Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 22 Nov 07 11:34
I really like your line of thinking, Ed. Miles would have been great for Jimi and vice a versa. I also think that Jimi's finest flashes as a lyricist were a key part of what allowed him his real world (not conjectural) ascendence as arguably the finest example of a psychedelic rock star. His lyricism would not have carried over into these "co-conspiracies" with Miles.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 11:48
>>Eva Sundqvist, the mother of his son in Sweden, claimed it was about her. I've also read where Jimi had worked on his arrangement for "Angel"... didn't Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding or Billy Cox lay down their tracks for Angel after Jimi died? A couple of the women I interviewed who knew Jimi well said "Angel" was about them. I tend to believe it was more about his mother... "she stayed long enough to rescue me." Before his mother's death, Jimi had premonitions of her leaving this world (listen to the Meatball Fulton interview). The song, for me, seems to have her returning to encourage Jimi. There are two demo versions out there. The earliest (found on the 2000 box set) has Jimi playing along with a simple drum machine. He even overdubbed another guitar part, and the song has a bit of a country feel to it. The other demo, from 1968, is just Jimi, his guitar, and a mini amp, practicing it in a hotel room prior to the Electric Ladyland sessions. The "Cry of Love" version was almost finished. Some feel he may have added another guitar part. Mitchell came into the studio in 1971 to add a fuller drum part. I know they tried to tinker with it again in 1994 for "Voodoo Soup," but left it alone. >>Also, what other posthumous songs by Hendrix do you find most compelling? In "Black Gold" I tried to express my frustration with the two attempts to complete Jimi's 1970 double album, "First Ray of the New Rising Sun." The first attempt was by producer Alan Douglas. He set out with good intentions, but it when down hill from there. Alan's downfall was he couldn't leave things as they were, and felt he had to finish and interpret them as Jimi would have (listen to "Crash Landing" and "Midnight Lightning"). He even told me, that he wanted to burn all of Jimi's out takes, adding Jimi wasn't God and the public shouldn't have to hear these. So where Alan crossed the line with "Voodoo Soup" (other than the crappy title) was having Bruce Gary (r.i.p.) overdub on two tracks, "Stepping Stone" and Room Full of Mirrors." I interviewed Bruce about this and he said that Buddy's drum part was missing and the other didn't cut it. Funny, the originals have turned up in recent years. The second attempt, by Janie Hendrix, John McDermott, and Eddie Kramer, also failed. Here was the opportunity to get it right. They had access to Jimi's handwritten track listing for three sides of the release (it was even printed in a magazine), but none of Jimi's instructions were followed, and they included the track "My Friend," (from 1968) which had nothing to do with this project. In my opinion, I think Experience Hendrix should take guidance from the estates of Miles Davis and John Coltrane; release recordings warts and all, and complete concerts. Many of the "new" studio releases also have too much going on. Jimi recorded multiple solos, but Kramer likes to have them all of them up in the mix, and seems to pick the wrong ones, i.e "Ezy Ryder." I like "Tax Free" that was found on "War Heroes." Somebody was talking about Swedish influences the other day. Hansen and Karlson wrote this one. It has a nice jazz break in the middle. (Somebody played me an hour long club jam with them and Jimi ~ it was incredible.) There's a lot of other tracks that haven't been released. I think the problem is that the wouldn't sell in large enough numbers for the label to be satisfied. The Hendrix "family" does have their official Dagger label and manage to crank out one CD of fan quality material per year - mail/interent order only. From what I've seen lately, the focus has drifted away from the music and the back story, to more concentration on marketing Jimi's image on toys, sunglasses, air fresheners, vodka, and diaper covers... yes, diaper covers! Sadly, this may continue for another 10 years or so. What's missing is a new film documentary (no biopics please) that tries to explain who this genius was. There is one called "Room Full of Mirrors" that remains unreleased, and screened to small group of people. In it, Jimi tells his own story by way of interview clips and rare footage. There's even a producer I know that has been filming interviews for the past ten years or so. He'd like to put something out, but can't seem to reach an agreement.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 11:58
>>Randy Hanson He's still playing. Funny, back in 1995 I was involved with Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Festival in Seattle. We pulled all the original band members together along with who's who guitar players. I sat in on the two days of rehearsals, and of all the guys playing, Randy was the only that was most familiar with Jimi's music; he played it night after night on the road for so long.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 12:27
>>little has been said about his abilities as a lyricist Scott, you're right, and I do cover that in my class. The lyrics you quoted from "Bold as Love" are beautiful and clever. I just started reading Oliver Sacks new book "Musicophilia," and he talks about musicians having musical synnesthesias; seeing fixed color associated with playing music, scales, arpeggios, anything with a key signature. I think Jimi may have had this (I include some quotes in "Black Gold.). He also made some wonderful painting and watercolors. I think used these talents to formulate some his musical ideas/lyrics. Many of his lyrics also include metaphors. "Dolly Dagger," for example, talks about his girlfriend Devon: "Been riding broomsticks since she was fifteen" - Devon was a teenage prostitute. "She drinks her blood from a jagged edge" - had an affair with Mick Jagger. And spoken under the music - "Watch out Devon, better give me a little bit of that heaven." Jimi was a great composer/lyricist, and his handwriting was fluid too (he wrote right handed, played left handed).
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 22 Nov 07 12:32
(no biopics please) Yeah, there's something about those that's hard to take. Also, when details emerge, such as the villainizing of Michael Jeffrey, it's hard to know what to take as factual or as embellishment. Steve, will there be another version of the Hendrix Electric Guitar Festival at some point in the near future?
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 22 Nov 07 12:36
(he wrote right handed, played left handed). Do you think that Jimi was ambidexrous, or was him writing right-handed a product of his teachers (and the practice of that era) forcing him to use that hand? Do you know which hand Jimi threw with?
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 22 Nov 07 12:47
Speaking of Jimi's lyrics, he was very well acquainted with Bob Dylan before he left for London. Do you think Jimi's fascination was more with Dylan as a lyricist or as a composer? The marvelous and colorful imagery of "Mr. Tamborine Man", for example is also evident on so many of Jimi's own songs on those Experience LPs. Moreover, "Black Gold" notes that Jimi was doing a cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" for the members of the Beatles only two weeks after that LP came out in 1967. Not only must that have been trippy for Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr, it's another great example of how maleable Jimi was to his changing circumstances. In other words, the lyrics he was penning while newly in London, were very much a product of the style and tone that surrounded him. And as a deeper level those lyrics also borrowed from the breadth of his life experience, too.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 15:55
>>Steve, will there be another version of the Hendrix Electric Guitar Festival at some point in the near future? Experience Hendrix put on a five city tour of the east coast just recently. It featured several excellent guitar players. The one we did in 1995 was filmed, but they never could get everyone to agree on financial matters. You can see a few shots I took on my website: http://www.steveroby.com/Straight_Ahead.html about halfway down the page. I love the Mike McCready story. More story and photos here: http://www.steveroby.com/Gallery.html Sadly, Noel Redding is no longer with us so it wouldn't be quite the same.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 15:58
>>Do you think that Jimi was ambidexrous, or was him writing right-handed a product of his teachers (and the practice of that era) forcing him to use that hand? It probably had something to do with being from another planet. You know, space people are gifted that way. >>Do you know which hand Jimi threw with? I'll have to look back on some of those school photos.
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 16:05
>>Moreover, "Black Gold" notes that Jimi was doing a cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" for the members of the Beatles only two weeks after that LP came out in 1967. No, make that three days. The album came out on a Thursday (June 1), and he played it at the Saville on Sunday (June 4) for them. You can hear Jimi pay many tributes to the Beatles such as "Tomorrow Never Knows", "I Fee Fine", and "Day Tripper."
Steven Roby (jimijames) Thu 22 Nov 07 16:16
>>Speaking of Jimi's lyrics... "I think of tunes, I think of riffs. I can hum them. Then there's another melody that comes into my head, and then a bass melody, and then another one. On guitar I just can't get them out. I think I'm a better guitarist now than I was. I've learned a lot. But I've got to learn more about music, because there's a lot in this hair of mine that's got to get out... I want to be a good writer. I still can't figure out what direction my writing is going at the moment, but it'll find a way... I'm happy, it's gonna be good." Jimi Hendrix, Melody Maker, September 5, 1970
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 22 Nov 07 16:28
<< On September 4, 1995, a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert was held at the Memorial Stadium during Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival. The line-up included Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars with Parliament and Funkadelic, Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Vernon Reid, Little "Jimmy" King, Junior Brown, Clarence Clemons, Eric Burdon, Jerry Cantrell, Chris Duarte, Eric Gales, Randy Hansen, Little Jimmy King, John McLaughlin, Mike McCready, Vernon Reid, Juma Sultan, Neal Schon, The Spirit of Hendrix (Narada Michael Walden's house band), Ann Wilson>> What a wonderful lineup you put together, Steve!! Living Color is great but how did you manage to get Vernon Reid to clone himself and appear twice? You've got the Grunge stars, funkadelia stars, jazzier McLaughlin. Any chance that recording will ever get released in the future? slippage: Also, great perspective from Jimi himself on his own creative process. "it'll find a way...I'm happy, it's gonna be good" are not the words of someone who would take his own life two weeks later.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 23 Nov 07 09:27
Another of my favorite Hendrix songs (decades before it became background for a Cadillac commercial) is "Voodoo Child (slight return)". When we compare a delicately worded and expressed, and more introverted song such as "Little Wing" with the hard-driving, blues-rock feel of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return), it seems to show that Jimi was equally comfortable exloring his musicality through the more extroverted environment of the jam, as he was through more private explorations. Steve, what do you know of the origins of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"? Doesn't the studio version on Electric Ladyland feature the likes of Al Cooper? What do you think Jimi made of this monicker for himself? I know you dislike the posthumous LP title of "Voodoo Soup," but did Jimi like being refered to as a voodoo child? Or, was he talking about himself with this title?
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 23 Nov 07 12:09
Our Inkwell.Vue guest, Steve Roby, is clearly one of the foremost authorities on Jimi Hendrix. Here's your chance: Off-WELL readers with comments or questions may have them added to this conversation by sending them to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steven Roby (jimijames) Fri 23 Nov 07 13:00
>>Steve, what do you know of the origins of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"? Jimi's girlfriend Fayne, recalled, "[Jimi] was so tormented and just so torn apart, like he was obsessed with something really evil. He'd say, 'Well, you're from Georgia,' so he'd say I should know how people drive demons out, because I used to talk about my grandma and all her weird stuff. He'd talk about us goin' down there and havin' some root lady drive this demon out of him! He used to always talk about some devil or somethin' was in him, and he didn't have any control over it." In an interview, Jimi spoke about voodoo: ""You think that sort of thing is rubbish 'till it happens to you, then it's scary. There's different things they can do, they can put something in your food, or put some little hair in your shoe. I saw it. If I see it happen or if I feel it happen then I believe it, not necessarily if I just hear it being talked about. Around in the southern United States they have scenes like that goin' on." In another interview, Jimi spoke about a girl that tried to "work roots" on him. This may have happened on the Chitlin' Circuit or earlier. When Jimi was 13, in 1956, he may have made a trip with his mother to the deep south where some "transformation" may have occurred. Eddie Kirkland, who played guitar with John Lee Hooker said: "I didn't see Jimi in the sixties, I met him when he was thirteen years old, nothin' but a kid, a youngster, you understand? See, he had kin people in Macon, Georgia, some people there up on Fort Hill. He came down there in the summer, down to a place called Sawyer's Lake. On Sunday kids could come in. At the time that I met Jimi, he was trying to learn how to play the bass. We had bought one of those Sears Roebuck guitars,and he started playing that. Then I had to go away, I left there, but there was another guitarist there named Johnny Jenkins." >>Doesn't the studio version on Electric Ladyland feature the likes of Al Cooper? Nope. You're thinking of "Voodoo Chile" and that features Steve Winwood on organ. Al Kooper played piano on "Long Hot Summer Night." Jimi told Al(ice) Cooper: 'Here Alice, smoke this. You'll like it!' Alice said that was the worst advice he ever received. I think that covers all the Coopers and Koopers. >>What do you think Jimi made of this monicker for himself? This pretty much explains it: "Well, the night I was born, the moon turned a fire red/my poor mother cried out the Gypsy was right, and I seen her fell down right dead/Well mountain lions found me there and set me on an eagle's wing/he took me past the outskirts of infinity/and when he brought me back he gave me Venus witch's ring/and he said fly on, fly on, 'cause I'm a Voodoo Chile..." >>I know you dislike the posthumous LP title of "Voodoo Soup," but did Jimi like being refered to as a voodoo child? Or, was he talking about himself with this title? No one ever referred to Jimi as a Voodoo Child, but I do think the fact that Robert Johnson recorded "Crossroad Blues" on Nov. 27, 1936, and SIX years later Jimi was born is a little creepy. If you're into numerology, there's a lot of sixes and nines in there... 2+7 = 9 3+6+ 9 and it goes on... kinda creepy!!!
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 23 Nov 07 13:17
Steve, which of Jimi's many jam sessions do you most wish had been recorded, but wasn't? (And who were the players?) And, which of his many jam sessions (that are available) do you recommend for both the recording quality and musical vitality?
Steven Roby (jimijames) Fri 23 Nov 07 16:49
>>which of Jimi's many jam sessions do you most wish had been recorded, but wasn't? There are sections in "Black Gold" I call "Great Jams, No Tapes." Three come to mind... The Steve Cropper jam. It was recorded, but nobody can locate the tape. The Miles Davis Apartment Jam. This one is debatable. Michael Carabello (formerly of Santana) swears this was recorded and is out there. Read Davis' autobiography, and imagine if a cassette had been running. Wow! The other would be the jam he did with Rashan Roland Kirk. Jimi talks about this, and it sounded like he was a little nervous. One guy thought he had the tape, but it turned out to be something else. I'd even like to see photos of the jam. >> which of his many jam sessions (that are available) do you recommend for both the recording quality and musical vitality. I know McLaughlin takes exception with the jam he did with Jimi (John was having some faulty cord problems), but it's a pretty decent jam and quality is perfect. It's in the collector's network and not hard to find. There's one track that has recently surfaced with R&B sax man Lonnie Youngblood. It's called "Mother, Mother." Nice blues. Lonnie told me he and Jimi spent about a weekend in the studio at let the tape run. During the TTG sessions, October 1968, Jimi let everyone in studio. There's a nice jam with Buddy Miles, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, and Lee Michael's doing "Red House." One of my favorites is "Old Times, Good Times" with Jimi joining Stephen Stills. Jimi's playing some of those fat Wes Montgomery chords while Stephen is wailing on the B3. Now, where are the rest of those sessions?
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 23 Nov 07 20:20
<<"He'd talk about us goin' down there [to Georgia] and havin' some root lady drive this demon out of him! He used to always talk about some devil or somethin' was in him, and he didn't have any control over it.">> I'm not convinced that Jimi ever took a trip from Seattle to Georgia when he was thirteen. Why wasn't there more mention of this from Jimi's family or Jimi? That would have been a VERY long 4500 mile trip each way in the mid-50s, a pretty memorable event for a poor kid from Seattle to never talk about. It is fascinating, however, that Jimi, himself, expressed a belief that he was possessed. It certainly helps, in part, explain how obsessed he was to make it big as a musician, it helps us understand many of his lyrical allusions, and it might have contributed to his feeling that his life on the planet would be short. Steve, with so many second and third hand accounts of this fast-moving, always-changing short career (and the tendency of Jimi to jive with his interviewers, and his PR handlers to sensationalize), how do you go about verifying (or debunking) the great body of data you've collected over the years on Jimi?
Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Sat 24 Nov 07 06:26
http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/JanFeb01/archive-hendrix.html Above is a link to a well heeded Al Kooper warning about one re-compiled Jimi Hendrix Experience/4-CD set. The one or 2 bootlegs I've heard of Hendrix disappointing, yet can understand the academic interest in listening to what is there. Once I did hear a set of live out-takes on the Ryko label, that sounded good. Hats off to you people who can sift through all of this, putting on those 2 BOG versions of Machine Gun on a 2 hour loop though does the job for me. One Hendrix CD, I'd like to see is, is a compilation of those witty stage remarks Hendrix made to qualm hecklers.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 24 Nov 07 08:32
<<a compilation of those witty stage remarks Hendrix made to qualm hecklers.>> :=) Yeah, I want to hear how he set those 11 and 12-year old Monkees fans in their place: "scuse me while I k..."
Steven Roby (jimijames) Sun 25 Nov 07 10:00
>>I'm not convinced that Jimi ever took a trip from Seattle to Georgia when he was thirteen. Why wasn't there more mention of this from Jimi's family or Jimi? There is no concrete evidence, but Jimi once said: "My brother and I used to go to different homes, because dad and mother used to break up all the time. I ran away a couple of times because I was so miserable. When my dad found out I'd gone he went pretty mad with worry. He hit me on the face and I ran away." When Jimi's parents were divorced in 1951, the boys (Jimmy and Leon) stayed with Al. It may have been possible that Jimi ran away with Lucille for a private road trip to the South when Leon was in a foster home, maybe with a man Al didn't like. These lyrics from "Gypsy Eyes" seem to give a clue: I walk on up to your rebel roadside/the one that rambles on for a million miles/I walk down this road searchin' for your love and my soul too/when I find you I ain't gonna let go. I remember the first time I saw you/the tears in your eyes looked like they were trying to say/oh little boy you know I could love you/but first I must make my getaway/two strange men fightin' to the death over me today/I'll try to meet ya by the old highway. >>Steve, with so many second and third hand accounts, how do you go about verifying (or debunking) the great body of data you've collected over the years on Jimi? I ask the same question to as many people that were involved with the event. In "Black Gold" I shared all those opinions, and often let the reader draw their own conclusion; weigh the evidence. Take for example the single "My Diary" by Rosa Lee Brooks that Jimi plays guitar on. Rosa Lee's version is that Jimi came up with the melody and that she wrote the lyrics - "it was their baby." Yet when I interviewed Arthur Lee about the record, he stated that his name is credited on the label, AND what has Rosa Lee Brooks done since? Furthermore, said Lee, the line "even our birthday is on the same ol' day," refers to a girlfriend Arthur had whose birthday was on the 7th. He later wrote about her with the title "7 & & Is." I agree with Arthur, but I still let Rosa Lee have a voice.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sun 25 Nov 07 10:14
Steve, you're obviously very knowledgable about the collector's market for Jimi Hendrix related items. Are there any organizations or clubs that help with verification of items? Or is this process fairly haphazard? For example, if I had the mono version of Axis:Bold As Love LP still in the cellophane, how would I go about figuring out what it's worth? You talked about Jimi's Strat bringing in a record sale from the Auctioneering house. What are some other items of Jimi's that have brought in surprising amounts. I know some guy bought the house Jimi grew up in in the Central District in Seattle and moved it to some other city. Any other odd Hendrix collectables?
John Ross (johnross) Sun 25 Nov 07 12:02
And related to those questions, how much of that market is driven by Paul Allan's bottomless pockets?
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Mon 26 Nov 07 16:49
Steve, in addition to the above question about the Hendrix collectors scene, can you tell us the details about tomorrow's 65th birthday celebration for Jimi Hendrix? Where will it be? Who will be there? etc.?
Steven Roby (jimijames) Mon 26 Nov 07 16:55
>>For example, if I had the mono version of Axis:Bold As Love LP still in the cellophane, how would I go about figuring out what it's worth? The original has come down in value since Experience Hendrix released a mono version a few years ago. At one time it was up in $300 + range. It's got a total different mix to. The japanese version is different too. Shameless plug time for my event at Book Passage on 11/27/07 The Jimi Hendrix 65th Birthday Bash ilestone, Hendrix biographer Steven Roby will be hosting a free Hendrix birthday bash/tribute at Book Passage (Corte Madera) on Tuesday, November 27. The event will feature: * Introduction by Grammy winner Narada Michael Walden * A guitar give-away for the winner of the Air Guitar Contest * Live entertainment by guitarist Ralph Woodson * Trivia Contest with prizes * A video presentation of rare Jimi Hendrix clips * Free cake and beverages * Book signing by Steven Roby Admission is free and it all happens on Tuesday November 27, 2007 at 7 p.m. Book Passage is located at 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. in Corte Madera. Their phone number is 415-927-0960. You can watch the event the week after on: http://fora.tv/ To preview the event, on 11/27, guitarist Ralph Woodson and I will be on KFOG-FM, starting at 7:30 am. you can listen on the net at: http://www.kfog.com/listen/default.asp Or on KSAN-FM at noon. More info at: http://steveroby.com/
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