The record, which is Hendrix’s first without his original group, was released on March 25, 1970, and was recorded at the Fillmore East in New York City with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.
“This is more than the commemoration of an anniversary,” Janie Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix, said in a statement before adding: “that, of course, is something momentous, but it is also the celebration of a cathartic event in Jimi’s life… a sort of changing of the guards.”
“He demonstrated that there was no limit to his musical landscape,” she added. “It was broad and beautiful, and like the leader of a true band of gypsies, Jimi could go anywhere on the spectrum of genres and be at home there musically. This is our way of celebrating that part of Jimi’s journey.”
The Fillmore East package incorporates eight performances that have never before been issued in any form; three that had been available only as part of a concert film; 12 that are back in print on CD and LP for the first time in a decade; and another four that represent longer, unedited versions of previously released material.
The sets include a few nods to earlier material, including one performance each of “Fire,” “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” and “Wild Thing,” and two explorations of “Foxey Lady.” The guitarist also celebrates the arrival of 1970 with a version of “Auld Lang Syne” in his inimitable style.
For the most part, though, these performances focus on new Hendrix material, including “Machine Gun,” “Message of Love,” “Power of Soul,” and “Stone Free,” as well as two tracks by Buddy Miles that feature him on lead vocal: “Changes” and “We Gotta Live Together.”
The Band of Gypsys work their way up to a comfortable groove on a previously unreleased recording of “Ezy Ryder,” recorded at the Fillmore East half a century ago, which will feature on a new box set. From the start, drummer Buddy Miles sets the tempo, while Jimi Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox establish the riff, all leading up to an explosion of Hendrix singing, “Ezy, Ezy Ryder, riding down the highways of desire.” The band had already played the song once already that day in an earlier set, and you can hear a new confidence in this version as they work together to give the tune a steady foundation for Hendrix to play a guitar solo that nearly levitates over the rhythm section.
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, which documents the legendary guitarist’s July 4th, 1970 performance at the Atlanta International Pop Festival, will be screened in select movie theaters around the world starting January 31st. according to rolling stone
The film premiered on Showtime in 2015, and was accompanied by a live album, Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival, which contained Hendrix’s 16-song set. John McDermott directed Electric Church, which features color 16mm footage shot by Steve Rash, who later directed The Buddy Holly Storyand Can’t Buy Me Love.
Jimi did things with those six stings like no other guitarist. Never mind the gimmicks, playing with his teeth, behind his head, setting fire to the damn thing. Jimi was the guitarist’s guitarist.
Did he have a vision, did he have a plan? Probably not. It was one of those ‘right time, right place’ moments that brought Jimi over to England after Keith Richards‘ girlfriend Linda Keith had told Chas Chandler from the Animals to go and check this new guitarist when he was in New York. Funny how these twists of fate happen. Did you know it was Beatle George Harrison who recommended the Rolling Stones to Decca’s A&R man Derek Rowe. And it was Rowe who had turned down The Beatles!
On the 1967 Hendrix UK package tour with Pink Floyd, The Move, and Amen Corner, the other acts didn’t stand a chance, most reviews only mention Jimi and his band. He had the curtains closed on him one night after the management at the venue regarded his movements with his guitar as having sexual overtones. On another night, Hendrix was having equipment problems and in his frustration rammed his Gibson Flying V into his speaker cabinets. Like an enormous arrow, the guitar became stuck in the amplifier, which the audience greeted as part of the act.
I wonder what Noel and Mitch thought of Jimi the first time they met. Here was this softly spoken American geezer who could make his guitar do things that were totally alien to any other player.
The three gelled and went on to record three landmark albums: Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland. Again it’s hard to appreciate the groundbreaking qualities of these records. All music genres normally have a bunch of artists with a similar feel. But no one sounded like this guy; just listen to works like ‘Foxy Lady’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Manic Depression’, ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Little Wing’, ‘Voodoo Chile’ and their blinding version of Dylan?s ‘All Along The Watchtower’.
It is funny how things turn out. Hendrix was particularly fond of Elvis Presley. The 15-year-old went to see the King of Rock and Roll perform when he played a show in Jimi’s hometown of Seattle in 1957. Leap forward to London in the late ’60s and a young Freddie Mercury was particularly fond of Jimi Hendrix (he saw him play live over a dozen times).
On June 4, 1967, the Experience played their last show in England, at London’s Saville Theatre, before heading off to America. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album had just been released and two Beatles (McCartney and Harrison) were in attendance, along with a roll call of other UK rock stardom, including: Brian Epstein, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Jack Bruce, and Lulu. Hendrix and the Experience opened the show with his own rendering of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, rehearsed only minutes before taking the stage, much to McCartney’s astonishment and delight.