Jimi Hendrix Encyclopedia
May 14th, 1970
Always privy to hitting the studio to try out some new songs, Hendrix led the group back to New York. Although work on Jimi’s own Electric Lady Studios was nearing completion, after a brief test session with Eddie Kramer on piano, it was decided that more tweaking was necessary at the new facility before Hendrix should christen it. Instead, Kramer booked Hendrix and the band into the familiar surroundings of the Record Plant’s newly opened “Studio C.” Here Jimi lead the band through a number of recordings including three takes of “Come Down Hard On Me,” a series of rough instrumentals of “Straight Ahead,” the fourth take evolved into a jam of “Night Bird Flying.” An abandoned rendition of “Lower Alcatraz” quickly crumbled before Hendrix dove into unique renditions of “Midnight Lightning” and “Keep On Groovin’.” Playing around on his guitar Jimi plucked a few chords to “Power Of Soul” before jumping full-speed into “Straight Ahead” which was later followed by a feverish rendition of “Freedom.” Jokingly moving forward, Hendrix lightened the mood in the studio with Frankie Laine’s “Catastrophe,” which caused Kramer to remark on the talkback, “at a hundred and fifty dollars an hour, that’s pretty good.” When the laughter died down, Jimi frolicked in a hearty version of “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) before the session came to an end.
May 15th, 1970
Returning to the “Studio C” at the Record Plant, continued work on “Freedom” was the focus of the group’s attention, resulting in 19 takes of the song, of which 15 were particularly spirited, although no master resulted from these takes Hendrix moved future studio work on “Freedom” over to his own Electric Lady Studios in late June. The session also featured work on “Valleys Of Neptune,” “Peter Gunn,” and “Catastrophe,” the later two debuting posthumously on War Heroes (Reprise Records, 1972).
Making another attack on “Freedom,” Jimi was left unsatisfied and turned his attention back to “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” which at this point was styled similarly to the rendition that is currently available on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997). Before ending the session, he led the band through an energetic rendition of “Lover Man.”