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Ungano’s New York, N.Y. Joined by Elvin Bishop, Buddy Miles and others, Hendrix took part in a jam session at Ungano’s nightclub (210 West 70th Street, New York City). Sacha Reins, a writer for French entertainment magazine Best (Issue 39) who just happened to be in the club during the event, later wrote about the evening. “It is beginning to get quite late, and I tell myself that I have to go. I look to the door and get a big shock. Jimi is there with a black guitar in his hand. Buddy Miles follows him. He shakes the hand of the boss, and I hear him asking if he doesn’t mind them playing a bit. The three telephone booths near the entrance are immediately occupied. We all want to tell a friend that nice things are about to happen. Less than an hour later the club is full. Jimi is onstage and Buddy is looking for a drum stool big enough to support his enormous weight. “A very young guitar player who has been playing for half an hour wants to leave. He doesn’t want to play anymore. Jimi stops him and asks him if they can play together. They try out a rather quick number and Jimi intentionally stays in the background. He waits until the young guitarist regains his confidence. Then he takes his turn. He plays short phrases with long silence intermissions during which one only hears the strong and regular pulsations of Buddy Miles. The silences become shorter and shorter. The phrases are less and less chopped up; they become enchained, stupefying. Jimi had found his groove and under his fingers the strings tell us strange stories that we don’t fully comprehend.”
Fillmore East, New York Two Shows Dawn had arisen over Manhattan by the time the group finally left the venue in the early morning hours of January 1. Incredibly, they returned later on this evening to perform two additional concerts. With the hoopla of the New Year’s Eve festivities behind him, Hendrix centered his attention on realizing a live album from the remaining two performances. Desperate to absolve himself of the bitter legalities, which had hounded him since his return to the United States in June 1967, Hendrix rallied and gave two of the finest performances of his storied career. As the Fillmore audience roared with approval, the Band Of Gypsys left the stage confident that they had validated Jimi’s new music before his loyal followers. “We felt the concerts went well,” remembers Billy Cox. “We felt good doing them and Jimi did all of his powerful techniques he could think of. Then one show he just stayed there and got into it so heavy it was incredible. There were people in the audience with their mouths open.” “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. Secure in his standing, Hendrix was comfortable with the Fillmore crowd. During the fourth and final Fillmore concert, the guitarist made light of the group’s limited repertoire immediately prior to the start of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. On another occasion earlier that evening, he even offered his congratulations to the victorious USC Trojans, winners of the Rose Bowl that afternoon. “Jimi enjoyed doing those shows,” explains Billy Cox. “He was enjoying himself because he had complete freedom and freedom is a joyous thing when you’ve got it. We didn’t have any worries about what we could or couldn’t do. These were our first shows. We were pretty rebellious at that age. I guess that’s why we played the music so loud. He didn’t have any restrictions and that is a lot of freedom. You can hear that on every song we played. After the shows were finished, Jimi was quite relieved. He had fulfilled his obligation and was getting this whole [situation] off his back.”
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
Alfred Aronowitz of The New York Post had interviewed Hendrix at the Fillmore East the previous day and his article was published in the January 2, 1970 edition. “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 a hold 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.’
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Stepping Stone Cherokee Mist Hendrix returned to the Record Plant (321 West 44th Street, New York City) for a session that resulted in three takes of “I’m A Man,” (“Stepping Stone”) and one take of “Cherokee Mist” being put to tape. Take three of “I’m A Man” resulted in the basic track that would be revisited again during a session on January 20.
Hendrix returned to the Record Plant (321 West 44th Street, New York City) for a studio session that resulted in three takes of “I’m A Man,” (AKA “Stepping Stone”) and one take of “Cherokee Mist” being put to tape. Take three of “I’m A Man” resulted in the basic track that would be revisited again during the session on January 20.
The February 7 edition of Rolling Stone took a candid look at the year that was… 1969. And in top marks to Jimi Hendrix, RS said, “Jimi Hendrix had a big year, a pretty neat trick for a musician who made no music. He was busted for dope and got off, his Experience broke up with Hendrix starting a “serious” new experimental group, he quite gigging except for a few festivals, and there were no new records. To Jimi Hendrix, the No News Is Big News Award.”
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording Jimi and engineer Eddie Kramer begin sifting through the multi-track recordings made of the Band Of Gypsys live performances at the Fillmore East.
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording Mixing sessions for what would become Band Of Gypsys continue at Juggy Sound, the midtown Manhattan recording facility owned by Sue Records chief Juggy Murray.
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Send My Love To Linda Power Of Soul Burning Desire Jimi began the evening with Eddie Kramer at Juggy Sound. The two continued in their effort to craft a live album from the four Fillmore East performances. In the early morning hours following the mixing session, Hendrix traveled to the Record Plant to join forces with Cox and Miles for a series of promising demo recordings. Jimi efforts yielded a rough sketch of “Send My Love To Linda” which progressed into a lively, extended jam. Additionally, twelve takes of “Paper Airplanes” (which would evolve as “Power Of Soul”) and five takes of “Burning Desire” were also put to tape.
In a session at the Record Plant, overseen by engineer Bob Hughes and second engineer Dave Ragno, Hendrix crafted a rough sketch of “Send My Love To Linda” which featured Miles on drums and Cox on bass. As the track progressed it extended into a lively extended jam. Additionally, twelve takes of “Paper Airplanes” (AKA “Power Of Soul”) and five takes of “Burning Desire” were also put to tape.
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording Once more, Jimi began the evening with Eddie Kramer mixing potential candidates for the Band Of Gypsys live album at Juggy Sound. Neither Cox nor Miles played any role in the mixing or track decisions for the album. As Hendrix was the producer, such decisions were reserved entirely for him. Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Burning Desire Backwards Experiment At the Record Plant with Cox and Miles, Hendrix devoted time on this evening to experimenting with different backward guitar effects. This session also saw additional work on “Burning Desire” but with little noticeable progress toward the completion of a basic track.
Returning to the Record Plant Hendrix begins experimenting with different backward guitar effects. This session also saw additional work on “Burning Desire” but with little noticeable advancement on finalizing a basic track.
Revisiting the December 19 recording of “Message To Love,” during an evening session back at the Record Plant, the group completed the final overdubs for this track while Hendrix added a new lead guitar part to the master. The group also revisited “Earth Blues” (Take 11) from the same December 19 session – adding a series of overdubs and a new lead guitar track.
In revisiting take three of “I’m A Man” (January 7), Hendrix retitled the track “Sky Blues Today” while adding new guitar overdubs to the recording. Hendrix also revisited the December 18 recording of “Ezy Ryder.” Rough mixes for each of the session’s recordings were also completed, which would later be revisited at Electric Lady Studios later that summer.
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Message To Love Stepping Stone Earth Blues Ezy Ryder A vibrant session which featured Hendrix revisiting the December 19, Record Plant recording of “Message To Love.” The group completed a series of overdubs for this track including the recording of a new lead guitar part by Hendrix. The group also revisited “Earth Blues” (Take 11) from the same December 19 session, completing a series of overdubs and a new lead guitar track. In revisiting take three of “I’m A Man” (January 7), Hendrix renamed the track “Sky Blues Today” while adding new guitar overdubs to the recording. Hendrix also revisited the December 18 recording of “Ezy Ryder.” Rough mixes for each of the session’s recordings were also completed. Hendrix would return to both songs at Electric Lady Studios later that summer.
Juggy Sound, New York Studio Recording As had been the case since mixing sessions began on January 14, Hendrix and Kramer huddled at Juggy Sound to continue their work on Band Of Gypsys. Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Message To Love Stepping Stone Earth Blues Ezy Ryder Following his work at Juggy, Hendrix joined Cox, and Miles at the Record Plant for an extended session that began with fourteen takes of “Power Of Soul” (still referred under the working title of “Crash Landing”) put to tape, and although takes 2, 4, and 6 were complete, no master track was flagged. Recorded three weeks after the group’s legendary Fillmore East concerts, the Band Of Gypsys meticulously crafted this prototypical illustration of sophisticated funk. Hendrix would revisit the track on February 3, 1970, overdubbing guitar parts and creating a rough mix. At that stage, work on “Power Of Soul” drew to a close. Hendrix instead chose to feature a live version of the song as part of Band Of Gypsys, issued in March 1970. The January/February 1970 studio recording of “Power Of Soul” was shelved until the marathon mixing sessions Hendrix staged at Electric Lady Studios in August 1970. As Jimi reviewed the many contenders for his projected double album First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, “Power Of Soul” was treated to a new rough mix, resulting in the unique delay effect heard during the song’s opening. Because “Power Of Soul” had been featured on Band Of Gypsys, Jimi had not reserved a position for the song on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Although considered for The Cry Of Love, the first posthumous album of Jimi’s unissued studio material, “Power Of Soul” remained unavailable until a truncated version was overhauled and included as part of the controversial 1975 compilation Crash Landing. The original master was edited and remixed to accommodate overdubs recorded in 1974 by session percussionist Jimmy Maeulen. Lasting only 3:15 and retitled “With The Power”, the elaborate introduction and its two soaring lead guitar solos were scrapped. The version featured on the 1997 compilation South Saturn Delta discards the posthumous additions, restoring the full-length version with all of its regal glory intact. Jimi then presented the evening’s most pleasant surprise, seven takes of “Astro Man”. “This is gonna be fun!” laughed Jimi before launching into a enthusiastic rendition of “Astro Man”, his comic cartoon fable. The song’s inspiration was simple, drawing its roots from Jimi’s love for animated cartoons. “That’s what ‘Astro Man’ was all about,” laughs Cox. “We used to love watching cartoons at his apartment. He enjoyed Mighty Mouse and especially loved Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Take seven would later be featured as part of The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set. Jimi closed the evening with a single, unsuccessful attempt at realizing a basic track for the promising “Valleys Of Neptune.” In other news outside the recording studio, the January 21 issue of Variety magazine announced the upcoming Isle Of Wight Festival of Music, a five-day musical extravaganza slated for August on the small island located off the south coast of England. Of the event, Variety explains, “The first two days will be a film fest. It is hoped to premier a couple of films of the Easy Rider genre [Murray Lerner’s acclaimed Festival!, a documentary about the Newport Folk Festival, was one of the films scheduled]. The remainder will be a conventional progressive pop bash with about 30 acts taking part. Policy is to not book more than two big names as crowd pullers as they tend to overshadow other acts. No bookings have yet been made.”
Another marathon session at the Record Plant took place on this night with fourteen takes of “Power Of Soul” (still referred under the working title of “Crash Landing”) put to tape, and although takes 2, 4, and 6 were complete, no master track was flagged. Hendrix the introduced six takes of “Astro Man” before closing the session with one uneventful take of “Valleys Of Neptune.”
In 1974, Alan Douglas pulled the fourth (and complete) take of “Power Of Soul” and included it on the dismal collection Crash Landing (Reprise Records, MS 2204) albeit remixed and overdubbed with percussion by Jimmy Maeulen and subsequently retitled as “With The Power.”
The January 21 issue of Variety magazine announces the upcoming Isle Of Wight Festival of Music – a five-day musical extravaganza slated for August 30 on the small island off the south coast of England. Of the event, Variety explains, “the first two days will be a film fest. It is hoped to premier a couple of films of the Easy Rider genre. The remainder will be a conventional progressive pop bash with about 30 acts taking part. Policy is to not book more than two big names as crowd pullers as they tend to overshadow other acts. No bookings have yet been made.”
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording Sky Blues Today [Stepping Stone] Izabella Hendrix prepared new mixes of “Sky Blues Today” and “Izabella”.
Back at the Record Plant, rough mixes of “Sky Blues Today” and “Izabella” were prepared but later scrapped in favor of new ones.
Record Plant, New York Studio Recording A wild evening of inspired jamming by Jimi. One of the evening’s many highlights was a remarkable “Villanova Junction Blues” that lasted over fifteen minutes. Several other extended jams were recorded on this evening including “MLK,” “Slow Time Blues,” “Country Blues,” and “Burning Desire.” In addition to Cox and Miles, an unidentified harmonica player would also join Hendrix. Jimi and company launched into a lengthy workout of Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.” An edited version of this recording was later included as part of the 1973 international compilation Loose Ends. Hendrix also made efforts at “Freedom,” “Midnight Lightning,” and “Highways Of Desire”. This work gradually segued into “Seven Dollars In My Pocket,” an impromptu blues. Following the blues groove already set in place, Hendrix then began “Country Blues”. This extraordinary recording was not a numbered take, but rather another inspired jam session. Hendrix, Cox, and Miles relished such interplay and “Country Blues” is a joyous example of their shared musical vocabulary. This recording would become one of the highlights of The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set issued in September 2000. One other song from this session, an edited version of the blues workout “Once I Had A Woman,” has also been released, last included as part of the 1994 collection Jimi Hendrix :Blues (Experience Hendrix/MCA, MCAD-11060).
With Bob Hughes and Dave Ragno monitoring the control desk, Hendrix guided the band through lively renditions of “Villanova Junction Blues” including one take lasting in excess of fifteen minutes. Several extended jams were recorded on this evening including “MLK,” “Slow Time Blues,” and “Burning Desire.”
Later joined by an unidentified harp player, Hendrix leads the session through another extended track, this time Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.” Joined by Billy Cox, Hendrix also dabbled around “Freedom” and “Highways Of Desire” the later which gradually segued into “Seven Dollars In My Pocket.”
Following the blues groove already set in place, Hendrix then began to tackle “Midnight Lightning,” “Freedom,” “Country Blues,” and “Once I Had A Woman.” In 1974, an edited take of “Once I Had A Woman” featuring overdubbed harmonica parts by Buddy Lucas was prepped for 1975’s compilation Midnight Lightning (Reprise Records, MS 2229). An extended rendition was also later included on 1994’s Jimi Hendrix :Blues (Experience Hendrix/MCA, MCAD-11060).
1970 billy cox Blue Suede Shoes Bob Hughes Burning Desire Carl Perkins Country Blues Dave Ragno Freedom Highways Of Desire January 23 MLK Once I Had A Woman Recording Slow Time Blues Villanova Junction Blues
Madison Square Garden, N.Y. As spirited as the Fillmore concerts may have been, the resurrection of the Jimi Hendrix Experience became the immediate priority of Jimi’s management. This became increasingly so in the aftermath of a failed January 28, 1970 Band Of Gypsys gig at Madison Square Garden. The Winter Carnival For Peace was an event organized by promoter Sid Bernstein. The concert was a nonprofit benefit to raise money for the Moratorium Fund, an antiwar effort. Joining Hendrix and the Band Of Gypsys on the bill were such diverse acts as the Rascals, Harry Belefonte, and the cast of Hair. Jimi’s performance began shortly after 3 a.m. He lurched miserably through two songs “Who Knows” and “Earth Blues” before he sat down on the stage and refused to continue. Buddy Miles tried to mollify the confused audience, pleading for their patience but Hendrix refused to continue. Miles petitioned the crowd to allow Hendrix time to regroup but Jimi unplugged his guitar and disappeared backstage. The group’s aborted performance left a bitter taste for Hendrix, Cox, and Miles and the three parted company immediately afterwards. Jimi described the scene a few days after concert to Rolling Stone’s John Burks. “It’s like the end of the beginning or something,” explained Hendrix. “I figure that Madison Square Garden is like the end of a big long fairy tale. Which is great. I think it’s like the best ending I could possibly have come up with. The Band Of Gypsys were out of sight as far as I’m concerned. It was just…going through head changes is what it was. I couldn’t really tell. I was very tired. You know, sometimes there’s a lot of things that add up in your head about this or that and they might hit you at a very peculiar time, which happened to be at a peace rally. Here I’d been fighting the biggest war I ever fought. In my life. Inside, you know? And like that wasn’t the place to do it.”
Billed as the “Winter Festival For Peace,” Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary) and Sid Bernstein, event producers, announced that their services would be donated and that all proceeds of the event will go to the Vietnam Moratorium effort. The five-hour festival slated from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. will feature Harry Belafonte; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Dave Brubeck; Richie Havens; Mother Earth; Peter, Paul & Mary; The Rascals; The Cast of Hair; Judy Collins, and Jimi Hendrix & his Band Of Gypsys.
Suffering from exhaustion and the effects of a drink laced with an unknown substance taken before the show, Hendrix failed to execute his musical plans this evening. Having completed just two songs, “Who Knows” and “Earth Blues” the only thing Hendrix could do at that point was drop his guitar and sit down on the stage, meanwhile Miles and Cox continue to roll through the back beats. As Alfred Aronowitz later recalled in his New York Post column, “The crowd has already gotten twice its money’s worth when Jimi Hendrix stopped playing in the middle of his second number, said ‘That’s what happens when Earth ***** with Space, never forget that, that’s what happens.'” … “Jimi got up, put his guitar down and walked offstage.”
“When he came off stage,” explained Alan Douglas “he actually fell off the apron. At first I thought he was hurt, but he wasn’t. I then ran backstage to the dressing room to see if in fact he was okay. There he was sitting playing the guitar and smiling. I don’t know what went through his mind when he was on stage, but the first thing I noticed, it looked like he was having a big rhythm problem. I think he just got fed up.”
Backstage, Jimi meets Johnny Winter. In recounting the meeting Winter explains, “I saw Jimi backstage at the Madison Square Garden concert, the one where he just couldn’t play. When I saw him, it have me chills. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen. He came in with this entourage of people, and it was like he was already dead. He just walked in – and even though Jimi and I weren’t the greatest of friends, we always talked, always – and he came in with his head down, sat on the couch alone, and put his head in his hands. He didn’t say a word to anybody, and no one spoke to him. He didn’t move until it was time for the show. He really wanted to do that gig, but he never should have. It wasn’t that it was bad, but his whole thing was inspiration, and there wasn’t any. It was just completely uninspired; finally, right in the middle of a song, he just took his guitar off, sat on the stage – the band was still playing – and told the audience, “I’m sorry, we just can’t get it together.” One of his people said he was sick, and lead him off stage. He was just so unhappy that there was no way that he could play the show. It didn’t have anything to do with the group – he had already died!”
1970 Band of Gypsys Blood Dave Brubeck eter Events Harry Belafonte January 28 Jimi Hendrix Johnny Winte Judy Collins Madison Square Garden Mother Earth. Paul & Mary Peter Yarrow Richie Havens Sid Bernstein Sweat & Tears The Cast of Hair The Rascals Vietnam Moratorium Winter Festival For Peace