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Jimi Hendrix - Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival (Hendrix & Otis Redding) CD (album) cover

HISTORIC PERFORMANCES RECORDED AT THE MONTEREY INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL (HENDRIX & OTIS REDDING)

Jimi Hendrix

 

Proto-Prog

3.07 | 5 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was one of the most significant cultural events of the 20th century. For the first time, the new style of loud rock n roll that had been hatched in London and on the west coast of the US was unleashed on the whole world via international media coverage of this groundbreaking event. Although the slew of west coast bands that opened the event seemed daunted by the challenge and floundered amongst out-of-tune guitars, amateur drug-addled performances and deer-in-headlights intimidation, three non-west coast bands followed and delivered a much needed 1-2-3 knockout punch to send this concert into musical history. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Otis Redding changed rock forever with incendiary performances that fueled nothing short of a revolution. This record presents two of those performances as best as possible, but cannot convey the feeling of shock and disbelief felt by the people who witnessed these three bands.

I've always preferred Jimi's artsy studio songs to his barn-burning live performances, but I'm probably in a minority on that opinion. Having said that, the first side of this album presents a fairly typical Hendrix outing for that time; a Dylan song, a blues classic, a fusion flavored Hendrix original and a psychotic version of Wild Thing. Like a Rollin Stone is a bit on the boring side, but the other songs have that incredible urgent punk/jazz feeling that only Mitchell and Hendrix can pull off. I especially enjoy Wild Thing with it's crazy 'Strangers in the Night' guitar solo and sheets of bizarre noise. As the song approaches it's end, shouts from the stage blend with crowd noise and guitar feedback to produce a nightmarish soundscape that would make the most avant-garde composer proud. All through this side Jimi treats us to mumbled hippie lingo mumbo-jumbo in between songs that is both funny and embarrassing.

Although the Hendrix side is good, the Otis side is even better. Having played mostly in the south, the huge crowd of hippies in California was a new thing for the countryish Redding. His response was to tell his band to play everything at double tempo in an attempt to match the previous evening's sonic blasts from The Who and The Experience. The end result lifted Redding's southern funky RnB to punk/gospel hyper workouts that generated enough energy to even outshine all other performers. Otis seems to go into a trance as the band keeps pushing the tempo and he repeats words like a man possessed. This is early rock at it's very best, and his band delivers with a professionalism that was severely lacking from all the west coast bands.

Early fast and heavy rock at it's very finest delivered by two yanks who grew up playing music in the southern US where an ability to sweat and deliver is placed above style and current trend. Music this kinetic and energetic barely exists anymore.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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