Jimi Hendrix Encyclopedia
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Popular TagsRecord Plant Message To Love Earth Blues interview Melody Maker Bleeding Heart lover man Ezy Ryder Changes Burning Desire Baggy Studios Baggy’s Studios Born Under A Bad Sign Bob Dawbarn
December 11th, 1969
Bob Dawbarn of Melody Maker interviewed Jimi by telephone for the December 20th edition of the famed British music weekly. In the interview Hendrix alluded to the reformation of the original Experience band. “I’ve been thinking about that for a long time. All I’m waiting for is for Noel and Mitch to make up their minds and we can get everything fixed. I saw Noel at the Fillmore and I think everything is working out fine with him. Now I am looking forward to seeing Mitch. He has been over there in England getting himself together.”
Jimi also provided Dawbarn with some insights about the new music that he had been developing. “I’ve been writing a whole lot of things,” Jimi replied. In fact, we’ve got enough material now for another two LPs. We are trying to decide what to release and at what time. We’ve started recording and you should be receiving a single around the end of January. The title? It should be either ‘Trying To Be A Man [sic]’ or ‘Room Full Of Mirrors.’”
December 15th, 1969
Record Plant, New York
Born Under A Bad Sign
Message To Love
Back in New York, Hendrix returned to the Record Plant for an extended evening session. Jimi led Buddy Miles and Billy Cox through takes of “Lover Man,” “Izabella,” “Earth Blues,” “Message To Love,” “Changes,” and “Burning Desire”, although no masters were achieved. One recording from this session, an impromptu rendition of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” was issued posthumously as part of the 1994 compilation Jimi Hendrix :Blues (Experience Hendrix/MCA, 11060).
December 18th, 1969
Record Plant, New York
Message To Love
A long and productive evening of rehearsing and recording for Hendrix, Cox, and Miles. It is not known which session came first, but the Band Of Gypsys spent time on this day at Baggy’s Studios, a makeshift rehearsal facility, and the Record Plant.
At the Record Plant, Hendrix and the group made significant progress on “Message To Love,” “Ezy Ryder”, and “Bleeding Heart.” The last of eighteen takes provided a working master for “Message To Love”, although Hendrix opted to retry the song the following evening and this version as scrapped. However, the group successfully recorded the basic track for “Ezy Ryder” on this evening. Additional work in the form of numerous guitar, bass, and vocal overdubs would be completed for this track at Electric Lady Studios during the summer of 1970, but this inspired session yielded the basic rhythm track Hendrix desired. “Ezy Ryder” would later be issued as part of the 1997 compilation First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (Experience Hendrix/MCA, 11599)).
Baggy’s Studios, New York
At Baggy’s Studios, Hendrix, Cox, and Miles devoted their efforts toward refining the body of songs Hendrix wished to perform as part of his upcoming performances at the Fillmore East. Hendrix had elected to record the Fillmore East performances for a live album he would deliver to capitol records to settle a longstanding legal dispute. “We rehearsed at a place called Baggy’s in New York,” explains Cox. “It was located down by Chinatown. We were there prior to Christmas and then a little after, practicing and rehearsing. We were working up a set with the songs we were going to perform for the [Fillmore East] concert. Then we realized that we had to do four shows and we used quite a few of those numbers in each of the shows.”
Baggy’s Studios was a nondescript Manhattan rehearsal facility opened by former Soft Machine road manager Tom Edmonston. Baggy’s was by no means a recording studio designed to compete with the likes of the Record Plant. Baggy’s had no control room; its purpose was to provide a space for artists to rehearse without restriction and at full volume for as much time as they required. This was a simple, yet effective rehearsal facility geared to those such as Hendrix who had no other convenient space to prepare for a live event or concert tour. “Baggy’s had two floors,” remembers Cox. “It was essentially warehouse space. We worked in the large room downstairs. It was a pretty simple set up. There were rugs on the floor and the walls were padded and soundproofed. “ While commonplace now, the concept of a dedicated rehearsal room for rock acts [as opposed to vacant halls or theaters] had only begun to take hold in 1969. Cox explains. “The recording studio was exclusively used for creating and coming up with something new and different. This was something else. Previous to that time, whenever Jimi wanted to rehearse something he would call me up and I would come over to his apartment and we would play through some small amps. Rehearsal space did not exist as we know it today.” Perhaps most importantly, Baggy’s rental rates were a fraction of the cost of similar time at the Record Plant. With Hendrix’s finances hamstrung by the construction cost overruns of his own Electric Lady Studios and the continuing PPX litigation, this was an important consideration.
Some of Hendrix’s recordings of the Band Of Gypsys rehearsals have survived. They were originally made at 7 ½ i.p.s. on a two-track reel to reel tape machine. For Hendrix, these recordings served as a convenient tool to measure the group’s progress throughout the rehearsals. Gene McFadden, a member of Hendrix’s road crew, organized the group’s equipment and installed a sound system from which a feed was patched into the tape recorder. Hendrix loaded a full spool of tape and essentially left the machine to run. Each song was recorded live with no overdubs or other such attempts to finish or even polish them.
Twelve examples of these spirited rehearsals, many from the long session on this and the following day, are featured as part of the Dagger Records release Jimi Hendrix: The Baggy’s Rehearsal Sessions. Although dates for each recording from Baggy’s are not entirely clear, it is known from tape box markings that “Burning Desire” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” were recorded on this day.
Prior to the release of Jimi Hendrix: The Baggy’s Rehearsal Sessions, a few excerpts from Jimi’s rehearsals at Baggy’s have been commercially issued. “Burning Desire” and “Hoochie Coochie Man” first appeared overseas in 1973 as part of the long since deleted Loose Ends compilation. In recent years, the Baggy’s recording of Jimi’s yuletide medley of “Little Drummer Boy”, “Silent Night”, and “Auld Lang Syne” has been issued as the popular CD single Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year.
December 19th, 1969
Record Plant, New York
Message To Love
For the second consecutive evening, Hendrix, Cox, and Miles spent time at both the Record Plant and Baggy’s Studios.
It would appear that the group began the evening with an extended rehearsal session at Baggy’s Studios. Afterwards, Hendrix began a separate session with Cox and Miles at the Record Plant beginning at 3 a.m. Hendrix returned to “Message To Love”, achieving a satisfactory basic rhythm track with just a single take. Sixteen takes of “Earth Blues” followed, with the eleventh designated as ‘complete.’ Hendrix would add a host of overdubs to this working master, including guitar, lead vocal, backing vocals by the famed Ronettes, and even a new drum track by Mitch Mitchell before his death the following year. First issued as part of the since deleted Rainbow Bridge soundtrack, “Earth Blues” was reissued in 1997 as part of First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (Experience Hendrix/MCA, 11599). “Message To Love” has since been issued as part of the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set issued in September 2000.