An overview of his live performances from 1967-1970.
WARNING: This post contains some very personal, no filter remarks made by your host. Some of it may not be safe for work, but it is as honest as I can be. Deal with it or don't deal with it, the choice is yours.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." – Jimi Hendrix
We could be here all day and still not get the importance of Jimi Hendrix on Western Civilization. It can only be told in stories, very personal stories, by those who love him and his music, whether it was seeing him while he was alive or experiencing him long after his brief but truly earth-shaking time on this plane of existence.
For me, my experience started when I was very young, through records that my parents played. My father saw him live several times, and equated him to his icons, Chuck Berry (whom Jimi would cover) and Little Richard (who Jimi would play with live in his early career). Of course, I was too young to understand what the fuss was all about it, until I turned 13 years old.
It was around that time that my uncle uncle David and my grandmother had some items stored of Moms and gave them to her in the early 1980's. Mom, in turn, gave me to me: they were her old record player and a stack of album left in a garage. One of them was Are You Experienced?, the debut album by Hendrix. It was a cappy old record player, mono, in a wooden box with a lid that closed and some stereo records did not translate well through the speaker. It didn't matter. What I do remember:
- What the fuck is this?
- Look at those threads he's wearing!
- Did he just say he kissed some dude?
- Is he just mumbling though "Love and Confusion" and "Third Stone From The Sun?" (I was shocked and amazed that the former actually had lyrics, and they were only legible to me when I heard the stereo mix of the album on stereo speakers.)
- What's wrong with surf music? (I lived six blocks from the beach, and my mother knew the Beach Boys when they were Carl and the Passions.)
- Why do I keep seeing rainbows when I hear this shit?
- Why can't I stop listening to it?
- If the Wind Cries Mary, are you talking about getting stoned? Because in this other song you said it wasn't about being stoned? STOP CONFUSING ME!
- You forgot the words? And they LEFT THAT ON THERE?
And a whole bunch of other random nonsense that only makes sense to people who hear this music for the first time.
James Marshall Hendrix photographed by James Marshall, 1968. Courtesy of the photographer's estate.
If none of this makes sense, welcome to the world of being a Jimi Hendrix fan. I am almost 50 now, so we are talking an artist dead when I was still in diapers and who still continues to place archival albums into the upper reaches of the Billboard Top 200 albums chart on a regular basis. Even people who aren't fans are acutely aware of his significance in the pantheon of all recorded music.
Of course, I did ask adults at the time (who would have been teens when Hendrix was a current artist) if my impressions were off base. A response from my own parents and their friends, and it went something like this: "You're probably right on, man." But, if you remember the 1960's, you really weren't there. Jimi was outtasite, baby. That's all you really need to understand."
All in all, Hendrix did something that no artist since has done: he made Rock and Roll Black again, in a way that hadn't been heard since the arrival of Elvis in 1956, which marked a shift from the art form it has once been, which was music made by Black men, to what it would be by the time he made his American debut. He stands as a monument to everything electric Rock would promise, with so many wondering what he would have done if he had not died at the age of 27 in 1970.
The first hour is a live anthology we present in his memory. The second hour is a program consisting of two interviews, including the last one he gave while still alive. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did putting it together for you.
Our tracks this week: Title, Year of Performance, Source, Location
First Hour: Live Performances
1. Lover Man, 1969, Live at Woodstock, Bethel, NY
2. Spanish Castle Magic, 1967, BBC Recordings, London, U.K.
3. Outside Woman Blues, 1968, Bleeding Heart (bootleg recording), New York City, NY
4. Hey Joe, 1968, Miami Pop Festival, Miami, FL
5. Fire, 1968, Live at Winterland, San Francisco, CA
6. Dolly Dagger, 1970, Isle Of Wight, Isle of Wight, U.K.
7. Johnny B. Goode, 1970, Hendrix In The West, Berkeley, CA
8. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun), 1970, Live At Berkeley: 2nd Show, Berkeley, CA
9. Message of Love, 1970, Band of Gypsys, New York City, NY
1o. Wild Thing, 1967, Monterey Pop Festival, Monterey, CA
Second Hour: Interviews
Interview, Boston Garden, Backstage, Nov. 1968
Last Interview, London, with the New Musical Express, Sep. 1970
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX