaganza-with stop/start rhythms emerging with each refrain and the descending wah wah effects coming up from the Headhunters' Mike Clark keeping up pace.

"Scapegoat" comes out with a steady,electric piano fueled groove that rolls right along with a superb clip while Johnson and Lee Ritenour accompany creamy baritone Jon Lucien on this swelling acoustic jazz/funk number. "Balls To The Walls" opens up with a very Zappa-like progressive metal number with Ray Gomez snarling some blues in a slow crunching rhythm section. The stripped down bass/guitar duet of Tales Of Barcelona" opens the door for the amazing instrumental interplay of the hard core fusion instrumental "Flight To Hampstead Heath"-led along by Zappa's renowned vibraphonist Ruth Underwood. The album closes with stomping keyboard/horn laden funk of "One To One".

Though many pop music listeners today sometimes don't remember it, it's important to keep hearing the musicians eternal callings about the stylistic breadth,playing ability and compositional beauty of which the 70's jazz/funk instrumentalists such as Alphonso Johnson were capable of. Coming out of Weather Report,of whom even Arsenio Hall has sung the praises of,this is an example how Miles Davis's fusion innovation led the way to groups who themselves spawned some of the very finest players of the era such as Johnson. Blending funk,jazz,rock and folk with an flexibly elastic instrumental approach? This is a must have album from that wonderfully funky year of 1976!

Alphonso Johnson - 1976 - Moonshadows

Alphonso Johnson 

01. Stump
02. Involuntary Bliss
03. Cosmoba Place
04. Pandora's Box
05. Up From The Cellar
06. Amarteifio
07. On The Case
08. Unto Thine Own Self Be True

Bass, Chapman Stick [Electric Stick], Vocals – Alphonso Johnson
Drums – Ndugu Leon Chancler
Drums, Keyboards – Narada Michael Walden
Guitar – Chris Bond, David Amaro, Blackbird McKnight, Lee Ritenour
Keyboards – Patrice Rushen
Keyboards – Ian Underwood
Keyboards, Vocals – Dawilli Gonga
Orchestra [Orchestron], Voice, Choir, Keyboards – Alphonse Mouzon
Percussion – Airto Moreira, Alejandro Acuna
Reeds – Bennie Maupin
Soprano Saxophone – Gary Bartz
Vocals – Flora Purim

Alphonso Johnson (born 2 February 1951 in Philadelphia) started as upright bass player, but switched to the electric bass in his late teens. He played as session bassist with a few jazz musicians (his early gigs included time with Horace Silver, Woody Herman (1972), Chuck Mangione (1973), and Chet Baker )and then changed co-founding member Miroslav Vitous in Weather Report. Johnson, ranked alongside peers Stanley Clarke and Steve Swallow, was considered one of the best bassists of the period. His playing was featured on the Weather Report album Mysterious Traveler, on the songs Cucumber Slumber and Scarlet Woman. As Weather Report's bassist from 1974 to 1976, Johnson's warm tone and fluent chops contributed to the band?s initial breakout from avant-garde into funk fusion. Then he left the band to work with drummer Billy Cobham. During 1976-77 he recorded three solo albums as a band leader, for the Epic label, in a fusion-funk vein.

During the late 1970s, Johnson began playing and recording with an instrument called the Chapman Stick, which is a bass with an extra five strings so a player can simulate bass and lead guitar tones simultaneously. In 1978, Johnson appeared on trumpeter Eddie Henderson's fusion album Sunburst, which came out on Blue Note Records . He was mentioned as possible replacement of Steve Hacket in Genesis, and participated on Phil Collins solo debut. In early 1982, Johnson joined Grateful Dead member Bob Weir's side project, Bobby and the Midnites. He would reunite with Weir playing bass in place of Phil Lesh on The Other Ones 2000 tour. He has performed fusion versions of Grateful Dead covers alongside Billy Cobham in the band Jazz Is Dead. 

In 1985-1989 Alphonso played in Santana's band. Later in 1996, Johnson toured with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist, James Beard, drummer Rodney Holmes and, guitarist David Gilmore playing shows that stretched across Europe and Japan. Johnson performed with Jazz Is Dead until 2002, and appears on the albums Blue Light Rain, Laughing Water, and Great Sky River. Johnson has taught all over the world and in 2004 he was appointed associate professor of music at the University of Southern California, whose jazz faculty includes drummer Peter Erskine and keyboardist Alan Pasqua.

With all these jazz-funk-fusion bass players such as Stanley Clarke,Jaco Pastorius and the like beginning solo careers in the mid 70's it seemed only fitting that Weather Report's Alphonso Johnson would do the same thing. With a list of over a bakers dozen musicans-everyone from Patrice Rushen,Lee Ritenour,Flora Purim,Ndugu Chancler,Ian Underwood and Gary Bartz you'd think the sound on this album is very cluttered. It doesn't.The music on this album emerges as a musical feast that is easily as potent and meaningful as a Weather Report album such as Mysterious Traveller and Tale Spinnin':with a sound that maintains a fusion of funk,latin and progressive jazz with avante garde touches. "Stump","Up From The Cellar" and "On The Case" are spot on jazz-funk where Alphonso works his bass into grooves AND excellent compositions that that really provide this great musical kick and the groove actually mutates along with the instrumentation as opposed to somewhat against it,setting it well apart from Weather Report. The middle section of the album is set up with the more abstract and atmospheric Brazillian-fusion pieces with "Involuntary Bliss","Cosmoba Place" and "Pandora's Box". All are very beautiful but also very haunting and forboding. Then again,isn't great beauty in pretty much anything kind of the same way? "Amarteifio" presents a very Flora Purimish sound...featuring Flora Purim and it's a wonderful marriage of vocalist and musician's sound combining into one. And yet more proof that Flora's sense of being a human musical instrument with an ability to keep up with just about any musician she's involved with. I must respectfully say that I don't entirely agree with another reviews comment on "Unto Thine Own Self Be True". I always appreciated Narada Michael Walden's spiritual/meditative approch to his brand of progressive funk/fusion and this cut could've easily come off of Narada's own Garden of Love Light. If he is to be considered one of the prejenitors of new age Narada was someone who got it right somewhere. This album is a vital part of the 70's funk/fusion movement and with it's great album cover also reflects the artistic spirit of the period. There is a sense of great freedom and thoughtfullness in this music and,as in the best of funk of the period it invites you to join in and be merry while your having the musical experience.

Jimi Hendrix - 1978 - The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volumes One and Two

Jimi Hendrix
The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volumes One and Two

Volume One
101. Are You Experienced? 4:07
102. Third Stone From The Sun 6:37
103. Purple Haze 2:47
104. Little Wing 2:24
105. If 6 Was 9 5:32
106. Bold As Love 4:08
107. Little Miss Lover 2:20
108. Castles Made Of Sand 2:45
109. Gypsy Eyes 3:39
110. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp 3:35
111. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) 5:08
112. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) 2:09
113. Still Raining, Still Dreaming 4:22
114. House Burning Down 4:30
115. All Along The Watchtower 3:57
116. Room Full Of Mirrors 3:16
117. Izabella 2:49
118. Freedom 3:23
119. Dolly Dagger 4:40
120. Stepping Stone 4:06
121. Drifting 3:45
122. Ezy Rider 4:05

Volume Two
201. Hey Joe 3:25
202. Fire 2:41
203. Foxey Lady 3:15
204. The Wind Cries Mary 3:15
205. I Don't Live Today 3:49
206. Crosstown Traffic 2:17
207. Wild Thing 6:44
208. Machine Gun 12:09
209. The Star Spangled Banner 3:45
7" Bonus
210. Gloria 8:47

CD Tracklist
Volume One
101. Are You Experienced? 4:07
102. Third Stone From The Sun 6:37
103. Purple Haze 2:47
104. Hey Joe 3:25
105. Fire 2:41
106. Foxey Lady 3:15
107. The Wind Cries Mary 3:15
108. I Don't Live Today 3:49
109. Little Wing 2:24
110. If 6 Was 9 5:32
111. Bold As Love 4:08
112. Little Miss Lover 2:20
113. Castles Made Of Sand 2:45
114. Gypsy Eyes 3:39
115. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp 3:35
116. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) 5:08
117. Crosstown Traffic 2:17
118. Still Raining, Still Dreaming 4:22
Volume Two
201. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) 2:09
202. All Along The Watchtower 3:57
203. House Burning Down 4:30
204. Room Full Of Mirrors 3:16
205. Izabella 2:49
206. Freedom 3:23
207. Dolly Dagger 4:40
208. Stepping Stone 4:06
209. Drifting 3:45
210. Ezy Rider 4:05
211. Wild Thing 6:44
212. Machine Gun 12:09
213. The Star Spangled Banner 3:45
214. Gloria 8:47

I can't believe I almost forgot to post this one, if it hadn't been for a reader that reminded me...
The Essential Jimi Hendrix is a greatest hits package released in 1978 that has some of Jimi Hendrix's most popular songs. Some songs not included in this release would show up on the second collection in 1979. When released on CD, volumes 1 and 2 were put together as a double-CD package. 
Volume Two also contained a 7" 33?1/3 RPM one-sided EP of The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing the song "Gloria" Recorded at TTG Studios, Hollywood, CA, October 29, 1968 and as far as I know, not available anywhere else... The rest of the tracks are all taken from the regular albums, but Gloria by itself is worth the price of admission...

Jimi Hendrix - 2018 - Both Sides Of The Sky

Jimi Hendrix 
Both Sides Of The Sky

01. Mannish Boy
02. Lover Man
03. Hear My Train a Comin'
04. Stepping Stone
05. $20 Fine
06. Power of Soul
07. Jungle
08. Things I Used to Do
09. Georgia Blues
10. Sweet Angel
11. Woodstock
12. Send My Love to Linda
13. Cherokee Mist


The Hendrix vaults, like my cup, runneth over… I can’t believe this long after Jimi Hendrix’s tragic, early demise that there are still recordings of this high quality that haven’t already been released yet. Of course, my friend Matthew will tell you there’s probably a second guitarist on the grassy knoll – there isn’t one Matt… These are, for the most part, fully realized, in-studio tracks that I’ve never heard before. Full disclosure, unlike Dylan, I’ve never been a Hendrix completist. I own a lot of his music, but no bootlegs whatsoever. Kudos to Eddie Kramer, Hendrix’s engineer back in the day, for pulling this together and making it sound so exceptional. I’m sure there are pasty guys in New York with goatees and grizzled visages who have book cases full of reel-to-reel tapes that they only handle when wearing white gloves, who have heard these songs bootlegged before… but for me most of the tracks on the newly released Both Sides of the Sky are new revelations. This album completes what I consider a loose trilogy of albums full of unreleased Hendrix tracks: Valleys of Neptune and People, Hell and Angels being the other two albums… All of which are essential for any Hendrix fan or fans of electric guitar in general.

After spending the weekend with this album and the other two I mention, I have to say, with all apologies to Eddie Van Halen (who I recently wrote about) and Jimmy Page (whose playing I adore), Jimi Hendrix is simply the greatest guitarist who ever lived. It’s not even close. I’m sure there are people out there who will want to fight me on this… I can remember when I was in junior high, sitting at the back of the school bus heading home one day. I alway sat in the back of the bus with the stoners. They were high but they were generally smarter people than the jocks up front. These two guys sitting in the rows in front of me got into an actual fist fight because they were arguing about what musical direction Hendrix would have taken if he’d lived. One of them made the mistake of saying Hendrix would have gone into jazz. The next thing I knew, punches are being thrown. I gotta say, those stoners were dedicated music fans.

Since Hendrix built and owned Electric Lady Studios, I like to think he’d have made a fortune from other artists recording there… I’d like to think, had he lived, Hendrix would be living in a condo above the studio, the reclusive ex-guitar God, who nobody sees or hears from unless he comes down on the street to score some weed. Maybe every once in a while he’d grant an interview where he’d say a few pro-Peace things, a few anti-Trump barbs and maybe drop the words “groovy” and “dig it” into his conversation. He’d refer to everyone as “Dude.” Eventually he’d have made the inevitable Rick Rubin produced comeback album – in Hendrix’s case it would have probably been an all acoustic, Blind Lemon Jefferson covers album. It’d probably win a Grammy. After a rambling speech accepting his Grammy, he’d return to his reclusive ways, where he’d only be seen occasionally wandering through the studio in a kaftan, headed out on the street to buy more weed. But then again, my imagination may be getting away from me on this…

The recordings that make up Both Sides of the Sky, from what I can ascertain, come from roughly 1968 to 1970. Since Hendrix owned a studio he spent almost all of his time when he wasn’t touring, recording what was to be the follow-up to Electric Ladyland. I think besides Electric Lady, he also spent a lot of time at New York’s Record Plant where some of these tracks were recorded. The line up of musicians on these tracks changes by track. Some of these songs feature the Experience, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass. Others feature the guys who were in the Band of Gypsies, Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass.

There are different versions of songs here that have appeared elsewhere. Each of the the three albums I mentioned above has a version of the blues tune, “Hear My Train a Comin’.” That may make you shy away from a compilation like this, but I can literally listen to each version and find something different in each one. Hendrix is like a painter, like say, Cezanne, who would paint the same water lilies repeatedly, but using different colors, different perspective, different arrangement of the subject. Like that, Hendrix approaches the song and the solos differently on each track. Hendrix was, at heart a blues guy. Like Dylan with folk music, Hendrix, no matter how far he strayed into psychedelia, would return to the blues. I get the feeling that “Hear My Train a Comin'” was his in-studio warm up jam. He gets the band together, the microphones get set up and to heat up the room, the band naturally goes to it’s comfort zone and they play the blues. The solo on this version is ferocious.

There are other titles you’ll recognize, but these are different versions of the songs. I’ve heard “Lover Man” on live albums, but this is the first studio version I’ve heard. I’d also heard “Power of Soul” on the live album, Band of Gypsies, but this is the first studio version for me. There’s what sounds like an earlier version of “Stepping Stone,” which appeared on the album First Rays of the New Rising Sun. All of these, if you’ve heard the other versions, gives you a glimpse into Hendrix’s creative process. They show how he’d often recut and rerecord his guitar parts endlessly until he got something that was revelatory to him. It’s great stuff.

He has a number of collaborations here. Stephen Stills shows up on two tracks. There’s what must have been an earlier version of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” on this record, before CSNY did it, where Stills plays organ and Hendrix plays bass. While I like that, Stills does a song “$20 Fine” where he sings and plays organ and Hendrix plays guitar that is fantastic. I can’t believe Stills never returned to that song. I knew these guys were friends, almost every other solo Stills plays now he adds in the liner notes, “Guitar solo inspired by James Marshall Hendrix.” I don’t know why he can’t just say Jimi. Sometimes, though talented, I get the feeling Stills is a bit of an asshole. The other collaborations, and they’re both “knock you out” awesome, are Hendrix with Johnny Winter doing “Things That I Used to Do” a track I first heard in the capable hands of Stevie Ray Vaughn. It’s as bluesy as hell. It’s fun to hear Hendrix and Winter, master blues guys, trading riffs. The second collaboration is Hendrix with his old friend, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and they do this fabulous tune “Georgia Blues.” I can’t believe this track wasn’t released. Lonnie sings on the song and it amazes me that Hendrix can step back, out of the spotlight and yet still stand out. All those years as a side-man on the “Chitlin Circuit” taught him well.

On unreleased compilations like this, there are usually instrumental tracks, stuff the band laid down but didn’t get back to in order to record lyrics/vocals. There are a few of those here. There’s an atmospheric thing called “Jungle” that just builds and builds. There’s an early version of the song “Angel,” here without the vocals called “Sweet Angel.” The best of the instrumental stuff here is “Cherokee Mist.” Hendrix is playing a sitar as well as guitar on that one. It starts off with a tribal sort of drum thing and then the band kicks in. It’s one of the best tracks here.

I already reviewed his take on Muddy’s “Mannish Boy” (Jimi Hendrix: “Mannish Boy,” From The Upcoming, ‘Both Sides of the Sky’). It’s Muddy’s lyrics set to a rolling riff that explodes with guitar fury at the end. Another great headphones listen. The only track that jumped out to me as a “in studio creation” is “Send My Love to Linda.” It starts off as solo Hendrix voice/guitar and midway through they splice it with a band version of the song. The splice is pretty jarring. It couldn’t have been worse if they’d recorded Kramer pulling the scotch tape off the roll and slapping it on the magnetic tape. Still, the guitar work at the end is pretty amazing. I’d call that song a nice to have, not a have to have.

It’s been a wonderful weekend spending time with the master of all things guitar, Jimi Hendrix. I love this album, it may be my favorite of the trilogy of unreleased stuff. I advise anybody who loves Hendrix to pick this up. This certainly wouldn’t be where I’d start my Hendrix collection – pick up the albums he released in his life time – and then work your way through some of the live stuff. But when you end up here, at the unreleased stuff, his playing will change the way you think about guitar.


Jimi Hendrix - 2016 - Machine Gun: The Filmore East First Show 12/31/1969

Jimi Hendrix 
Machine Gun: The Filmore East First Show 12/31/1969

01. Power Of Soul (5:30)
02. Lover Man (3:13)
03. Hear My Train A Comin' (9:06)
04. Changes (5:57)
05. Izabella (3:28)
06. Machine Gun (8:53)
07. Stop (5:29)
08. Ezy Ryder (5:55)
09. Bleeding Heart (6:37)
10. Earth Blues (6:23)
11. Burning Desire (9:39)

Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals
Billy Cox / bass, backing vocals
Buddy Miles / drums, backing vocals, lead vocals (4, 7)

Contracts, conflicts and confusion. This pretty much sums up the Band Of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox) first set performed and recorded on December 31, 1969 at the now legendary Fillmore East. As many Hendrix fans know, this was the premier live outing of Hendrix's new vehicle that is claimed to have put him back into the arena of black music after two years of Hendrix vehemently dodging the long held stereotype that black guitarists could only play the blues and R&B. Both genres in which Jimi cut his teeth both on an amateur and professional level, before skyrocketing to international stardom playing feedback drenched acid rock and psychedelic with an accessible pop vibe as part of the famous Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Experience also featured white British cohorts in the form of bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchel. These four Fillmore concerts recored in two days were also a means for Hendrix to honor a contract dispute and eventual settlement to deliver a album to PPX/Capital Records as part of a court settlement.
Hendrix's motivation to go into a soul, R&B, funk, and blues direction is manifold and frankly, quite speculative. However, it's the 1969 Band Of Gypsys album that has solidified his long time standing as a blues guitarist of renown, regardless if the capricious Hendrix had possibly not intended to keep pursuing that musical direction had he not perished.

This first set on the first night of the Fillmore New Year's Eve concerts is basically a run through of Hendrix's newer, if not brand new songs, and the introduction of Buddy Miles as an R&B force, both vocally and musically, in the newly formed Band Of Gypsys.

With out a doubt, this first set is subpar to what has been officially released on either the Band Of Gypsys LP and the additional material released much later on Live At The Filmore East in 1999. Sticking out glaringly is that the magnificent solo on the song "Machine Gun", recorded the second night and released on the Band Of Gypsys album, is nowhere to be found on this first night's jittery performance and that Buddy Miles, as rock steady as is his drumming is, is a bit over the top with his "soulful" backing vocals on songs such as "Power Of Soul." In fact both "Power of Soul" and "Message to Love" would be both be better performed on the Band Of Gypsys album. Another glaring omission is any form of the powerhouse song "Who Knows", which was not to be performed until the second set of the first night's shows and done better on the following day's sets. Songs featured on this first set such as "Hear My Train A Comin' and" Isabella" are perfunctionary at best.

Where the confusion comes in is on the part of the subdued audience, their unfamiliarity with Hendrix's new material and his refusal play past well known hits like "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady." He would do so shorty later on the second of the night's set as more than likely, it was in reaction to Hendrix's own startled response when a member of the subdued crowd wished him a Happy New Year. It's seems that Jimi forgot.

Imagine that. New Year's Eve in NYC and the Band Of Gypsys sounded like they just finished playing at a wake. Stick with the Band Of Gypsys album form 1969 and seek out the now out of print Live At The Fillmore East CD from 1999, as both feature far superior performances. And keep Machine Gun: The Filllmore East First Show only for it's historical value. If you're of a mind to.

Jimi Hendrix - 2015 - Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival

Jimi Hendrix 
Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival

01. Fire 5:05
02. Lover Man 2:59
03. Spanish Castle Magic 5:21
04. Red House 8:27
05. Room Full Of Mirrors 3:19
06. Hear My Train A Comin' 9:32
07. Message To Love 4:45
08. All Along The Watchtower 4:19
09. Freedom 4:08
10. Foxey Lady 4:30
11. Purple Haze 4:19
12. Hey Joe 4:37
13. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) 7:58
14. Stone Free 5:25
15. Star Spangled Banner 2:47
16. Straight Ahead 4:52

Atlanta Pop Festival, Byron, Georgia, July 4, 1970.

Mitch Mitchell: Drums
Billy Cox: Bass
Jimi Hendrix: Guitar, Vocals

Just when I thought I was done buying Jimi Hendrix albums…..he pulls me back in.

A few weekends ago, sitting around the house with the wife on a late summer evening, just chillin as the kids say, I flip on Showtime and they’re showing a Hendrix documentary entitled “Electric Church”. It was centered around the 1970 Atlanta Pop Music Festival and Jimi’s performance there. Naturally the movie had to cover the naked, druggy aspects of the crowd, the shock of the locals (I wish Lester Maddox had run for President, how much fun would that have been?) and the horrified reaction to the hippies and their music. It reminded me a lot of what the 1974 Ozark Music Festival must have been like (see my earlier blog entry on that one). After setting up the stunned Georgia residents as a backdrop, the documentary finally got to the performance. It was a reconfigured version of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell was still on drums, but Jimi’s pal Billy Cox was on bass and what a difference he makes. The Experience came on around midnight on July 4th, 1970 and I must say I was blown away. My wife, a Hendrix novice, but a good rock ‘n’ roll woman, turned to me and asked, “How does he make those sounds with the guitar, he’s amazing.” How does he indeed?

As usual with me, when I see a documentary like Electric Church, I run immediately to the computer to check it out on the internet. It was then I discovered there was, if you will, a soundtrack to the documentary, or more simply put, a concert album, Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival that was just released. I love Hendrix, but I must admit, his live stuff is a bit of a blind spot for me. My Denver pal Don (*name changed to protect the guilty) saw Jimi at the Fillmore East and when they invent time travel, that’s my first stop. Naturally, I own all of Jimi’s studio albums released while he was alive – Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, and Electric Ladyland which are possibly the greatest first three albums of any artist short of the Beatles. I even own the box set anthology West Coast Seattle Boy, which has outtakes and pretty much everything I hadn’t heard before. It burrows so deeply into the archive it contains Hendrix recording covers of the Band in a hotel room with a tape recorder.

But Hendrix’s live stuff, for me, was a bit more narrow. I bought the only live album he released while he was alive, Band of Gypsies, which is fabulous, but it’s a bit of anomaly of a live album. Most live albums are bands playing established, familiar songs. Band of Gypsies on the other hand was a live album of all new material that Jimi did to fulfill a contract he’d signed on the hood of a car. It wasn’t recorded with The Experience, but his new group, the Band of Gypsies. I followed up that purchase with Live at the Fillmore East, which were the outtakes from the recordings that resulted in Band of Gypsies so once again, it was live stuff, but none of the Hendrix canon.

I finally delved into The Jimi Hendrix Experience live with the sprawling box set Winterland. It was culled from three nights of concerts in San Francisco and captures the Experience a few weeks prior to the release of Electric Ladyland. It’s awesome, but it’s like Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985 or Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ The Live Anthology, it’s so sprawling it doesn’t really give you the feel of an actual concert the way that some of Dylan’s bootleg series does, like Live at the Royal Albert Hall, which is just one show recorded and released, as is.

Enter Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival. Much like the documentary that it sprang from, I was truly blown away by this show. Instead of the all new songs like Band of Gypsies, this is Hendrix playing the songs I was familiar with. It was just one epic performance. The opening salvo of Fire, Lover Man, and Spanish Castle Magic is just amazing. Hendrix is coaxing sounds out of his guitar that neither my wife nor I had ever heard before. For me, Hendrix was one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, ranking up there with Muddy and B.B. Disc 1 of Freedom has two of his most amazing blues performances I’ve ever heard committed to tape, Red House and Hear My Train a Comin’. The solo’ing on those songs may be the greatest accomplishment ever on the guitar as an instrument. Its simply mesmerizing.

I didn’t have a live version of All Along the Watchtower in my collection but he does a nice version here, although he screws up the lyrics a bit on the front end. But thats one of the things I love about a live album that’s just a single show. It’s warts and all and it makes it distinctive. Great versions of Purple Haze and Foxey Lady are here but it’s Hey Joe, Stone Free and especially the amazing, epic version of Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) that will have you reaching for the volume knob and asking, “Holy shit, is that a guitar?”

The show ends with the obligatory Star Spangled Banner, this time with actual fireworks going off in the background (see Electric Church, it’s pretty amazing imagery) which leads into a new song, Straight Ahead. After it’s over you’re left simply in awe of what The Experience – and let’s not forget Billy Cox and his aggressive bass playing and the intrepid drumming of Mitch Mitchell – could do on a steamy 4th of July in Georgia.

Do yourself a favor and pick this gem up quickly. Turn it up loud and, as always, enjoy!
(from: BourbonAndVinyl)

Jimi Hendrix - 2013 - People, Hell & Angels

Jimi Hendrix 
People, Hell & Angels

01. Earth Blues (3:34)
02. Somewhere (4:06)
03. Hear My Train a Comin' (5:42)
04. Bleeding Heart (3:58)
05. Let Me Move You (6:50)
06. Izabella (3:43)
07. Easy Blues (5:57)
08. Crash Landing (4:15)
09. Inside Out (5:04)
10. Hey Gyspy Boy (3:40)
11. Mojo Man (4:07)
12. Villanova Junction Blues (1:45)

Previously unreleased recordings, the majority drawn from sessions in 1968 and 1969, that Jimi Hendrix and fellow band members (mainly the Band of Gypsys lineup featuring Billy Cox and Buddy Miles) were working on as the follow-up to Electric Ladyland

- Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals, bass (9), producer

- Albert Allen / vocals (11), producer (11)
- Larry Lee / rhythm guitar (6,7)
- John Winfield / organ (5)
- Jame Booker / piano (11)
- Lonnie Youngblood / sax & vocals (5)
- Billy Cox / bass guitar (1,3,4,6?8,13), backing vocals
- Stephen Stills / bass guitar (2)
- Hank Anderson / bass (5)
- Buddy Miles / drums (1?4,10,12,13), backing vocals
- Jimmy Mayes / drums (5)
- Mitch Mitchell / drums (6,7,9)
- Rocky Isaac / drums (8)
- Al Marks / percussion (8)
- Chris Grimes / percussion (8)
- Juma Sultan / congas (3,4,6,7,12)
- Jerry Velez / congas (6,7)
- Gerry Sack / triangle & mime vocals (6)

One quick glance at the cover of the twenty-four page booklet that is included with People, Hell and Angels is worth a thousand words when it comes to Jimi Hendrix. The expressive photograph, shot by Alec Bryne, captures the gifted guitarist in a psychedelic silk shirt down on his kness at the front of the stage, with his inverted snow white Strat pointed at eleven o'clock as he takes the audience for a radical ride of uncharted fretboard insanity. Hendrix, may be on bended knees, but he definitely stands out on the freeze-framed photo, as the straight-looking audience of stone-faced military personnel and suits don't have a clue what is taking place before their very eyes. Further proof that Hendrix was way ahead of the curve until the day he passed away.

The 2013 issue of People, Hell and Angels is the fourth release under the Experience Hendrix deal with the Legacy label. The twelve songs from the vault were initially recorded for the follow-up LP under the working title of First Rays of the New Rising Sun, which would have been the follow-up to Electric Ladyland.

The tracks go back as far as 1968, with J.H. experimenting on several cuts with horns, keyboards and second guitar fills. Hendrix wrote each song, sans the pair of covers (Elmore James' "Bleeding Heart" and "Mojo Man" by Albert Allen and Arthur Allen) that dot People, Hell and Angels. Hendrix is flanked on the get-down movers by the likes of Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, Mitch Mitchell, Larry Lee, Stephen Stills, Lonnie Youngblood and James Booker. No matter who surrounds the electric gypsy, Hendrix is the star of the show as evident from the off with the '69 recording of the stripped down "Earth Blues".

The Hendrix archives run deep to say the least. People, Hell and Angels is a relevant collection of cuts from the legendary guitarist.

Jimi Hendrix - 2013 - Miami Pop Festival

Jimi Hendrix 
Miami Pop Festival

01. Introduction 1:54
02. Hey Joe 6:22
03. Foxey Lady 4:32
04. Tax Free 8:44
05. Fire 2:47
06. Hear My Train A Comin' 7:59
07. I Don't Live Today 4:50
08. Red House 12:07
09. Purple Haze 4:19
10. Fire [Afternoon Show] 3:07
11. Foxey Lady [Afternoon Show] 4:56

Bass, Backing Vocals – Noel Redding
Drums – Mitch Mitchell
Guitar, Lead Vocals – Jimi Hendrix

Recorded on 18th May 1968, “Miami Pop Festival” is a single CD of the performance given by The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Miami Pop Festival. This CD was released in November 2013 although I suspect bootlegs have been available for years. And it is very well put together by Experience Hendrix – the family run concern that supposedly protects Jimi Hendrix’s legacy. Good sleeve and booklet.

Except and it’s a big except, having read a review by Freewheeling Frankie on Amazon, the CD is not exactly what happened on May 18th 1968.

The Miami Pop Festival was unusual because each act was scheduled to play 4 times – twice on the Saturday and twice on the Sunday. Sadly the Sunday was washed out, but The Jimi Hendrix Experience did play two shortish sets on the Saturday – afternoon & evening. Now, the CD would have you believe that it contains all of the evening set together with two “bonus” tracks from the afternoon – “Fire” and “Foxy (spelt “Foxey” here) Lady”. This is apparently nonsense. 

The afternoon set was “Tax Free”/”Foxy Lady”/”Fire”/”Here My Train A-Comin”/”Purple Haze” and the evening show was “Hey Joe”/”Fire”/”I Don’t Live Today”/”Foxy Lady”/”Red House”/Purple House”. The CD says the evening show was “Introduction/Hey Joe”/”Foxey Lady”/”Tax Free”/”Fire”/”Hear My Train A-Comin”/”I Don’t Live Today”/ “Red House”/“Purple Haze”. This means that only one of the versions of “Purple Haze” –probably the evening show version according to Freewheeling Frankie – is on the CD and the other “Purple Haze” could have been included. There is more than enough space on the CD.

I feel that Experience Hendrix have rather messed up this release and given that details of the actual sets are not that hard to find, I can’t see why they would pretend it was otherwise. 

Oh well! What is the music like? Very good actually. The Experience – Jimi Hendrix – guitar and vocals, Mitch Mitchell – drums and Noel Redding – bass and backing vocals are on very good form although it is on the longer, more experimental pieces, rather than the hits where Jimi is at his best. Don’t get me wrong – both versions of “Fire” & Foxy Lady” are great as are “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze” but the really good stuff are “Tax Free” – written by Bo Hansson (best known for his concept album “The Lord of The Rings”) & Janne Carlsson – and it’s an instrumental, an early version of “Hear My Train A-Comin’” and a 12 minute version of “Red House” which is worth the price of this CD. Terrific stuff.

So, “Miami Pop Festival” is a very good live album and the sound quality courtesy of Eddie Kramer is great. There are better live Jimi Hendrix Experience albums - but “Miami Pop Festival” is worth having. Just a shame that the producers did not issue the two sets as Jimi Hendrix played them.

Jimi Hendrix - 2013 - Live In Cologne

Jimi Hendrix
Live In Cologne

01. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) 5:30
02. Foxey Lady 5:08
03. Red House 12:33
04. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) 6:42
05. Fire 2:56
06. Spanish Castle Magic 4:29
07. Hey Joe 4:10
08. Sunshine Of Your Love 6:41
09. Star Spangled Banner 2:53
10. Purple Haze 5:04

Recorded January 13, 1969 at Sporthalle, Cologne, Germany.

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

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live In Cologne, the twelfth release in the Dagger Records official bootleg series, documents this spirited, January 13, 1969 performance at the Sporthalle in Cologne,

Hendrix kicked off the proceedings with a scalding “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)” from Electric Ladyland. This Earl King chestnut had long been a favorite of Jimi’s and here he began with a driving solo introduction before signaling Redding and Mitchell to join. Next followed a blistering version of “Foxey Lady,” a perennial stage favorite. An abrupt tape cut precedes a memorable rendition of “Red House.” Thankfully the performance is essentially complete lacking only Jimi’s prefacing stage banter, offered as he likely changed guitars before starting. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” followed next, not yet established as Jimi’s closing number as it would become later in 1969 and remain so throughout his career, but no less muscular.

Jimi then shifted directly into “Fire” and then a thunderous “Spanish Castle Magic.” The Experience were clearly locked in sync, pushing each other throughout all to the delight of their audience. The Experience never backed off, launching next into their first single “Hey Joe.” Jimi had to do some quick tuning on the fly, but he pressed on undaunted, boldly dashing off a lick from the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” as he barreled through this uptempo rendition. This driving intensity built up after the solo, underscored by Jimi’s rhythm guitar work and Mitchell’s superb drumming before culminating in a rousing finale.

“Sunshine Of Your Love” was offered in tribute to Cream, all to the delight of the audience whose howls of approval can be heard even during Redding’s bass solo. “Star Spangled Banner” and “Purple Haze” capped off a truly memorable night and then the Experience were gone, whisked off to the next city and another unsuspecting audience.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live In Cologne is like other releases in the Dagger Records series. This album was not drawn from professionally recorded masters but instead an amateur, monophonic audience recording. As a result, the recording is not without various technical flaws and sonic limitations. Nonetheless, this special ‘official bootleg’ stands as a captivating document of this important chapter of Jimi’s legacy.

Jimi Hendrix - 2011 - Winterland

Jimi Hendrix 

October 10, 1968
01. Tax Free 15:15
02. Lover Man 5:21
03. Sunshine Of My Love 7:30
04. Hear My Train A Comin' 11:33
05. Killing Floor 7:55
06. Foxey Lady 5:36
07. Hey Joe 7:19
08. Star Spangled Banner 5:56
09. Purple Haze 5:37

October 11, 1968
01. Tax Free 10:01
02. Like A Rolling Stone 11:46
03. Lover Man 3:45
04. Hey Joe 5:12
05. Fire 3:20
06. Foxey Lady 5:12
07. Are You Experienced? 12:13
08. Red House 12:24
09. Purple Haze 5:18

October 12, 1968
01. Fire 4:59
02. Lover Man 4:30
03. Like A Rolling Stone 11:48
04. Manic Depression 5:33
05. Sunshine Of Your Love 8:53
06. Little Wing 4:01
07. Spanish Castle Magic 6:28
08. Red House 9:13
09. Hey Joe 6:45
10. Purple Haze 3:42
11. Wild Thing 3:30

01. Foxey Lady 10/12/68 6:05
02. Are You Experienced? 10/10/68 7:27
03. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) 10/10/68 7:43
04. Red House 10/10/68 15:21
05. Star Spangled Banner 10/11/68 6:10
06. Purple Haze 10/11/68 6:13
07. Jimi Hendrix: Boston Garden Backstage Interview 11/16/68 19:04

Jimi Hendrix – vocals, guitar
Noel Redding – bass guitar, backing vocals
Mitch Mitchell – drums
Jack Casady – bass on "Killing Floor" and "Hey Joe" (October 10)
Virgil Gonsalves – flute on "Are You Experienced?" (October 11)
Herbie Rich – organ (five songs, October 11)

A great collection of the best of 6 shows Jimi did at Winterland in October 1968. Not much from Electric Ladyland here which was in the can and about to be released just in time for Christmas. The sound is pretty good though there are some technical problems during the show for disc #3. It's a shame because the problems occur in the only performance of Spanish Castle Magic in this collection and that's a great song. The real treat is the live performances of "Are You Experienced?" Some of the musicians from Buddy Miles Express show up an jam for part of the show including an extra long version of "Are You Experienced?" that is quite similar to the dreamy bits in "1983... A Merman I Should Turn To Be" from "Electric Ladyland. Some folks might complain that material is repeated. Jimi rotated through 18 different songs in this collection but you have to remember that like jazz music, Jimi was all about improvisation so the solos are very different and even the mood changes between versions. I look at these songs as essentially frameworks that Hendrix and the Experience could improvise over. No two performances are a like. So not a valid criticism in my book. This is a lavish box set with terrific photos and notes about this set of shows. The only complain I have is that the book is glued into the cover. I have the long box edition, not sure if there is a short box. I mention this because the "Those Were The Days" box set by Cream has appeared in both long and short as well as the 4 disc "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" box set - my copy is short on this one and I've see the long box. The price is right. Buy now if you are a Hendrix fan.

Jimi Hendrix - 2010 - West Coast Seattle Boy

Jimi Hendrix 
West Coast Seattle Boy

01. Testify (The Isley Brothers) (4:09)
02. Mercy, Mercy (Don Covay & the Goodtimers) (2:26)
03. Can't Stay Away (Don Covay & the Goodtimers) (2:50)
04. My Diary (Rosa Lee Brooks) (2:22)
05. Utee (Rosa Lee Brooks) (1:58)
06. I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me (Little Richard) (4:02)
07. Dancing All Around The World (Little Richard) (3:00)
08. I'm So Glad (Frank Howard & The Commanders) (2:39)
09. Move Over And Let Me Dance (The Isley Brothers) (2:41)
10. Have You Ever Been Disappointed (The Isley Brothers) (6:19)
11. Help Me (Get The Feeling) - Part One (Ray Sharpe) (2:33)
12. (My Girl) She's A Fox (The Icemen) (2:43)
13. That Little Old Groovemaker (Jimmy Norman) (2:16)
14. Sweet Thang (Billy Lamont) (2:33)
15. Instant Groove (King Curtis) (2:24)

Total Time 46:55

Disc 2
01. Fire** (2:51)
02. Are You Experienced?* (6:04)
03. May This Be Love** (3:18)
04. Can You See Me** (2:34)
05. The Wind Cries Mary [live in Stockholm - 05 septembre 1967] (3:57)
06. Love Or Confusion** (3:16)
07. Little One* (4:11)
08. Mr. Bad Luck** (2:57)
09. Cat Talking To Me** (2:54)
10. Castles Made of Sand* (3:12)
11. Tears of Rage (Bob Dylan)* (5:22)
12. Hear My Train a Comin* (4:37)
13. 1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)* (3:31)
14. Long Hot Summer Night* (2:32)
15. My Friend* (3:59)
16. Angel* (3:11)
17. Calling All the Devil's Children* (5:38)
18. New Rising Sun** (7:24)

Total Time 72:18

Disc 3
01. Hear My Freedom* (5:23)
02. Room Full of Mirrors* (2:32)
03. Shame, Shame, Shame* (3:01)
04. Messenger* (3:20)
05. Hound Dog Blues* (4:45)
06. Untitled Basic Track* (3:50)
07. Star Spangled Banner [live at Los Angeles Forum - 26 avril 1969] (Francis Scott Key)*** (2:29)
08. Purple Haze [live au Los Angeles Forum - 26 avril 1969]*** (5:51)
09. Young/Hendrix** (20:57)
10. Mastermind (Larry Lee)* (4:44)
11. Message to Love** (3:27)
12. Fire [live at Fillmore East, New York - 31 décembre 1969]* (4:41)
13. Foxy Lady [live at Fillmore East, New York - 31 décembre 1969]* (6:29)

Total Time 71:29

Disc 4
01. Stone Free [live at Fillmore East, New York - 31 décembre 1969]* (14:48)
02. Burning Desire* (8:49)
03. Lonely Avenue* (4:22)
04. Everlasting First (with Arthur Lee)** (4:16)
05. Freedom* (4:17)
06. Peter Gunn/Catastrophe** (2:56)
07. In From the Storm** (3:36)
08. All God's Children* (6:19)
09. Red House [live at Berkeley Community Theatre - 30 mai 1970]* (7:31)
10. Play That Riff (Thank You)* (0:37)
11. Bolero** (5:31)
12. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)** (6:06)
13. Suddenly November Morning* (4:12)

Total Time 73:10

"Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child" documentary.

Total Time 90:00

Line-up / Musicians
- Not specified/different line-ups

Releases information
* Previously Unreleased Recording
** Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
*** Previously Original Mix

This is the greatest box set ever associated with Jimi Hendrix.A DVD containing a Timeline (Expertly narrated by Bootsy Collins) of Jimi's letters from the Army. All the way up to his plans before his death. News reports of this are also included. Full song clips of TV performances. The greatest DVD (It knocks the Joe Boyd film!) is also available separately, should you find the box set price too much at the moment.
4 discs, the first is an alternative R'n'B Also Fans Of The 1960's. As it charts Jimi's session and early bands. The second disc starts us off during the making of "Are You Experienced?", and goes up to "Electric Ladyland", complete with acoustic demo tracks. This is probably the disc I play the most. The third disc is post "Electric Ladyland" in the first half and post Noel Redding for the second half. Woodstock guitarist Larry Lee sings a self composed sing "Mastermind" which is one of my highlights of the box. The final disc is either my second most played, or joint first, but it starts with an incredible Band Of Gypsies live take of "Stone Free" that Jimi transforms into a New Year's Eve celebration. Disc four has some incredible studio material from the same Band Of Gypsies that were tragically broken up. The last half of the fourth disc has Jimi paired with Billy Cox from his last band and Mitch Mitchell. One of my other highlights of the box is the instrumental "All God's Children" and finally the box ends with "Suddenly November Morning". A haunting acoustic demo which begs the confirmation and release of a whole album of acoustic Hendrix!

It was 2010 when I first got this box. I still listen to it constantly until forcing myself to change the discs. I feel it is a full five star effort. It is significant Experience Hendrix hasn't made another box. This would take some beating in both presentation (Book with rare photos sandwiched between the two discs on either bookend. DVD in envelope page at the end of the text), content and overall musicianship in the "West Coast Seattle Boy- The Jimi Hendrix Experience" box set.

Jimi Hendrix - 2010 - Valleys Of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix 
Valleys Of Neptune

01. Stone Free (3:45)
02. Valleys Of Neptune (4:01)
03. Bleeding Heart (6:20)
04. Hear My Train A Comin' (7:29)
05. Mr. Bad Luck (2:56)
06. Sunshine Of Your Love (6:45)
07. Lover Man (4:15)
08. Ships Passing Through The Night (5:52)
09. Fire (3:12)
10. Red House (8:20)
11. Lullaby For The Summer (3:48)
12. Crying Blue Rain (4:56)

- Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocals, producer
- Noel Redding / bass (4-12), backing vocals (9)
- Mitch Mitchell / drums (excl. 3)

- Billy Cox / bass (1-3)
- Rocky Isaac / drums (3)
- Al Marks / maracas (3)
- Chris Grimes / tambourine (3)
- Juma Sultan / percussion (2)
- Rocki Dzidzornu / percussion (6,12)
- Andy Fairweather Low / backing vocals (1)
- Roger Chapman / backing vocals (1)

Final studio recordings made by The Jimi Hendrix Experience line-up in 1969 after the "Electric Ladyland" album, previously "unreleased" (the majority have been released in one form or another before, albeit sometimes in inferior quality or different versions)

This album is the closest we've had commercially released of The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Until the excellent West Coast Seattle Boy) than could be thought of as The Beatles Anthology. Or even the closest to the recent Pink Floyd studio boxset. It contains three tracks of Mitch Mitchell and the legend Noel Redding overdubbed in 1987, under the watchful eye of Chas Chandler. It predates "Free As A Bird" by many years and is more satisfying than the final two Beatles singles made from Lennon's gifted tapes. Possible legalities negated as all the personnel involved are no longer on this planet to hear the 'Valleys Of Neptune" as it was released in 2010.
12 tracks and excluding the three tracks not mentioned as in introduced, there is enough material of the Experience that together with some of the highlights of the second disc of "West Coast Seattle Boy" would have made an impressive stop gap and final word on the band had it been compiled and released in 1969 and what an insight into Jimi's perfection the album is. And what an oversight of management my fantasy outtakes album never happened in 1969.

One interesting part of the album for me are the time snaps of Noel Redding in 1969, sounding flippant and bored with yet another play through of a life staple "Hear My Train A'Coming". My preferred version is the BBC version if not his single acoustic filmed. Despite how bored Noel sounds, Hendrix paints a canvas and sounds so relaxed but confident. Compare that to the post-9/70 Redding on the final track "Crying Blue Rain". A snapshot of Jimi recorded in London self produced that in June the 5th, Noel and Mitch added their parts that not just pick up from where they left off with the slow blues, they keep up and follow Jimi as he has an instrumental freakout of chord sequences. Leaving the album and listener left alone in the stratosphere to descend back to your lives.

Although some material was reworked by the driven Jimi, the fact that Ezy Ryder got the riff means we were robbed of "Lullaby For The Summer" being associated with the greatest way the band could have bowed out of.

It sounds great listened to in full on these bright warm nights, the studio take of Red House is better than the version on the US Are You Experienced?. But it sounds more lived in. You can hear the fact Hendrix wanted to get the sound bigger. You can hear the band having everything they could possibly do just give expert performances that make the wrong notes and off beats hard to notice at first.

As excellent the recent live CDs of Hendrix have been, this studio album is as essential as First Rays Of The New Rising Sun and even Axis : Bold As Love. (Despite it being recorded after Electric Ladyland). When he lets the guitar do the taking there really is no other. Stripped away from the endless retakes and attempts intended to be optimum, Jimi's messages still sound like they could have been made today.

Jimi Hendrix - 2009 - Live At Woburn

Jimi Hendrix 
Live At Woburn

01. Introduction 1:07
02. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1:11
03. Fire 4:19
04. Tax Free 10:11
05. Red House 11:30
06. Foxey Lady 4:55
07. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) 6:38
08. Purple Haze 8:10

Recorded Live At The Woburn Music Festival, Bedfordshire, England, July 6, 1968

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

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Woburn is the eleventh release in the Dagger Records authorized ‘bootleg’ recording series. Live At Woburn presents a 100% previously unreleased concert recording capturing The Jimi Hendrix Experience in concert at the Woburn Music Festival on July 6, 1968.

The Woburn Music Festival was one of Britain’s first large scale, open-air rock music events. Staged by brothers Richard “Rik” and John Gunnell, who were well respected individuals in the burgeoning London music scene where they were heavily involved in many aspects including band managed, show promoters and club owners. Rik in particular, who owned three fashionable 1960’s London nightspots—the Ram Jam Club, Flamingo, and Bag O’ Nails—presented authentic, first generation American icons like John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding and some of the brightest examples of a swelling wave of emerging British talent such as The Rolling Stones, Jack Bruce and Georgie Fame.

Jimi’s co-managers Chas Chandler and Michael Jeffery—a fellow nightclub entrepreneur—enjoyed a friendship with Gunnell. Gunnell had been an early supporter of The Animals, and extended the same courtesy to Hendrix and The Experience, presenting some of the group’s earliest London engagements.

Jimi’s popularity had grown exponentially since those early days in 1966 and he arrived at the Woburn Festival as its eagerly anticipated headline act. This anticipation was fueled in part by Jimi’s absence from Britain. The Experience had spent much of 1968 touring and recording in America and had not performed live in Britain since December 1967.

Woburn Music Festival featured separate afternoon and evening sets for both Saturday and Sunday. While rhythm & blues was the primary focus with Gunnell drawing heavily from his own talent pool, casting John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Alexis Korner, and Geno Washington together with the more folk influenced Pentangle, Roy Harper, and Tim Rose. The Jimi Hendrix Experience were scheduled to close the Saturday evening show where an enthusiastic crowd some 14,000 strong turned out for the performance.

Axis: Bold As Love was still a top selling album in July 1968 but Jimi had long since moved on to new challenges. To Hendrix, performances such as Woburn were unique, shared experiences and not simply personal appearances intended to help shift units of albums or singles. At Woburn, Jimi skipped songs from Axis: Bold As Love altogether, electing instead to ‘jam’ as he called it—kicking off his set with a spirited “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” regrettably missed in part by the late start of the recording machine].

The trio followed “Sgt. Pepper” with “Fire,” and despite beset with buzzing, crackles and otherwise unwanted noises throughout their set, The Experience continued to persevere doing their best to surmount the technical problems that hampered an otherwise animated set.

Jimi may have bypassed Axis: Bold As Love, but he did foreshadow his next album at Woburn, stretching out a marvelous “Tax Free,” a contender for Electric Ladyland and a favorite Experience vehicle for improvisation. Hendrix followed up with an extended improvisational rendition of “Red House” before diving into “Foxey Lady.” He also offered his Woburn audience what he called, ‘…a song that we recorded for our new LP. It’s nothing but a hard rock—it’s called “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”.

Equipment problems were always an irritant for Jimi and Woburn was no exception. He prefaced “Purple Haze,” the group’s final song, with an apology. “We’re very sorry that we have to play through broken amplifiers,” he explained. “Like I said before, it’s really a hang up. It’s very hard to get our own sound across so we would like to end it and say thank you very much for showing up. We would like to do this last song “Purple Haze.” Jimi kicked off a boisterous feedback opening, buttressed by Mitchell and Redding and complete with tremolo bar swoops, wah-wah pedal shadings and soaring dive bomb styled bursts that transitioned seamlessly into the song’s unmistakable opening notes. At its conclusion, the audience roared with approval. While no microphones were positioned to fully capture the intensity of their reaction, their enthusiasm and calls for more can be easily heard through Jimi and Noel’s stage microphones.

The Experience’s performance at Woburn Music Festival would mark the trio’s last performance in England until the two celebrated concerts in February 1969 at the Royal Albert Hall.