Monday, January 28, 2013

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions by John Mcdermott with Billy Cox and Eddie Kramer. Published by Backbeat Books-An Imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation. This is quite a handy little reference book (which by the way, incorporates some entries from an earlier 1995 book by the same authors entitled, 'Jimi Hendrix Sessions: The Complete Studio Recording Sessions, 1963-1970' Published by Little, Brown and Company {For additional information there is also 'Plug Your Ears' by Kees de Lange and Ben Valkhoff. To access, go to The Internet Archive type into The Wayback Machine and click Take Me Back, and the extremely rare, ''Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky: The Life Of Jimi Hendrix' by David Henderson. This is the softback 2nd printing (of 'Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child Of The Aquarian Age' - Hardcover - Doubleday 1978) Published by Bantam Books in 1981, which contains a selection of photographs by Jim Marshall, not found in any other edition or book anywhere.}). Nicely put together with a pretty good selection of photographs. Reminiscences by key people who knew Hendrix during his lifetime. (And in this instance, we get a rest from the subtle right wing leaning, superimposed onto Hendrix politics, by some assorted characters and opportunists looking for a buck, that populated certain earlier books. {It would be instructive here, to remember a quote from Eddie Kramer near the end of an interview he gave to Q Magazine in the June 1992 issue: "I socialized very little with him outside the recording studio. He had a small circle of very close friends, but there was a boundary beyond which one would not step."}) An interesting appearance found in 'Ultimate Hendrix', is by Decca Records Chief of A&R, Dick Rowe (who you might remember for the immortal words, "Not to mince words Mr. Epstein, we don't like your boys' sound. Groups of guitarists are on the way out. You have a good record business in Liverpool. Stick to that.") making another wrong call. Getting involved with Ed Chalpin and releasing the rip off records 'How Would You Feel' and 'Hush Now'. It's a real delight reading about the recording of the Axis Bold As Love album, during which Hendrix really came into his own in the recording studio. When he and Eddie Kramer met, they clicked right away. The story about Hendrix playing drums on one of his new songs, 'Try Out', at the end of 1967, is just amazing to read; as his talent continues to blossom. One really ends up wishing that a film camera could have been there to capture some of these events, as they are remarkable. What is also informative is that throughout August of 1968 (along with the alternating and very productive recording sessions for 'Electric Ladyland' at The Record Plant in New York), as the Experience toured across the U.S. and leading up to the Winterland/Fillmore West residency of concerts, how varied their set list was at each concert. From the song listings, it appears that Hendrix was very flexible in that the band was not performing the same exact songs at every concert date, but liberally going through practically their entire recorded output, up to that point. One is left with the impression that after the late 1968 Winterland residency of gigs, that Noel Redding (and probably Gerry Stickells) were outsiders just there to do their jobs and not get in the way. It will be interesting to see which 'Hendrix Experts' begin to squirm when the full story of Jimi Hendrix' and Bumps Blackwell's association is finally told. {I've also found it a little peculiar that none of the experts have ever to this day mentioned Sly Stone's very lengthy interview, which he gave to Strobe Magazine (which was a very good 1960s Pop Culture publication) here in New York, that was published in their Sept. 1969 issue; in which he mentioned Hendrix' Jam with Sly and The Family Stone on the Fillmore East stage in May of 1968, when The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Sly and The Family Stone were on the same bill. There was also a Record Review of Electric Ladyland published in the previous July 1969 issue of Strobe.} It has been mildly amusing since the bygone days of the Reagan era, to see the emergence of, or to put it more accurately, 'reappearance of' the element that existed in the '60s era, who attempted to view everything they saw occurring around them that made them uncomfortable, {such as the Political and Racial issues of the day, (and of course The Vietnam War) bleeding into the music} as extraneous. It was fascinating to watch how quickly one's viewpoint could change, once a Draft Notice to report to the nearest Induction Office was received in the mail.  A big fat booboo in this book is a dated photograph citing Hendrix as performing at Woolsey Hall at Yale University on Nov. 16th, 1968, when the entry for listed gigs indicates Boston Gardens on that date. Bizzarely, there is NO ENTRY for Woolsey Hall, Yale University at all. At this point in history, it's a little late in the game for anybody to continue to buy the consistently unconvincing stories by people who assisted and worked for Micheal Jeffery, as to where the bulk of Hendrix' fortune disappeared to, without raising some hard questions. Especially since Eric Burdon (who is very much alive) raised similar questions about the whereabouts of The Animal's money, in his two autobiographies. For one thing obviously, the PPX Ed Chalpin $1.00 Contract suit that hung over Hendrix head all that time, was a candidate for any Trial Judge worth his salt (with the assistance of the right kind of lawyers batting for Hendrix in his corner, and pointing their fingers in the right direction), to take Ed Chalpin by the scruff of his neck and the seat of his pants and show him the door out of the courtroom. I mean you really begin to question what kind of legal representation Hendrix was getting. Other than Electric Ladyland Studios being built, this cat was making an incredible amount of money for that time. Where was all of this money disappearing to? And the staged 'reformation of the original Experience' interview in Rolling Stone with John Burks in 1970, shortly after the questionable circumstances of the demise of The Band Of Gypsys, followed by what Hendrix' ultimate decision was (to tour with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell), points right back to Michael Jeffery's motives. And isn't it interesting that when Hendrix begins touring again in April of 1970, his first two concerts in Los Angeles and Sacramento have The Buddy Miles Express as one of the opening acts? Given that Sky Church/Gypsy Sons and Rainbows was an experiment, after the demise of the original Experience, what are we REALLY supposed to buy into about Mike Jeffery? For other questions in the Hendrix story, check this posting Nevertheless, this is a marvelous book. And Billy Cox finally gets his due for his immense contributions. A nod of appreciation to the folks at Experience Hendrix. Worth checking out.

No comments: