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Old 09-28-2022, 11:19 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Originally Posted by jseth View Post
Fun thread, to remember all that Jimi Hendrix brought to my life and those around me, back in the 60's... it's difficult for many younger people to believe, but Jimi was NOT all that popular, way back when... he wasn't selling out venues or playing stadiums on his own. Maybe at the very end of his life, but nothing like you've seen since then.

I bought and liked every studio album he made... there's great stuff on every record, but my favorite is still the first one... "Are You Experienced was SUCH a groundbreaking record! It still breathes fire, even after nearly 60 years...

I've listened to most of the posthumous releases, and there have been moments on all of them that are worthy...

One recording that I will gladly pay to have and hear (if it's ever released!) is the tape that exists of Jimi and Stephen Stills, jamming together, back when Stills was recording his first solo lp, and Jimi plays on "Old Times, Good Times". Even though I'm pretty sure there is not a lot of substance in that recording, both players were very much at "the top of their game" at the time, and it will be worth hearing, no matter what they play!

It's really difficult to convey what seeing Jimi play live was like... he had SO MUCH FUN playing and singing! Absolutely a Master of his instrument in an incredibly effortless way... he really never appeared to be "trying to do something difficult"... he just kept playing and doing just that, on each and every song he sang!

Funny; even though I loved that first record, it didn't take me long to wonder what Jimi Hendrix would sound like with a STELLAR backing band! With Steve Winwood and Jack Casady on "Electric Ladyland", we got a bit of a glimpse of what was possible. With Noel and Mitch, the music was very good, but... I actually liked Fat Mattress with Noel better than his playing w/ Hendrix... go figure!

Anyway, great thread! I feel that it is such an honor to have been present and paying attention when so many of these great players were out there, doing their thing so brilliantly!
You make an often-overlooked point to start with. Hendrix was a star in a much smaller world of ballrooms and "underground rock" and the next step world of Seventies until the age of streaming was only emerging at the end of his life. His record sales were not spectacular in the US, and his fandom among a generalized contemporary audience was not remarkable. I'm not talking about his rep and influence among guitarists of his time here, just music audiences. There are complex and significant reasons for this, which I'll defer going into here.

I never saw Hendrix live, but another point you make was something that the "un-experienced" often noted when first seeing him: his stage presence and relationship to his guitar and its playing overwhelmed them in small clubs. Of course Hendrix was doing stage things that other Afro-American guitarists had done, but they were largely unknown beyond Chuck Berry's stuff to the young white rock audience.* And from what film evidence we have, he did that guitar stage business very well. Even beyond the "circus tricks" stuff like playing behind his back, over the shoulder, with his teeth, or with guitar held in unorthodox positions, he just seemed one with the instrument, fully in control of its possibilities. In my short time playing with a restrung left-hand Strat I was shocked at how awkward a Strat was is played as Hendrix did. Little things, like the cord jack bumping into my right arm all the time never seemed to bother Jimi.

None of these performer's tricks should reduce our debt to Hendirx as a player, as a pure musician. Even Hendrix worried about the latter being missed subsequently in his career, but it was part of what he manifested.

To tie together your two, often under-considered points that I reinforce, there's this long pull quote from Robert Christgau's review of Hendrix's American debut at Monterey Pop that I featured a few years back on my Project's blog:

Christgau on Hendrix at Monterey, and it's not a positive review in the least

*You know what strikes me as weird making that statement. Wild stage acts in mass audience Rock'n'Roll were not generally unknown when Hendrix broke in. Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. James Brown as a front man. Sax players walking the bar and rolling on the floor. Even upright bass players riding the bass like a horse! But Chuck Berry (as important and as good as he was) was about the limits of what a generalized white teenager would know in 1966-67 for guitar tricks on stage. I know this is AGF, but a lot of us play or played electric too. Odd to think that we were generally the staid, just here on business playing our guitar licks performers in the before Hendrix era.
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Guitars: 20th Century Seagull S6-12, S6 Folk, Seagull M6; '00 Guild JF30-12, '01 Martin 00-15, '16 Martin 000-17, '07 Parkwood PW510, Epiphone Biscuit resonator, Merlin Dulcimer, and various electric guitars, basses....