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Jimi Hendrix Band Of Gypsys album cover
3.79 | 133 ratings | 12 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Live, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

Original track list:

Who Knows - 9:32
Machine Gun - 12:32
Changes (Buddy Miles) - 5:10
Power of Soul - 6:53
Message to Love - 5:22
We Gotta Live Together (Buddy Miles) - 5:46

P.s.: This is the track list of Polydor 3191 002:

A1. Machine Gun
A2. Changes
A3. Message To Love

B1. Who Knows
B2. Power Of Soul
B3. We Gotta Live Together

Japanese and German edition contain these 3 bonus tracks:

Hear My Train A Comin'
Foxy Lady

Line-up / Musicians

Jimi Hendrix - guitar voice
Buddy Miles - drums
Billy Cox - voice, bass

Releases information

1970, LP: released in the U.S. by Capitol Records.
1970, LP: released by Polydor Records in Europe and other countries.
1997: Remastered CD, released by Experience Hendrix / MCA, MCD 11607 (European Union).

Thanks to mandrakeroot for the addition
and to Guillermo for the last updates
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Buy JIMI HENDRIX Band Of Gypsys Music

JIMI HENDRIX Band Of Gypsys ratings distribution

(133 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JIMI HENDRIX Band Of Gypsys reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It was an increasingly difficult time to be a musician. The last performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in June of 1969 was marred by tear gas and rioting, and led to the group's dissolution. Jimi found himself with little support at a time when the pitfalls of success were starting to eat at him. Bad business arrangements, poor management, thievery, harassment and legal problems, the most innovative musician of his generation found himself abandoned by almost everyone at a time when he should have been reaping his well-earned rewards. And in order to settle a disastrous contractual obligation, he had to deliver a new album of original material.

But after securing the help of friend and drummer Buddy Miles and old army pal Billy Cox on bass, Hendrix was ready to reemerge as both rock deity and blues legend, and it resulted in one of the finest live recordings in music history. It is the only full live LP released during Jimi's lifetime and the last album before his death in the fall of 1970. After a ten-day rehearsal, the trio played four shows in NYC over two days on the cusp of 1969/70 produced by Hendrix. The fellas waste no time and roll into 'Who Knows', a mid-tempo shuffle that showcases Jimi's gifts; the riffing, phrasing, fills, perfect tone and surprisingly perfect intonation, spewing blues fire through his Marshall cab, his wah functioning well and employing a new filter that mimics a steeldrum. Hendrix's production is beautifully clean-- Cox round, warm and heavy, Miles crisp, all mixed just the right way. Legendary 'Machine Gun' raises things to a higher level, the poignancy of the times it reflects not lost and Jimi's electrifying use of his ax as a musical weapon splaying open those troubled days with the abandon of a true artist, his guitar howling into this New Years night bravely leading his ragtag following into the jaws of death and love all at once. He played his amplifiers as much as his guitars, using them as instruments and that is no better heard here, outdoing even his famous Woodstock performance and miming the firing of an automatic rifle at the crowd. This is Hendrix the player, and it's where he shone most brightly. The chaos that was Hendrix's reality is also mirrored in these shows and seemed to come exploding out during this 2-night event [the rest of the material available as Hendrix Live at the Fillmore East]-- all the frustration, disillusionment, treachery and strangeness blown back out to the world. And no one could do that better than him. 'Changes' is an upbeat and melodic Buddy Miles tune and 'Power of Soul' is bright and brilliant, a free-flying dance of sheer energy and heavy blues joy. Hendrix signature piece 'Message to Love' is always a pleasure and another Miles cut finishes with some R'nB.

A clean and pure expression of why James Marshall Hendrix was what he was to so many, this is an unimprovable document and his finest moment as instrumentalist.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is an emotional review for me. This live album was the first one I ever bought from Jimi.

Retrospectively, it is not the best live one but at the time of release, it was the only source of live material (at least for the young fellow I was).

Hendrix was not really happy with the material but since he overlooked the production of this album, one can be assured that a lot of care was taken for this release (even editing of some tracks).

History will tell that Hendrix had to release one more album for contractual reasons. It was then decided to get a live album out of the four concerts of the legendary performances at the Fillmore East on these evenings of December 31st , 1969 and January 1st, 1970.

I have to say that when I listen to this album now, I found it quite uneven. The Buddy Miles tracks being a lot soul inspired and frankly they are not really great numbers (''Changes'' and '' We Gotta Live Together'').

Even the Hendrix'ones weren't all of the best available if you would except the long and incredible ''Machine Gun'' and the excellent version of ''Message To Love''. These two tracks are almost good for fifty per cent of the album and are a good justification for owning this testimonial of these live sets.

I can understand that if you jump into Jimi's catalogue right now, most of you might be disappointed. For those ones, I would recommend the double CD set ''Live At The Fillmore East'' which is a more extended picture of those concerts (even if the second CD is not super either).

This is only a good representation of the live capabilities of Hendrix (but remember this is with Cox and Miles: the Band Of Gypsys not with the Experience). Three stars. There are better examples of live performances out there.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I rarely review so many albums of an artist added to a non Prog category, but in the case of Jimi Hendrix, I'm pretty familiar with his releases, being that in the early 70's it was almost mandatory to own his records, so again I went to my old LP's and got Band of Gypsys in order to review a live album after two studio ones.

If Hendrix's music is hard for me in studio, on the stage is even worst, senseless jamming, long futile guitar solos and a few chords repeated ad nauseam, all in a very high volume that may be great if you are a teen full of dope, but which sound excessive if you are a 44 years old fart completely sane like me.

The opener Who knows is simply one of he most boring musical experiences I had in the last ten years (the time I don't play the album), poor arrangements, terrible vocals and unnecessary solos created only for the glory of the performer.

Machine Gun is even longer, and so the torture for my ears, despite a very interesting introduction, Hendrix and team fall in the same pattern as in the previous track, even Buddy Miles seems to repeat the same set of hits over and over, all the variation is in the guitar, but that's not enough, the almost absolute lack of coherence, simply makes me wonder why is this album so appreciated, then I think that maybe the guy was all that people say about him and that sound like dentist drill is the touch of a genius, but I can't discover it.

At last a better track, Changes by Buddy Miles has a coherent structure, some good changes, despite the horrendous vocals, now the three guys seem to play for the band and not only for Hendrix's glory.

Power to Love is clearly Blues oriented with the usual cadence that is interrupted by Jimi's abuse of soloing as if he was tuning his instrument, maybe this is virtuosity and I'm incapable of finding it, but for me is only senseless noise, sorry but this is my honest opinion.

By this point, and being that Message to Love and the other Buddy Miles theme We Gotta Live Together are more of the same, I feel unnecessary to continue this review that sounds like a rant, but is only the expression of what I listen.

Some artists sound better on stage, I don't believe Hendrix is one of them, unless you love to listen a rhythm section playing a few chords and a soloist doing anything he wants. This may be a heresy for most of the fans of Jimi, but is what I honestly feel.

I know most people love this album, but I can't rate it with more than two stars, because for my ears is repetitive, dull and boring, again, maybe because I never saw him on the 60's or because I'm more used to elaborate and melodic songs I'm unable to see the greatness of Band of Gypsys, but as always, I try to be honest with my impression.

Just want to say that I believe Hendrix was an oustanding guitar performer and some of his studio albums are really good, but on stage he doesn't prove it to this ears.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars With the Experience now blown to bits, Jimi attacked the new decade with his first all-black band and a once-only New Year's Eve concert in NY and the Band Of Gypsy. The bass was occupied with a former US-Army buddy Billy Cox and on drums the funk legend of Buddy Miles. With a rather simple coloured photo of Jimi at work for a cover, the album is rather surprising because it doesn't sound anything like the previous Experience. . Note that the BoG, the group was built against his manager Jeffries and the manager forced Jimi to fire Buddy Miles (uncontrollable to Jeffries) not long after the group's two concerts and reinstate Mitch Mitchell on the drum stool, but he failed to reinstate the "Experience" group. With Billy Cox on bass the new group went on tour in February 70 in the Cry Of Love tour, but this is out of the scope of this album.

The least we can say is that BoG is really a funk-rock group, and the opening track the 9-mins+ Who Knows where Buddy Miles is obviously as involved as Jimi. It is followed by a lengthy and stunning blues, the 12-mins+ Machine Gun, with its stunning imitation of the weapons. Easily the album's peak. The flipside is made of four shorter tracks, that go back to Who Knows?'s funk rock. Again completely dominated by Jimi's guitar, the tracks are more rhythmic than abut guitar heroics. Buddy Miles' drumming is quite different of Mitchell and therefore offers different opportunities. Cox's bass playing is fairly basic, partly because Jimi taught his buddy to play the instrument, but the man is obviously not a natural at it.

Historically this album was definitely not received as well as the previous three Experience albums, but there are some solid reasons for that too. First, this comes from a sole concert that was most likely under-rehearsed and comes with the "warts an'all". For my part, I keep the album for Machine Gun and a fourth Hendrix album in my collection.

Review by Guillermo
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.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Despite the fact that there was little rehearsing by this group before this concert, the performance is quite good. Personally, I never thought Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding were quite up to par with Jimi Hendrix. This goup, with Buddy Miles on drums, and Hendrix' army buddy Billy Cox on bass seems to give Hendrix a lot of space to do his thing, while also laying down some sweet rhythms.

The highlights on this album are Machine Gun, and the Buddy Miles classic Changes.

While the music here might not qualify as prog, what Hendrix does on his guitar had not been done by anyone else to that point. His use of feedback, fuzztones and other effects was revolutionary, and laid the groundwork for most of the guitar heroes to come.

Five stars for a great performance, minus one for lack of prog.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am not an expert on Jimi Hendrix but Yes his music was part of the things that coloured my childhood as the local music magazine, AKTUIL, was frequently featuring Hendrix as one of best guitarists in the past. But I never put his music into the kind of ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson or so called prog music. I always refer to Hendrix music was somewhat similar with the kinds of Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Moxy and the like. I was also not aware about number of albums Hendrix produced but for sure I love this 'Band of Gypsys' album which actually a live recording.

My best favorite is of course Machine Gun that really represents the best part of Hendrix in playing his guitar as well as singing. I like the way the music flows in a blues-rock nuance. The other track which is also excellent from this live set is Changes. Again, hendris plays his guitar wonderfully. Overall, in blues-rock perspective, this is an excellent record.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Warthur
4 stars It was the end of the 1960s, and who better to play the decade out than Jimi Hendrix? Band of Gypsys consists of original songs trimmed from Hendrix's new blues-soul-rock combo in their gigs at the Fillmore East on New Year's Eve 1969 and New Year's Day 1970, giving the album a good claim to be both the last one recorded in one decade and the first recorded in the next. But musically speaking, it's a deliberate back-to-basics attempt, laying down heavily blues- influenced tracks and toning down Hendrix's usual experimental edge (which he was still indulging in the studio, as can be heard on the First Rays of the New Rising Sun album). Pretty good stuff, perhaps not very prog, but still important as a means of capturing a side of Hendrix's music we have precious little record of.
Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Maybe not the definitive Jimi Hendrix live album, but A Band of Gypsys is a solid piece of thick, smokey, R&B goodness none the less.

"Who Knows" and "Machine Gun" give us dark, moody, effects-driven jam sessions which are probably the highlights of the album, while the other tracks are shorter and more conventional, though still with open-ended solo sections. The rhythm section keeps it tight and engaging throughout, making the trio sound like they're working together and playing off each others' riffing.

Interestingly, the setlist doesn't include any of Jimi's iconic hits. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either a strength or a weakness. If you're hoping to hear Jimi jam to tunes that aren't on his greatest hits, then you're in luck. The recording quality is good overall for the period.

Overall a solid, but not great live recording featuring the all-time great rock guitarist

Setlist: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Stage Energy: 3 - Live Experience: 4

Latest members reviews

5 stars Let's go straight to the point:Band of Gypsys is the best live rock n'roll album ever made.To hear a recording of Hendrix' live performances,never doing the same thing twice and still managing to be unparalleled all the time in therms of guitar improvisation,is always a joy.Mitch Mitchell,his ... (read more)

Report this review (#702481) | Posted by Jugband Blues | Sunday, April 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Band of Gypsys was the project that marked Jimi Hendrix's return to soul music as well as the beginning of newfound spiritual enlightnment. For those expecting to hear the acid-tinged works of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, there is only but a little resembling "Third Stone From the Sun" or "Purpl ... (read more)

Report this review (#212929) | Posted by jimidom | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To fully appreciate this album you have to consider time of the release.Recorded on New years eve 1970,this is,IMHO,best guitar live album ever,and I'm probably being absolutely biased for a simple reason:this was my FIRST lp-album I owned.And what a stunner that was for a 13-year old flower-po ... (read more)

Report this review (#211071) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Saturday, April 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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