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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 1) Keep On Groovin’ 2) Jam Session 3) Solo Demos A long evening dedicated solely to jamming. Jimi was joined by bassist Billy Cox, organist Sharon Layne, an unnamed percussionist, and a second guitarist known only as Sean.
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording 1) Freedom 2) Jam 292 3) Untitled Jam 4) Horn & Piano Jam Backed by Mitch Mitchell, bassist Billy Cox, and organist Sharon Layne, Jimi recorded “Jam 292”, which was later posthumously issued as part of Jimi Hendrix :Blues. Later that evening, the group was joined by an unnamed trumpet player who contributed to series of untitled instrumental jams before the session concluded.
NBC Television Studios, New York, NY Hendrix makes an appearance on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and is interviewed by guest host Flip Wilson. After the interview, Hendrix who is joined by Billy Cox (bass) and drummer Ed Shaughnessy. They perform “Lover Man.”
Joined by Billy Cox, Hendrix and Miles returned to the Record Plant studios in New York City to continue work on several new tracks including “Room Full Of Mirrors,” “Stepping Stone,” and “Ezy Rider.” Second engineer Tom Erdelyi recalls additional recordings being worked on including “Izabella,” “Machine Gun,” “Dolly Dagger,” and “Message To Love.” During this session, Hendrix brought in Albert and Arthur Allen (the Ghetto Fighters) to provide backing vocals for “Room Full Of Mirrors.” The basic track of “Room Full Of Mirrors” is the foundation for the recording heard on 1997’s First Ray s Of The New Rising Sun (Experience Hendrix/ MCA, 11599). Afterwards, Hendrix and the Allen twins visited Studio B where Mountain was recording their latest hit, “Mississippi Queen.” Thrilled by the chance meeting, Hendrix invited Leslie West back to his studio for a jam.
It is unknown to what nature a session took place on this evening. However, a single quarter-inch, two-track recording was made, likely the source from a session as Baggy’s rehearsal studios. The only reference point is that of a notation of the tape box “Buddy Miles/Billy Cox.”
Fillmore East, New York Two Shows 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.”
In a session at the Record Plant, overseen by engineer Bob Hughes and second engineer Dave Ragno, Hendrix crafted a rough sketch of “Send My Love To Linda” which featured Miles on drums and Cox on bass. As the track progressed it extended into a lively extended jam. Additionally, twelve takes of “Paper Airplanes” (AKA “Power Of Soul”) and five takes of “Burning Desire” were also put to tape.
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording 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 Studio Recording Message To Love Stepping Stone Earth Blues Ezy Ryder 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.”
With Bob Hughes and Dave Ragno monitoring the control desk, Hendrix guided the band through lively renditions of “Villanova Junction Blues” including one take lasting in excess of fifteen minutes. Several extended jams were recorded on this evening including “MLK,” “Slow Time Blues,” and “Burning Desire.”
Later joined by an unidentified harp player, Hendrix leads the session through another extended track, this time Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.” Joined by Billy Cox, Hendrix also dabbled around “Freedom” and “Highways Of Desire” the later which gradually segued into “Seven Dollars In My Pocket.”
Following the blues groove already set in place, Hendrix then began to tackle “Midnight Lightning,” “Freedom,” “Country Blues,” and “Once I Had A Woman.” In 1974, an edited take of “Once I Had A Woman” featuring overdubbed harmonica parts by Buddy Lucas was prepped for 1975’s compilation Midnight Lightning (Reprise Records, MS 2229). An extended rendition was also later included on 1994’s Jimi Hendrix :Blues (Experience Hendrix/MCA, MCAD-11060).
1970 billy cox Blue Suede Shoes Bob Hughes Burning Desire Carl Perkins Country Blues Dave Ragno Freedom Highways Of Desire January 23 MLK Once I Had A Woman Recording Slow Time Blues Villanova Junction Blues
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording Record Plant, New York Studio Recording On this evening, Hendrix traveled to the Record Plant after mixing sessions at Juggy Sound had concluded. Upon his arrival, an informal jam session with Buddy Miles ensued. Two instrumental attempts at “Blue Suede Shoes” were put to tape. Later, Hendrix put forward an early version of what would become to “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).” Singing live and supported only by drums and percussion, Hendrix wove gorgeous touches of Spanish flamenco styling within the arrangement. An impish stab at Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”—a favorite of the guitarist’s when he was a teenager in Seattle—was followed by a funky original work reminiscent of “Day Tripper.” Soon thereafter Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell arrived. Buddy Miles departed and work began on “Freedom”. This recording, issued on The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, is dramatically different than the version now included as part of First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Most notably, Jimi devised an inventive, extended introduction and, in contrast to his efforts the previous summer with Gypsys Sun & Rainbows, skillfully integrated the percussion effort of Juma Sultan.
Noel Redding returns to New York expecting to begin rehearsing with Hendrix and Mitchell for the next Jimi Hendrix Experience tour unaware that Billy Cox has replaced him in the band. “Noel wasn’t told until he came back, expecting to rehearse for the tour,” explains Mitch Mitchell. “Basically, no one had the balls to do it.”
Working alone, Jimi arrived at the Record Plant intent on realizing a more traditional Delta blues arrangement of “Midnight Lightning” than he had previously attempted. Singing and playing live as he sat on a chair, Jimi utilized a finger picking style he rarely incorporated on his recordings. The song’s slow beat was accented, in the tradition of such blues men as Lightnin’ Hopkins and John Lee Hooker, by the steady tapping of his foot on the floor. One of his favorite blues themes, Jimi would later make several attempts to complete a group version with Cox and Mitchell that summer at Electric Lady. Sadly, his untimely death in September 1970 came before “Midnight Lightning” and many other scintillating works in progress could be completed.
Hendrix began this session joined by an unidentified drummer [likely Steve Angel] and together the two players recorded a quick rendition of “Bleeding Heart”. This was followed by three takes of “Midnight Lightning.” Bassist Billy Cox joined the session and s the tandem ran through four takes of “Bleeding Heart,” the later of which was flagged as the master and later transferred to Jimi’s own Electric Lady Studios where additional guitar and a new drum part were overdubbed by Jimi and Mitch Mitchell. Although Jimi never fully completed “Bleeding Heart” prior to his death, it has since been issued as part of First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997).
A new Jimi Hendrix Experience, featuring Hendrix (guitar), Mitch Mitchell (drums), and Billy Cox (bass) makes its debut at the Los Angeles Forum. The performance also marks the start of what would become that last US Tour by Jimi Hendrix. Supported by The Buddy Miles Express and Ballin’ Jack the sold out-performance (20,000) The Experience’s 85-minute set featured “Spanish Castle Magic,” “Foxey Lady,” “Lover Man,” “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Message To Love,” “Ezy Ryder,” “Machine Gun,” “Room Full Of Mirrors,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” “Villanova Junction,” “Freedom,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” Jimi Hendrix performs on stage during The Experience’s first show of their final US Tour, April 25, 1970 at the Los Angeles Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo: Chuck Boyd / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Continuing on their North American tour, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, featuring Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (bass), and Jimi Hendrix (guitar) perform at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, TX.
Returning once again to Electric Lady, Hendrix enthusiastically kicked off the session right where the prior night’s left off. In visiting “Straight Ahead” Hendrix, Billy Cox, and Mitch Mitchell concentrated on forming a new master take of the song. The trio then moves to recordings for “Astro Man.” Feeling playful, Jimi brings the session to a quick halt before yelling for tape machine to start recording. Assured that the tapes are rolling Jimi breaks into a high octave vocal take of “Drifter’s Escape.”