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Jimi Hendrix - Live at Winterland CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix



4.05 | 26 ratings

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4 stars ehh.. time to toss my hat in the Hendrix reviewing ring.

'Jimi Hendrix represented freedom of expression - all the colors for all the seasons - for all the people' Bill Graham

With all due respect to Band of Gypsies which is a great live album. THIS is the live album you need to have see what all the hoopla about Hendrix is about. Monterrey was great, but we'll get to that later in the review. Woodstock was good, Isle of Wight 1970 was a disappointment but this is the live album that catches the Jimi Hendrix Experience firing on all cylinders marking a crucial time and place in his musical journey. Live at Winterland was recorded in October of 1968, the album drawn from an incendiary (figurative not literal as I'll come to later) series of shows over three nights. Musical friends dropped in for guest spots such as Traffic's Steve Winwood and Chris Wood, Jefferson Airplane's amazing bassist Jack Cassady. The album was never released during Hendrix's lifetime and didn't see the light of day until Rydodisc released the album in 1987.

What is interesting.. and telling is the timeframe and setlist of these shows. The magnificent Electric Ladyland had been released the month before these shows and you will find nary a one one here. Hendrix was a victim of his own image and success. He was expected to play the songs of the summer of '67 and put on a show. At one point on this disc.. if you listen close enough.. you can hear a fan yell out to Jimi for him to burn his guitar. It is no wonder that the Experience would soon be dissolved and Hendrix would seek a break and more freedom as an artist. Needless to say there would no guitars set aflame at the climax of the show. This album is a great showcase of Hendrix taking and breathing new life in songs that he had performed hundreds of times over the previous two years, the real gems of the album though are some songs you won't find on a Hendrix album. After some killer versions of Fire, and Manic Depression Hendrix launches into a tribute to the Cream with an INCREDIBLE and inspired version of Sunshine of Your Love. That alone would be worth tracking the album down.

However the real gem of the album is when Jack Cassady joins Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell on stage for ..shit... who many ways can you say inflamatory.. incendiary... magical.. furious version of Killing Floor. Cassady's bass rumbles like a gravel truck going down an embankment... Jimi's guitar spews a rainbow of colors and tones. Mitchell has grown four arms and beats the shit out of his kit. Amazing.. amazing..amazing stuff. The next track is a real gem.. and another little sign of why Hendrix is here. Hendrix was a friend and collaborator with two of the true mothers of Proto-Prog. Bo Hansson and Janne Karlsson whom he jammed and highly respectly. Tax Free, a track written by the two of them, marks where Hendrix was going in the years to come a looser more jazz orientated direction. A studio version of this is available on one of the many compilation out there of his unreleased work. Great stuff.

The album ends with an incredible rendition of Hey Joe and his normal crowd pleasing favorites: Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, and Wild Thing. I could only imagine how Hendrix must have tired of playing those same songs every night and wished he progress past his image as a showman and be considered an artist. That is why I think he jettisoned the Experience later and forged ahead into more jazz orientated material just before his death. I could only imagine just how much larger his legacy could have been if he hadn't died at such a young age. What an amazing guitarist.. and artist who really had just started to spread his wings as something other than a meer 'guitarist'

Rating the album...for me personally this is near the tops of my favorite live albums and is an essential album. 5 stars easy. For the site going 4 stars. Not 5 stars.. it isn't essential as far as the site is concerned.. that is reserved for Electric Ladyland and maybe his debut. A good 4 stars though.

Michael (aka Micky)

micky | 4/5 |


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