Monday, August 01, 2005

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix, along with bassist Noel Redding, and ex-Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames drummer Mitch Mitchell played the Whisky a Go-Go, a small club in Navigation Street, Birmingham, in late 1966. The gig, a Saturday-night all-nighter, was crowded with amphetamine-fueled dancers. Whatever else uppers did, a dozen doobies ingested did not leave one wholly bereft of all critical faculties. I remember deciding Hendrix was way too flashy and over the top... which he was. What did they play? Don't remember, except for Wild Thing. Choosing to play the hit by The Troggs seemed kind of naff. But then came Christmas 1966 and the single Heh Joe. Soon followed by Purple Haze. Wooah.
After singles came albums. In 1967, the excellent Are You Experienced and the later not-so-good Axis: Bold As Love. Autumn '68? The double-album Electric Ladyland. Ladyland had everything: a loud, gutsy psychedelic soundscape and an album cover (of naked ladies) upon which it was a delight to roll joints. Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll all within easy reach.
Longish excerpt recounting Hendrix's arrival in London in 1966, from a new biography of Jimi Hendrix. What a life! A soul whose flame shone bright, albeit for a short time.

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