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Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsys CD (album) cover

BAND OF GYPSYS

Jimi Hendrix

 

Proto-Prog

3.79 | 77 ratings

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Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another old album that I listened for the first time when I was 5 or 6 years old!

The first version of this album that I listened to in 1970 or in 1971 was the LP released in Mexico by DUSA (Discos Universales, S.A.), a company which released it under the Polydor label, and a company which also released other very good albums form that period: "Woodstock", "Who`s Next", "Tommy", "Blind Faith", "In-a-gadda-da-vida", etc., and a lot of singles which were played on the Radio. That company later changed its name to Discos Polydor, and later it became PolyGram Discos, and now it is called Universal Music Mexico. The albums released by DUSA almost always had the original cover art, but in some cases, the cover art was changed a bit. It happened with this "Band of Gypsys" album, because they changed the back cover art by including a drawing of Hendrix. The next version that I listened to was the one released on Remastered form on CD by Experience Hendrix / MCA in 1997. This CD version sounds very good, and it also includes the full cover art, plus very good booklet notes done by John McDermott. In that booklet notes, McDermott explains that this album was recorded by Hendrix as a contractual obligation for one manager for whom Hendrix signed a contract in 1965. When he signed another contract with Chas Chandler, Hendrix forgot that old contract, but that old manager never forgot it, of course! So, when Hendrix became famous, this old manager went to the courts to force Hendrix to record an album for him and Capitol Records. In the end, Hendrix had to do it, so with the help of Buddy Miles and Billy Cox he formed the Band of Gypsys to record this live album, which was compiled from 4 concerts the band played and recorded in 31 December 1969 and ! January 1970. This album was the last of his albums that Hendrix sanctioned before he died.

With three very good Black musicians playing together, this band was very good, playing with a mixture of Heavy Rock, Psychedelia, Funk and Soul. When I listen to this album I can hear how good are these Black musicians playing together, like they understood very well each other despite not being playing together for a long time. In fact, they only rehearsed briefly for the concerts.

Hendrix also wanted to give Buddy Miles the opportunity to sing some of his own songs, so I think that Hendrix wasn`t the typical egocentric guitar hero. He was humble enough to let Miles shine too in the band.

The album starts with "Who Knows", a very good song, somewhat heavy, with Hendrix singing lead vocals while Miles sings backing vocals.

"Machine Gun" is a bit heavier, and noisy too, with Hendrix dedication of this song for the soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. His guitar playing and Miles`snare drum try to imitate the sound of Machine Guns at war.

"Changes", composed and sung by Miles, is a very good song with some Funky and soul influences. It was a hit for Miles as a soloist when he recorded it using some horns in the arrangement.

"Power of Soul" (tiled "Power to Love" in the CD, being this obviously a mistake) is also a very good song, with Hendrix singing lead vocals while Miles and Cox sing backing vocals.

"Message to Love" is another Hendrix`song, and my favourite from this album. It also has some Funky and Soul influences, and it is also one of the heaviest songs in this album, with a very good lead guitar.

"We Gotta Live Together" is a song composed and sung by Miles, also with Funky arrangements and some heavy guitar.

This album is very good, as I wrote before. I think that Im going to buy the double CD set called "Live at the Fillmore East" which inludes more songs from these concerts.

Guillermo | 4/5 |

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