Jimi Hendrix Encyclopedia
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Popular Tagsbilly cox 1970 Dave Ragno January 16 Fillmore East Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child Band of Gypsys Record Plant Power Of Soul Bob Hughes Send My Love To Linda Burning Desire extended session jam sessions Astro Man Elvin Bishop jam session Ungano
January 01st, 1970
New York, N.Y.
Joined by Elvin Bishop, Buddy Miles and others, Hendrix took part in a jam session at Ungano’s nightclub (210 West 70th Street, New York City). Sacha Reins, a writer for French entertainment magazine Best (Issue 39) who just happened to be in the club during the event, later wrote about the evening. “It is beginning to get quite late, and I tell myself that I have to go. I look to the door and get a big shock. Jimi is there with a black guitar in his hand. Buddy Miles follows him. He shakes the hand of the boss, and I hear him asking if he doesn’t mind them playing a bit. The three telephone booths near the entrance are immediately occupied. We all want to tell a friend that nice things are about to happen. Less than an hour later the club is full. Jimi is onstage and Buddy is looking for a drum stool big enough to support his enormous weight.
“A very young guitar player who has been playing for half an hour wants to leave. He doesn’t want to play anymore. Jimi stops him and asks him if they can play together. They try out a rather quick number and Jimi intentionally stays in the background. He waits until the young guitarist regains his confidence. Then he takes his turn. He plays short phrases with long silence intermissions during which one only hears the strong and regular pulsations of Buddy Miles. The silences become shorter and shorter. The phrases are less and less chopped up; they become enchained, stupefying. Jimi had found his groove and under his fingers the strings tell us strange stories that we don’t fully comprehend.”
January 01st, 1970
Fillmore East, New York
Dawn had arisen over Manhattan by the time the group finally left the venue in the early morning hours of January 1. Incredibly, they returned later on this evening to perform two additional concerts. With the hoopla of the New Year’s Eve festivities behind him, Hendrix centered his attention on realizing a live album from the remaining two performances. Desperate to absolve himself of the bitter legalities, which had hounded him since his return to the United States in June 1967, Hendrix rallied and gave two of the finest performances of his storied career.
As the Fillmore audience roared with approval, the Band Of Gypsys left the stage confident that they had validated Jimi’s new music before his loyal followers. “We felt the concerts went well,” remembers Billy Cox. “We felt good doing them and Jimi did all of his powerful techniques he could think of. Then one show he just stayed there and got into it so heavy it was incredible. There were people in the audience with their mouths open.” “His playing is so loud, so fluid and so rife with electronic distortions that it resembles that of no other currently popular performer,” reported Mike Jahn for The New York Times (January 2, 1970). Lead guitarist Jimi Hendrix was once again joined on stage by bassist, Billy Cox and drummer, Buddy Miles for their new collaboration of roaming and experimental sounds.
Secure in his standing, Hendrix was comfortable with the Fillmore crowd. During the fourth and final Fillmore concert, the guitarist made light of the group’s limited repertoire immediately prior to the start of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. On another occasion earlier that evening, he even offered his congratulations to the victorious USC Trojans, winners of the Rose Bowl that afternoon. “Jimi enjoyed doing those shows,” explains Billy Cox. “He was enjoying himself because he had complete freedom and freedom is a joyous thing when you’ve got it. We didn’t have any worries about what we could or couldn’t do. These were our first shows. We were pretty rebellious at that age. I guess that’s why we played the music so loud. He didn’t have any restrictions and that is a lot of freedom. You can hear that on every song we played. After the shows were finished, Jimi was quite relieved. He had fulfilled his obligation and was getting this whole [situation] off his back.”
January 16th, 1970
January 21st, 1970
Juggy Sound, New York
As had been the case since mixing sessions began on January 14, Hendrix and Kramer huddled at Juggy Sound to continue their work on Band Of Gypsys.
Record Plant, New York
Message To Love
Following his work at Juggy, Hendrix joined Cox, and Miles at the Record Plant for an extended session that began with fourteen takes of “Power Of Soul” (still referred under the working title of “Crash Landing”) put to tape, and although takes 2, 4, and 6 were complete, no master track was flagged. Recorded three weeks after the group’s legendary Fillmore East concerts, the Band Of Gypsys meticulously crafted this prototypical illustration of sophisticated funk.
Hendrix would revisit the track on February 3, 1970, overdubbing guitar parts and creating a rough mix. At that stage, work on “Power Of Soul” drew to a close. Hendrix instead chose to feature a live version of the song as part of Band Of Gypsys, issued in March 1970.
The January/February 1970 studio recording of “Power Of Soul” was shelved until the marathon mixing sessions Hendrix staged at Electric Lady Studios in August 1970. As Jimi reviewed the many contenders for his projected double album First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, “Power Of Soul” was treated to a new rough mix, resulting in the unique delay effect heard during the song’s opening.
Because “Power Of Soul” had been featured on Band Of Gypsys, Jimi had not reserved a position for the song on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Although considered for The Cry Of Love, the first posthumous album of Jimi’s unissued studio material, “Power Of Soul” remained unavailable until a truncated version was overhauled and included as part of the controversial 1975 compilation Crash Landing. The original master was edited and remixed to accommodate overdubs recorded in 1974 by session percussionist Jimmy Maeulen. Lasting only 3:15 and retitled “With The Power”, the elaborate introduction and its two soaring lead guitar solos were scrapped.
The version featured on the 1997 compilation South Saturn Delta discards the posthumous additions, restoring the full-length version with all of its regal glory intact.
Jimi then presented the evening’s most pleasant surprise, seven takes of “Astro Man”. “This is gonna be fun!” laughed Jimi before launching into a enthusiastic rendition of “Astro Man”, his comic cartoon fable. The song’s inspiration was simple, drawing its roots from Jimi’s love for animated cartoons. “That’s what ‘Astro Man’ was all about,” laughs Cox. “We used to love watching cartoons at his apartment. He enjoyed Mighty Mouse and especially loved Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Take seven would later be featured as part of The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set.
Jimi closed the evening with a single, unsuccessful attempt at realizing a basic track for the promising “Valleys Of Neptune.”
In other news outside the recording studio, the January 21 issue of Variety magazine announced the upcoming Isle Of Wight Festival of Music, a five-day musical extravaganza slated for August on the small island located off the south coast of England. Of the event, Variety explains, “The first two days will be a film fest. It is hoped to premier a couple of films of the Easy Rider genre [Murray Lerner’s acclaimed Festival!, a documentary about the Newport Folk Festival, was one of the films scheduled]. The remainder will be a conventional progressive pop bash with about 30 acts taking part. Policy is to not book more than two big names as crowd pullers as they tend to overshadow other acts. No bookings have yet been made.”