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Olmstead Studios, New York Studio Recording 1) Bleeding Heart 2) Guitar Idea 3) Ezy Ryder 4) Midnight 5) Bleeding Heart 6) Villanova Junction Blues 7) Jam Following a difficult and unproductive series of sessions at Olympic Studios in February 1969, the Experience did not return to the recording studio as a unit until April, when they gathered with engineer Eddie Kramer at New York’s Olmstead Studios to try and recapture their momentum.
Olmstead Studios, New York Studio Recording 1)Midnight 2)Trash Man Takes of the extended instrumental workouts “Midnight” and “Trash Man” were the most promising songs to emerge from these early April 1969 Olmstead sessions. “Midnight” had begun to take form two months earlier at the February 1969 sessions at Olympic Studios. The song was originally titled “Midnight Lightning” before Jimi shortened it simply to “Midnight”. “Midnight” is now available as part of the 1998 album South Saturn Delta. A heavily truncated version of “Trash Man”, filled out with posthumously recorded overdubs, was issued part of the controversial [and long since deleted] 1975 album Midnight Lightning.
April 4, 1969 Olmstead Studios, New York Studio Recording 1)Trash Man
Record Plant Studios, New York Studio Recording 1) Jam With Electric Sitar 2) Ships Passing In The Night 3) Ezy Ryder Working without Mitch and Noel, Jimi enjoyed a night of jamming and experimentation. The evening’s highlight came when Jimi recorded an extended, untitled jam session playing an electric sitar, an instrument given to him by its inventor, Vinnie Bell.
Record Plant Studios, New York Studio Recording 1) Stone Free 2) Hear My Train A Comin’ 3) Lullaby For The Summer Jimi revisited “Stone Free”, his first ever Experience composition. This new rendition showcased a more sophisticated arrangement than that of the November 1966 recording which had served as the b-side for “Hey Joe”. Pleased with the group’s progress, Hendrix recorded lead guitar and vocal overdubs during two subsequent sessions on April 9 and 14. While not released during Jimi’s lifetime, this version of “Stone Free” was issued as part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set. Work was also completed on “Hear My Train A Comin” although no final masters were achieved. Jimi also attempted to further develop “Lullaby For The Summer”, which would later evolve as “Ezy Ryder”.
Record Plant Studios, New York Studio Recording 1)Hear My Train A Comin’ 2)Stone Free New attempts were made at “Hear My Train A Comin’” while Jimi added overdubs to the “Stone Free” master begun on April 7.
Record Plant Studios, New York Studio Recording 1 ) Solo Guitar 2 ) Jam With Unknown Bass & Drummer 3 ) Jam With Mitch & Noel 4 ) Jam With Percussion 5 ) Bass Jam 6 ) Sunshine Of Your Love 7 ) Ships Passing Through The Night 8 ) Jams With Larry Young and Buddy Miles A night filled with spirited jam sessions. The evening was capped off with a superb, jazz tinged workout with Buddy Miles and organist Larry Young. A portion of this jam was later issued as part of the [now deleted] 1980 compilation Nine To The Universe.
Record Plant Studios, New York Studio Recording 1) Keep On Groovin’
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) Room Full Of Mirrors 2) Crash Landing 3) Bleeding Heart These recordings represent Billy Cox’s first studio session with Jimi. For their explorations of “Room Full Of Mirrors”, “Crash Landing” and “Bleeding Heart”, Hendrix and Cox were joined by drummer Rocky Isaac and percussionist Al Marks. Take thirty-one of “Room Full Of Mirrors” from this session is featured as part of the box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience. At the time of the box set’s release, it was not known that Issac and Marks had been the musicians backing Jimi on that evening. More than three decades later, Al Marks, now a successful music executive for MCA Records, fills in the details about meeting Jimi and how the session came together EH: How did you first meet Jimi? AM: I met Jimi at the Monterey Pop Festival. I was in a band in New York called the Down Five. My guitar player wanted to go to Monterey. I said, ‘For what? I don’t want to go to Mexico.’ He said, ‘No, Monterey, California for the Pop Festival’. I agreed, so we got into a VW bus and drove across the country. He knew someone who was working at the festival and we got a crew pass. We spent a lot of time wandering around the backstage and all of the artists back there were really cool. You could walk up to people like Brian Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Mama Cass and just talk to them. We watched Jimi’s performance and were just blown away. I didn’t even want to pick up my guitar again after watching him play. He blew me away. Sometime after his set, we went backstage and saw him having a conversation with Mitch Mitchell. When he finished, I walked over and said, ‘I also play guitar, but as of today I am putting it down.’ He laughed in that cool way he had and said, ‘Don’t put it down. Just practice.’ We spoke for about fifteen minutes, talking about guitars and amplifiers. I asked him about Stratocasters and why he played them upside down. He showed me his hands and they were twice my size. I told him that I played Gibson’s and he wanted to know which models I liked. I preferred the 335 which he had never played. He spoke of a Gibson Firebird which I had never heard of. He mentioned that one of the Kinks also played that guitar. He was very friendly and easy to talk with. He was just really cool. EH: How did you get involved with the Cherry People? AM: I moved from New York down to Washington in January 1969. I hooked up with this band known as the Cherry People. I was living in the basement of the guitar player’s house. Chris Grimes and I were good friends and I was working as their manager. Punky Meadows, later of Angel, was the lead guitarist. Rocky Isaac was their drummer and Jan Zechowski, later of the Nighthawks played bass. Doug Grimes was the lead singer. The band told me that everybody would be going up to New York in April. They were going to try and get out of their record deal with Heritage Records to whom they had signed in 1968. The group had a hit with the song “And Suddenly”, but they were not a bubble gum band and that’s what the album was. Jerry Ross owned Heritage Records and when they recorded the Cherry People album, they had used a lot of session players. The band didn’t have a lot of input into how it was made. The guys really resented that. We had a meeting scheduled with Jerry Ross, but he didn’t show. We left a note with his secretary asking to be released from the label. She laughed at us, but agreed to give it to Jerry. After that, we went out for pizza and heard that there was going to be a jam for guitar players at Steve Paul’s Scene Club that night. We didn’t have a hotel because we had originally thought we were just going to turn around and drive back home after the meeting with Jerry Ross. We decided instead to go check what was happening there. We got there at 9:00 and there were all kinds of people around like Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer. All of a sudden Jimi Hendrix walked in with two people. He sat down in the corner and no one was bothering him. Everybody at my table was going, ‘Wow! That’s Jimi Hendrix!’ I was excited. I told the guys that I had met Jimi at Monterey Pop and wanted to see if he had remembered our conversation backstage. The guys didn’t believe me and I sat there for a few minutes trying to get up the nerve to go talk to him. I got up the courage and introduced myself. I didn’t want to bother him, but I asked if he remembered meeting at Monterey. He did not, but told me it was cool to sit and talk with him. He asked what I was doing in New York and I told him that our band was trying to get out of its contract with the record company. He laughed and said, ‘Yeah, record companies…’ Then he said, ‘So you got a band here? Do you have a drummer?’ I said ‘Yes. He is sitting right over there.’ He then asked if we were doing anything at 3 or 4 o’clock that morning. I said no and asked him why. He was going to cut some things in the studio and wondered whether our drummer would like to sit in. I immediately said he would. Jimi then said, ‘Well, you didn’t ask him.’ I didn’t have to ask him. He’s gonna do it. He wanted to know if the guy was any good and I told him that Rocky was a great drummer. We’ll do it, I told him. He introduced me to Billy Cox who was sitting with him. Billy mentioned that he was a bass player. I asked about Noel Redding, but Jimi told me that Noel would not be sitting in. He described Billy as his buddy and said that the session would be with him. We agreed to meet later at the Record Plant. I walked to my table and told the band, ‘You are not going to believe this but Jimi Hendrix just asked Rocky to sit in’. Everybody at the table told me I was full of shit. I asked the guys to trust me and waved over to Jimi’s table. Jimi waved back and gave us the peace sign. Chris, Rocky, and I made plans to go while the other guys went back to this hostel we were staying at. At the Record Plant we told the receptionist that we were here to do a session with Jimi Hendrix. He asked who we were and I told him the Cherry People. We were not listed on the sheet. I told him about meeting Jimi at the Scene Club and he said, ‘Oh, you are the guys he called over about’. We were alone in the studio for about forty-five minutes before Gary Kellgren showed up with an assistant engineer and a tall, beautiful black woman [Devon Wilson] whom we were told was Jimi’s girlfriend. Gary reassured us that while Jimi was always late, he had phoned about the session and was on his way over. Twenty minutes later, Jimi and Billy Cox walked in with a friend who was a photographer [Willis Hogans Jr.]. Jimi was really cool and wanted to know if we were OK. Rocky saw him and said, ‘You’re Jimi Hendrix’. Jimi laughed and said ‘Man, I know who I am. Don’t you think I know who I am?’ We all just about fell on the floor laughing. Rocky admitted to him that he was really nervous. Jimi laughed and said, ‘Just relax. It will all be cool.’ Jimi was playing through an old Acoustic amplifier and not a Marshall. One big cabinet with a small head. Billy was playing through an Ampeg rig and a set of drums had been set up for Rocky. Jimi then started to move his amp and I told that I would do that for him. He said that if I really wanted to move something for him, his car was out front and if he didn’t move it across the street it was going to be towed. I asked for the keys and told him I would do it. He owned a silver Corvette and by the time I was outside I thought, ‘Shit, I don’t know how to drive a stick shift. I am going to ruin Jimi’s Corvette’. I opened the door and it was automatic. I thought, my God everything is working for me tonight! I got in the car and there were all of these tapes on the passenger seat. His car had a cassette player built in to the dashboard and I had never seen anything like that before. Sitting on the seat were these tapes which were marked, ‘Me, Steve Winwood’ and ‘Me, Buddy Miles’. I parked the car, came back in and he told me that he wanted a percussion section. Jimi asked me to play maracas—which I had never played before in my life—and Chris Grimes to play tambourine. We recorded “Room Full Of Mirrors” and it took forever because Rocky couldn’t keep the beat on drums. Midway through the session, Jimi turned to him and said something to the effect of, ‘Man, do you know how to play drums? What’s going on?’ I had been banging one of the maracas against my leg for three and a half hours and my leg was black and blue. I told Rocky quietly that he better get things right because I couldn’t walk! I had a knot on my leg that seemed four inches big. I was afraid that we were going to screw up the chance of a lifetime. At one point in the session, the photographer [Willis Hogans Jr.] got underfoot of Jimi. He had been laying on the ground taking pictures of Jimi and he got in the way. Jimi kicked the camera out of his hands, saying to get out of the way [Ed. These may be the few color shots Hogans took of Jimi from that angle]. We thought he was joking at first but he was actually really pissed. His kick broke the camera and the photographer started crying. Jimi gave him money to get it fixed but that was the end of photos that night. By eight that morning, Jimi said that we were going to give it one last try and if we didn’t get it we would have to come back the next morning. Jimi then just started wailing on the guitar and singing live on top of it. Rocky finally delivered what he believed was a good take and Gary Kellgren yelled ‘Yeah’ over the talkback microphone when we had finished. Jimi let us know that we were done for the night. Before we left, he told us that he had a couple more tracks that he wanted to cut on Thursday at the same time. We thought he meant after midnight Wednesday evening. As he was walking out, he gave each of us $100.00 cash and said to Rocky, ‘Man, I would practice a bit if I was you.’ Billy laughed and shook his head and they walked out together. Gary Kellgren then came over and asked us our names and if we were in the Musicians Union. We were, but Gary told us not to declare the work because Jimi had paid us more than union scale for the session. Union scale at that time for a session was $35.00. We were strutting. Jimi Hendrix had paid us $100.00 to play with him. We told the guys back at the hostel about the session and they didn’t believe us until we showed them the $100.00 bill Jimi had given each of us. We then drove back to Washington and made a plan to bring Mike Burke and Richard Harrington, a critic for the Washington Post who also wrote for a paper called the Unicorn Times to prove that we actually were going to record again with Jimi Hendrix.
April 22, 1969 Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) Mannish Boy Jimi, Buddy Miles, and Billy Cox dedicate this evening to recording an uptempo remake of Muddy Waters’ classic “Mannish Boy”. The song was later issued as part of the popular album Jimi Hendrix :Blues. This multi-exposed image of Jimi Hendrix recording at Record Plant Studios in New York, New York was taken on April 22, 1969. Photo: Willis Hogan Jr. / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
April 24, 1969 Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) Crash Landing 2) Bleeding Heart 3) Hey Gypsy Boy On this evening, Jimi and Billy Cox were again joined by percussionist Al Marks and drummer Rocky Isaac from the Washington D.C. based group The Cherry People. Al Marks details the events of that memorable evening. EH: What happened at the April 24, 1969 session? AM: We drove back Wednesday [April 23, 1969] and went to the Record Plant. We spoke to the receptionist and told him we were here to record with Jimi. He remembered us from the other night but informed us Jimi had not booked a session for that night. All of a sudden our jaws dropped. Mike Burke and [Washington Post critic] Richard Harrington looked at us and were complaining that we had driven all this way for nothing. Mike Burke agreed to stay, but Harrington left to take a train back to D.C. We had no place to stay so we asked if we could hang out at the studio. They let us in and we crashed on the floor of the studio. In the morning, we were awoken by Vinnie Bell and Tony Mottola from the Tonight Show band. Vinnie was the guy who invented the electric sitar. [Ed. Marks may have also solved another puzzling Hendrix historical question. On April 6, 1969 Jimi was recorded playing a Coral electric sitar at the Record Plant. It now seems apparent that he was given the instrument by Bell]. They were arriving to do session work for a movie soundtrack. These guys were in suits and we were a bunch of scraggly hippies in buckskin jackets. Before we left that morning, Jimi called the studio to set up the session for that night. The studio told him we were there and he asked us to return that night at 9. Somehow we then lost Rocky. We couldn’t locate him, so we ended up spending the day walking around the city. He showed up back at the studio around 7 p.m. looking refreshed. He asked us where we had been because Jimi had reserved a hotel room for us. We were stunned. Rocky had left a note for us but the guy at the Record Plant had forgotten to tell us. We all ran over to the hotel room Jimi had reserved for us and took quick showers. When we returned to the studio, Jimi and Rocky were going over the new songs he wanted to play. The first number we did was “Bleeding Heart”. We did about fifteen or sixteen takes and it seemed to work out fairly well. It was the same line-up as the previous session. Jimi then wanted to try another song so Chris and I took the opportunity to switch instruments. My leg was so damn sore that I couldn’t keep doing it anymore so I took over tambourine and Chris picked up the maracas. [Ed. Jimi made several attempts at “Hey Gypsy Boy”, an uptempo new original song whose lyrics bore close similarity to what would later develop as “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”]. Jimi then started to play “Crash Landing”. There were no vocals at first. He was focusing on the track itself. This went really well and after ten or fifteen takes he asked everybody to leave the studio. I asked him if we were being thrown out and he explained that he would not allow anybody to be in the studio while he recorded vocals on a track. In the control room, Gary Kellgren told us that it was just an idiosyncrasy that Jimi had. Gary went out and constructed a booth around him. Jimi had a sheet with lyrics and he stood behind there and sang beautifully. We were bug eyed in the control room. Then, all of sudden, Punky Meadows, who had been sleeping in the back of the studio, woke up and started walking across the room. Jimi saw him and literally flipped out. He threw down the papers in his hand and yelled, ‘What the fuck are you doing in the studio when I am doing vocals?’ In the control room, Gary Kellgren put his hands to his head. Apparently, that was the worst thing anyone could do on a Hendrix session. He yelled to us, ‘Get him out of there!’ We hustled Punky out to the bathroom and Jimi regained his composure and started doing vocals again. When he finished, he walked in to the control room and said, ‘Man, no one walks through that studio when I am doing vocals. Didn’t Gary tell you that?’ We explained that Punky had been asleep and we didn’t know where he was. Jimi laughed. ‘Punky? What kind of name is Punky?’ Punky came out from hiding and they met. All Jimi kept asking him was what kind of name was Punky? It was funny. At the end of the session, he thanked us and hoped that we would run into each other. We drove back to D.C. after that. EH: Did you ever imagine that any of the music to which you contributed would be released? AM: Years later I bought the Crash Landing album thinking it was us on the track but they had erased everything. I have been looking for some validation of this session for thirty years. Every time I would see “Room Full Of Mirrors” on a Jimi Hendrix album I would look to see if my name was on it. Then this year I got an advance of the new box set. I heard “Room Full Of Mirrors” and lo and behold it was it us. This is the song I played on! When I saw the credits, I was disappointed that no one seemed to know who the hell I was! It was great to talk to you about it. I am so grateful to know that this track is on the box set. I love Jimi and its an honor to be a part of something like this. I’ve been on a high since!
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Jimi returned to New York and booked an evening session at the Record Plant dedicated to playbacks of previously recorded material and mixing. His session concluded at 2:30 a.m. and the guitarist left the studio to go to the Scene nightclub.
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) “Jam #1” 2) “Jam #2” 3) “Ships Passing Through The Night” 4) “Jam Part II” [“The Things I Used To Do”] In the early morning hours of May 7, Jimi returned from the nearby Scene Club with Steve Stills and Johnny Winter in tow. The three guitarists enjoyed a lengthy jam session which culminated in a rollicking rendition of Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do”. Memorial Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama With Fat Mattress, Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys Later that afternoon, Hendrix joined Mitchell, Redding and his road crew to fly to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The group checked into the Ramada Inn in Tuscaloosa prior to performing that evening at the Memorial Coliseum. Jimi Hendrix is photographed during The Experience’s performance at Memorial Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on May 7, 1969. Photo: Marshal Haglar / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) Message From Nine To The Universe For the second consecutive evening, Jimi was joined by Cox, Miles, and an unnamed percussionist. Their focus was centered on “Message From Nine To The Universe” an early hybrid of “Earth Blues” and “Message To Love”. A heavily edited version of this take was later issued as part of the [now deleted] 1980 compilation Nine To The Universe.