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Hit Factory, New York Studio Recording 1) Izabella 2) Message To The Universe 3) Izabella 4) Machine Gun 5) Izabella 6) Message To The Universe 7) Jam Jimi returned to the Hit Factory for new attempts at “Izabella” and “Message To The Universe.” A sparse demo of “Machine Gun” was buttressed with overdubs by session musicians in 1974 and issued as part of the controversial [and long since deleted] Midnight Lightning.
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.
Having just successfully completed two sold out performances at the Fillmore East, the previous night, the Band of Gypsys New Year’s Day performances were solidifying them as one of the most recognizable sounds in modern music. Just as with the two shows the preceding night Wally Heider and Eddie Kramer also recorded this performance. The results of which have been released as Band Of Gypsys (Experience Hendrix/Capitol Records, 93446-2) and Hendrix: Live At The Fillmore East (Experience Hendrix/MCA, MCAD2-1111931).
As the Band Of Gypsys hit the stage the crowd explodes into applause as the three neighborly musicians break into a barrage of musical attacks, bouncing melodic beats of musical affection off each other. The mesmerizing opening statements of the newly formed Band of Gypsys implanted a new brand of funky rock-inspired blues in the audience’s head.
“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.
The Band Of Gypsys first set featured performances of “Who Knows,” “Machine Gun,” “Changes,” “Power Of Soul,” “Stepping Stone,” “Foxey Lady,” “Stop,” “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Earth Blues,” and “Burning Desire.”
As Rolling Stones’ Loraine Alterman reported, “at the first show on New Year’s Day, the audience really let loose with cheers only on the old “Foxey Lady.” In all fairness, however, his second show reportedly went over much better especially when he and Miles sand a pleas for unity about how we’ve all got to live together, a song did together in a jam at the Newport ’69 festival in Los Angeles.
“In the end, though, Hendrix is a musician, not a contortionist or juggler. If the fans can forget the visual show and if Hendrix can come up with a new approach to material for a Band Of Gypsys, he’ll remain a heavy on the scene.”
After a brief intermission the Band Of Gypsys returned for a second set highlighted with “Stone Free,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Power Of Soul,” “Changes,” “Message To Love,” “Earth Blues,” “Machine Gun,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “We Gotta Live Together,” “Wild Thing,” “Hey Joe,” and “Purple Haze.”
Alfred Aronowitz of The New York Post interviews Hendrix for a piece in the January 2, 1970 edition. Inside Aronowitz explains Hendrix’s musical change saying, “Jimi had chosen the New Year, and as he put it, the new decade to unveil his new trio… What’s the reason for the change? ‘Earth, man, earth,’ Jimi said. With his old group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the music has been too far out in space. ‘Now I want to bring it down to earth,’ Jimi said. ‘I want to get back to the blues, because that’s what I am.’ The new group has a new repertoire, but during his first set last night, Jimi was still waving his freak flag.
“There had been plans for Jimi to go back on tour with The Experience accompanied once again by Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass, but after the show Jimi had changed his mind. ‘With Mitch, maybe, but not with Noel, for sure.’ He said. ‘That’s another thing. This is more of a real thing. We’re trying to get it on its feet. We’re waiting for Stevie Winwood. If I can get ahold of him and he agrees to it, that’ll be another voice. We’ll have harmony for days.’ The name of Jimi’s new group, incidentally, is A Band Of Gypsys. ‘That’s what we are,’ said Buddy. ‘That’s what all musicians are, Gypsies.'”
1970 Alfred Aronowitz Band of Gypsys Changes Earth Blues eddie kramer Fillmore East hey joe jan January 1 Little Drummer Boy Live Machine Gun Message To Love new years day performance Power Of Soul Purple Haze Stone Free The New York Post Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Wally Heider We Gotta Live Together Wild Thing
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording In the early morning hours of February 5, Jimi returned to Juggy Sound as mixing sessions for Band Of Gypsys continued. By this stage, final mixes for “Who Knows” and “Machine Gun” had been crafted and set aside. Hendrix had completed the album’s first side and now focused his energies on completing side two. Among the songs mixed by Hendrix and Kramer but not selected for the album were “Stone Free” [1/1/70 2nd Show] and “Hear My Train A Comin’” [12/31/69 1st Show]
Track Records releases Band Of Gypsys (2406 002) in the UK. Just like its American predecessor, Band Of Gypsys features “Who Knows,” “Machine Gun,” “Changes,” “Power To Love,” “Message To Love,” and “We Gotta Live Together.”
With support from Ballin’ Jack and Grin, The Experience perform “Machine Gun,” “Purple Haze,” and “Foxey Lady” at the outdoor venue. The show is reportedly cut short (roughly 45 minutes) due to dense fog that enveloped the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura, CA.
Hendrix makes a return visit back to hometown of Seattle, Washington where he is met at the airport by a large gathering of friends and family. Over the next couple of days Jimi spends considerable time with members of his family. Although hampered by rain, The Experience’s performance at the outdoor Sicks’ Stadium featured “Fire,” “Message To Love,” “Lover Man,” “Machine Gun,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Purple Haze,” “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Midnight Lightning,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” “Freedom,” “Red House,” and “Foxey Lady.” Tonight’s performance included support from Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys and Rube Tuben & The Rhondonnas. Jimi Hendrix is photographed on stage during his final hometown performance at the outdoor Sicks’ Stadium in Seattle, Washington on July 26, 1970. Photo: Karen Hooper / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC