This week in 1970 marks the passing of Jimi Hendrix so Steve Northover, local guitarist (Butterflies & Zebras), is in the studio to talk about some of his favourite live Hendrix tracks. Notes on each track are Steve's. Enjoy
|Infinite Ceiling Theme|
Dave Murphy - <single> - independent
|Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun Isle of Wight -
- first off, take note of the astonishing intro figure (it transcends)
- it uses the vibe, the wha-pedal, a palm mute and a slide to E-minor 12th frett
- there is also the "fuzz blast" about a minute in (it also transcends)
- it's just an E but it feeds back and shimmers and Jimi rides it with the whammy
- then there's the transistors in the Fuzz Face, picking up the radio
- "... security personnel, security personnel ... are you receiving us ..."
- all through the performance, there is the crackling of a bad connection
- but all this imperfection improves the track (but it likely frustrated Jimi at the time)
- take note of the viciousness tone and playing!
|Machine Gun (excerpt)-|
Jimi Hendrix - Isle of Wight
- the intro, is called "Maui Sunset" is a one off (not found anywhere else, live or studio)
- "Maui Sunset" is the name that the bootleggers gave to it, but it's a just a live improv
- you can hear the vibe pedal, making the crunchy sound that happens when the batteries are failing
- I'm not sure exactly what is happening, but Jimi fixes it about 40 seconds in (or it fixes itself)
- the "Maui Sunset" section morphs into the instrumental introduction to "Hey Babe"
- the "Hey Babe" riff sounds a bit like "Watchtower" (but includes a rogue D chord)
- there is a sublime first and second solo (you can watch Jimi on the film "Rainbow Bridge")
- the second solo is sublime and transcends, going up and down the neck
- it almost fails on a staccato repeated high note, then resolves brilliantly
- out of the mellow "Hey Babe" we go right into into a vicious/smokin' "In From the Storm"
In From the Storm:
- it starts off with a solo really burns and is quite a surprise
- the whammy dive/feedback section let's Jimi down a bit at the end (feedback does not come out)
- he's also a bit out of tune for the final verse / outro section but who cares
- consider the range and tasteful nature of the guitar played here (all live)
|Maui Sunset / Hey Baby / In From the Storm|
Jimi Hendrix - Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set
|Star Spangled Banner + Purple Haze + Woodstock Improv + Villanova Junction (Woodstock)
- this is part of a longer sections that starts with "Voodoo Child"
- that's a great performance too, but there are other great live versions around
- the purists would be mad that I left it off so you should really listen to the whole thing
- the Woodstock gig was special because Woodstock was special in the 60's
- Jimi ended the show with what I am about to play (ok there, there was an encore)
- regardless, it contains a lot of improvisation and one off performances
- in the first 15 seconds, there is the single note/feedback says "calling all stations"
- the guitar is always teetering on the edge of feedback
- it's amazing way that "everything worked" in this version
- for example, the "teasing out the whistly feedback with the wha + whammy bar" is not guaranteed
- while the guitar is feedbacks, you gradually depress the wha and manipulate the whammy
- it should start to whistle, but sometimes it just does dies and the feedback goes away
- Norm showed me how to do this way back when so I have experienced it failing
- ... and heard it fail for Jimi ... but not this time! Everything works
- it's a good version of the (hit) song
- the guitar is a bit out of tune from the abuse it just took
- we wouldn't edit it out for historical reasons, but the "Improv" is much more interesting
- it starts with a blistering cadenza right out of Purple Haze
- then into Spanish sounding figures, then patterns up and down the neck
- there is idea after idea, each delivered at break neck speed
- it never lets up or fails
- sometimes the distortion is rolled back using the volume knob, then gradually added back in
- the final figure runs out of frett space as it climbs the neck
- to really get the "Improv", you need repeated listenings
- this is a sublime instrumental that only appears in this form at Woodstock
- other versions are all played in a Bolero/marching style that loses the subtlty
- it was played exactly once this way (at Woodstock)
- it showcases incredible technique, sliding octaves, trills, hammer-ons
- there is the:
- "astonishing hammer on/pull off legatto phrase down the neck, ending on an open string ..."
- "made to warble with both an whammy dive and over the nut bend, applied at the same time"
- so this instrumental is played, and then, Woodstock is over
|Star Spangled Banner + Purple Haze + Woodstock Improv + Villanova Junction - Woodstock|
Jimi Hendrix - Woodstock
|Are You Experienced (The Jimi Hendrix Concerts - Winterland 10/10/68)
- incredible intro: sirens and ideas that would later appear at Woodstock in the Banner
- it's a great version of the song, hard to do live (the studio version has backwards guitar)
- the solo teeters on the brink of feedback, with an Indian/Arabic feel and lots of legato phrasing
- there are pull offs, hammer on's and you can hear Jimi is playing with one hand (not picking)
- guitar is slightly out of tune for the final verse but who cares!
|Are You Experienced|
Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Concerts
|Little Wing (The Jimi Hendrix Concerts - Winterland 10/12/68)
- it's a great version of a beautiful song
- the guitar sounds phased, likely the Univibe on a very slow setting
- but it was mainly chosen for the warbling/shimmering effect during the solo
- it's something never quite heard anywhere else (or in any other version of the song)
- it sounds as if Jimi is very quickly rocking the wha pedal (avoiding the classic wha-squak)
- it's not a Univibe (the usual source of warble)
Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Concerts
|Hear My Train (Berkely)
- Jimi is out of tune at the start (you can hear him slyly tuning the high E)
- there are more moments that transcend and lots of fiery guitar playing
- note also the tasteful/restrained wha section after the burning first solo
- there is no crowd noise at the beginning
- I remember begin blow away hearing the clapping at the end!
|Hear My Train A Comin'|
Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge
|Machine Gun (Band of Gypsies)
- is this the best live guitar playing ever?
- the guitar moans and wails a lament of war (including shrieks and groans)
- the solos and playing is flawless (no imperfection or teetering here)
- listen again for the astonishing intro figure (very different from Isle of Wight)
- listen for the single held note (it's a shell whistling overhead)
- towards the end, note the whistly, ghostly feedback swirling around, in and out
- then it goes very quiet into the mellow "coconuts whammy bar section"
- the guitar noise at the very end is reminiscent of the Star Spangled Banner "noise"
- enjoy, like I said ... this could be the greatest live playing ever
- other people are maybe faster in terms of "notes per second"
- but Jimi has it all (phrasing, feel, effects, playing the amp, invoking emotion ...)
Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsies