Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jimi Hendrix, The Bass Player?

Jimi Hendrix, The Bass Player?

Jimi Hendrix is perhaps best known for his blazing (literally blazing as evidenced by his '67 Monterey Pop Festival live performance) lead guitar playing and as his latest release "Valleys Of Neptune'" gains in popularity, his amazing talents are still being recognized and appreciated by every new generation of rock fan since his first appearance onto the music scene in the 60's.
Along with his amazing songwriting, guitar playing and singing, one of Jimi's lesser known talents was his amazing electric bass guitar playing, Jimi could also play the glockenspiel and the flute, amazingly enough, Jimi taught himself to play on all the instruments mentioned above.

He is also credited on several lesser know rock albums as an executive producer and as a guest performer, playing bass for the Buddy Miles penned track "Destruction Of Love" and produced Buddy's "Electric Church" solo album. Hendrix also played bass on an early, rare Crosby, Stills & Nash version of the Joni Mitchell penned song "Woodstock", which was written by Mitchell while she was stranded in a hotel room, not able to get to Woodstock where she was supposed to perform.

Hendrix, who preferred a right-handed Stratocaster flipped upside down and strung backwards, could also easily play a right handed, standard strung up guitar and bass. This unique talent can be compared to a baseball player batting from the left and right side of home plate, as opposed to just the right or the left. This special talent was captured on an album, when Hendrix guest starred on Timothy Leary's rare, narrative/music album.

Not only did Jimi perform many a bass line on his own recordings but he also took hold of the instrument live on a couple of famous occasions, one of which included an amazing, fiery performance of "Red House" from 1967, in which Noel Redding and Jimi switched instruments at The Olympia in Paris, France.

Having played guitar full-time before his gig with Jimi, Redding was a great guitar player in his own right. So switching instruments was no problem went it came to the multi-talented Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Jimi owned a 1965 Fender Jazz Bass on which he performed many a legendary bass line on in the recording studio. Jimi's bass playing is not present on his 1st album but he did record several bass lines on his "Axis: Bold As Love" album. Jimi can be heard playing bass on the "Bold As Love", "Spanish Castle Magic" & "She's So Fine" tracks.
Hendrix used his own 8-string Hagstrom bass guitar on the bass track of "Spanish Castle Magic", Hendrix added a uniqueness all his own to the track using the Octavia foot-pedal to enhance the recorded bass lines.

Hendrix also played the 4-string bass guitar on one of his most recognizable and widely known, recorded songs "All Along The Watchtower". A song in which Hendrix decided to record because he was such a big fan of Bob Dylan's original version.

Dave Mason originally recorded the bass line on the track, after Redding and Hendrix had a dispute in the studio. Hendrix recorded a new bass line and then re-recorded the bass after "hearing it a bit differently" on several occasions. If you listen to just the bass on this particular track you can hear it jump out of the mix on several occasions.

Hendrix's iconic album "Electric Ladyland" which included "All Along The Watchtower" featured Hendrix playing bass on "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)" & "And The Gods Made Love".

During the sessions for this record, Hendrix plucked the 4-string on 2 of Noel Redding's original songs "Dream" & "Touch You", which were never completed and included on the album.

These sessions also produced "My Friend" a rare, Stephen Stills penned song, on which Hendrix sang and played guitar and bass on. This rare recording surfaced after Hendrix passed on.

Not only does Hendrix's songwriting, singing & guitar playing continue to influence a new generation of fans every year, his bass playing is equally recognized as an important part of the Hendrix legacy and has influenced many a bassist in it's own right. Who better to play the bass on some of Hendrix's most famous songs than Jimi himself. Who knew?

Experience Hendrix front and back cover featuring the "Official" First Rays Of The New Rising Sun CD release.

Hendrix Band of Gypsys CD Review

One of the Greatest Live Recording's of All Time

The Band Of Gypsys, first released in April of 1970, is one of Jimi Hendrix's most revered and impressive achievements of his brief , but memorable recording career. This CD was recorded on New Year's Eve of 1969/70 at the Fillmore East in New York City. The Band Of Gypsys was a newly formed trio featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on the bass. The Band Of Gypsys was the last official recording of Hendrix's career. Many have called The Band Of Gypsys CD the birthplace of funk. This isn't one of Hendrix's best-known albums but it still packs a musical punch.
This recording was released with a specific purpose in mind. Hendrix needed to fulfill a contractual obligation to a former manager of whom he had signed a recording contract with before he went off to London to begin his fabled career. The Jimi Hendrix Experience recordings sound polished and cleaned up compared to the raw, funky grooves of The Band Of Gypsys. Buddy Miles and Billy Cox combine their efforts to create phat, funky grooves perfect for Hendrix to play on top off and improvise through. Hendrix's playing doesnt carry these songs but tags along, slightly behind the beat to create some sexy, bouncy grooves. For fans of Hendrix, his playing on The Band Of Gypsys is a little different from his solo stuff, it provides interesting new sounds and textures to listen to. Buddy Miles provides some rather impressive vocals on this CD but the highlight is undoubtedly the song "Machine Gun". "Machine Gun" ranks along with "The Star Spangled Banner" as a innovative, inspiring and emotional electric guitar performance. "Machine Gun" is Hendrix's thought provoking statement of a nation at war, a war that the young generation of that time didn't support. "Machine Gun" is a soulful, solo guitar masterpiece created by a young Hendrix, it contains some terrifying, agonizing guitar sounds. One can close their eyes while listening to "Machine Gun" and picture a war-torn battlefield complete with the sounds of bombs and guns going off, along with the wounded cries of dying soldiers all around. All of the guitar sounds on The Band Of Gypsys were created by a primitive guitar/amp set-up by today's standards, but Hendrix most certainly had the loudest and most innovative equipment he could could get his hands on, along with a stock Fender Stratocaster.

The original vinyl release only had 6 songs, but there is a remastered double-disc CD set from the 4 shows, which contains all the best songs from the 4 shows and there is also a Band Of Gypsy DVD, which won a Grammy Award and is a must-see for any serious Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys fan.

Guitar World 1995 which covered the legal battle for Jimi Hendrix's music, which was won by Experience Hendrix, LLC, who represent Hendrix's family.

Guitar World Jimi Hendrix Tribute issue from 1985.

Jimi Hendrix "Atlanta Special" is a bootleg release I picked up awhile ago.

According to the book Jimi Hendrix: Experience The Music the first 3 songs are from the Berkeley, CA rehearshals from 5/30/70 and the rest of the songs are from The Atlanta Pop Festival 7/4/70.

Guitar World, 11/2000 Hendrix Tribute Issue.
Pete Townsend, Carlos Santana, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer and Hendrixs' drummer Mitch Mitchell speak out about the life & times of Jimi Hendrix. Eddie Kramer & John McDermott discuss the making of the 1st Hendrix family produced 4-CD box set.

This CD came out in 2007, 40 years after Hendrixs' groundbreaking, performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in California. This is the show where Hendrix made his triumphant return to the U.S. after blowing away many an audience in the U.K. and after releasing his first album with the help of Chas Chandler of The Animals. I've always seen the front view of this famous shot in which Hendrix sacrificed his guitar for the audience, first burning it then smashing it in a feedback frenzy. I had never seen this photograph before this CD came out so after resisting for 3 yrs, I finally picked it up in 2010. This CD includes the intro by Brian Jones of Rolling Stones fame and the entire set that The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed during The Summer Of Love.

West Coast Seattle Boy, The Jimi Hendrix Anthology is the latest release from Experience Hendrix, LLC. This is a must have for any true Hendrix fan, not so much for the casual listener. The 1st CD contains rare recordings Hendrix played on for other artists' such as Little Richard and The Isley Brothers, think classic motown and funky R & B. The rest of the music is quite good, but some of the unreleased stuff is not so good, but interesting to listen to, as it provides some insight into the genius that was Jimi Hendrix. This is the 2nd Hendrix box set released by Experience Hendrix, LLC.

Here's a couple of classic pics when Jimi was in the army, Jimi found the time to play guitar while in the army as shown in the 2nd photo from '61.
Photos courtesy of the book "Becoming Jimi Hendrix" by Steven Roby & Brad Schreiber.

Above, Jimi playing with the King Kasuals from '62.
Below, Jimi playing as a sideman for Little Richard from '65.

Jimi Hendrix with "Others"

Jimi Hendrix Recorded and Performed with Many an Artist Before His Solo Career Exploded!

"I played with this little rhythm and blues group named Curtis Knight & The Squires. And I made a few records and arranged a few songs for him." Jimi Hendrix 1967. Jimi performed and recorded with many great artists' early in his career and later as his worldwide fame grew. Jimi was a session man for many of these recordings and his input was limited to guitar playing and not to singing. Many of the lead guitar parts and guitar solos were not Jimi's but the headliners. After Jimi attained worldwide fame many of these recordings were released as official recordings by Jimi Hendrix but indeed they were not.
Jimi's involvement with Lonnie Youngblood began in 1963, Jimi was hired to play guitar on some of Lonnie Youngblood's recordings. At that time, Youngblood was a well known saxophonist in Philadelphia and Jimi was glad to record with Lonnie. Jimi's unique style of playing soul, blues and rhythm and blues shines through on these recordings. Jimi recorded the songs "Goodbye, Bessie Mae", "Soulfood", "Let Me", "Go Go Shoes", "Sweet Thang", "Under The Table" and "Wipe The Sweat" with Lonnie Youngblood.

The Isley Brothers were in need of a guitarist in 1964 and as luck would have it, a friend of Ronnie Isley's named Tony Rice had seen Jimi perform at the Palm Cafe in New York City and recommended Jimi to Ronnie Isley which led to an audition. The Isley Brothers were impressed with Jimi's raw talent and Jimi was brought on to tour and record with the band in early 1964. Jimi recorded "Testify", "Move Over And Let Me Dance" & "Have You Ever Been Disappointed" with the Isley's. Jimi left The Isley Brothers in the summer of 1964 to seek new musical opportunities in Nashville. 3 of these songs can be found on the new Hendrix box set "West Coast Seattle Boy".

Jimi toured and recorded with Little Richard in 1965. Jimi only recorded a couple of songs with Little Richard. Jimi recorded "I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me" and "Dancing All Around The World" which was released as a single by Vee-Jay Records in November 1965. That single peaked on the Billboard charts at number 92. The single reached number 12 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart. These songs can be found on "West Coast Seattle Boy" as well.

Jimi's association with the blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield was brief but it resulted in a single which was released in July of 1967. The songs are "As The Clouds Drift By" & "Suey" and can be found on the Hendrix bottleg "Too Hot To Handle".

In October 1965 Jimi signed a 3-year recording contract with Ed Chalpin's record company PPX Recordings for a disgraceful 1% royalty rate which was a direct result of Jimi's naivete when it came to signing recording contracts. Chalpin was a shrewd business man and he saw a good opportunity to decieve Jimi and take advantage of his remarkable raw talent. This contract came back to haunt Jimi later in his career and the end result was a number of sub-standard studio and live recordings which resulted in a large amount of quasi-legal official releases and bootleg releases. Many of these recordings were altered, faked, edited and falsely identified as Jimi Hendrix recordings.

Later in his career Jimi played lead guitar with McGough & McGear on their single "So Much" & "Ex Art Student" which was produced by Paul McCartney. Jimi added percussion to the Fat Mattress song "How Can I Live?" on their August 1969 release. Jimi also played bass with Robert Wyatt on his song "Slow Walking Talk" from 1968 and on Timothy Leary's song "Live And Let Live" from April 1970. Jimi played guitar on 3 Eire Apparent songs "Rock 'N' Roll Band", "Yes I Need Someone" & "Let Me Stay" from March 1969. Jimi also played bass and guitar on the Lightnin' Rod recording "Doriella Du Fontaine" which was recorded in November 1969. Jimi plays some lead guitar on the self-titled Stephen Stills solo record, of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, on the song "Old Times Good Times".


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