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Thread: Jimi Hendrix - A bluffer's guide to the live albums

  1. #1
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    Jimi Hendrix - A bluffer's guide to the live albums

    When you're a newcomer to Jimi's music and you want to check out the live albums, where do you start?

    That was the challenge for me earlier this year, having worked my way through the studio material (and that was a challenge too, given the wealth of releases.)

    So I've spent the last few months hunkering down with over a dozen live releases, contrasting and comparing, and have come up an informal (and personal) guide for others new to Jimi's live cds like myself. It's not meant to be definitive, but hopefully helpful, and fun too.

    You can find my blog piece here:

    https://momentstransition.wordpress....e-live-albums/

  2. #2
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    My favorites:

    Band of Gypsys

    Woodstock

    In The West

  3. #3
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    My favorites:

    Berkley Community Center, 2nd Set, 1970
    BBC sessions (if that counts as live)
    Stages (mostly for Stockholm 67 and Paris 68)
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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    The one I've listened to most is the second Royal Albert Hall show from February 1969. Obviously Monterey is great too.

    Of the 'best ofs' I quite like The Jimi Hendrix Concerts. It's very reverb-y, presumably to make it sound unified...I think it works well. Most of the performances are top-drawer.

    The Reprise soundtrack to the Jimi Hendrix film by Joe Boyd was another good anthology, with a fair amount of his most famous performances on it.

  5. #5
    As far as official releases go, there's the Woodstock thing. Yeah, the first like 2/3's of the set kind of is middling, but the Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Stepping Stone/Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Woodstock Improv/Villanova Junction suite that closes the set is stunning.

    Then there's the Band Of Gypsies recordings. I've never owned the original album (shocking, I know) but I do have the Live At The Fillmore East thing that came out in the late 90's, just after Jimi's family got control of his estate, and that's pretty awesome. I understand there's a more recent release that has all four shows in their entirety, but I haven't gotten that. Yet.

    Beyond that, there's the various recordings of the 10-12 October 1968 Winterland run. The original Live At Winterland album that Rykodisc put out in late 80's was widely considered brilliant, and it is. If you can find that at a decent price, that's another one I'd get.

    There's also the four CD Winterland box, from 2011, which I only just found out about, and which is apparently now going for stupid amounts of money.

    But if you can track down the bootlegs of the first two nights, those are the ones I'd get. In particular, the versions of Are You Experienced?, Red House, and Voodoo Child (Slight Return) that opened the first show on each night are true keepers. the version of Are You Experienced? from the 11th has a flute player named Virgil Gonzalez sitting in, and they stretch out to over 12 minutes on it. The versions of Tax Free and Spanish Castle Magic from the late shows are pretty bad ass too.

    And don't give me shit about recommending bootlegs. If the damn Hendrix estate would release the tapes unedited, I wouldn't have to.

  6. #6
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    If the damn Hendrix estate would release the tapes unedited, I wouldn't have to.
    But if they do that, how will they cut out Larry Lee?
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  7. #7
    If you want complete sets instead of comps:

    Royal Albert Hall '69 could very well be his greatest performance. Yet unreleased, but easy enough to find. His best performances of many songs, IMHO.

    Woodstock is essential.

    Band of Gypsies is great in any version.

    Not a huge fan of the Winterland '68, as I think Jim wasn't quite as sharp or inspired in his playing.

    The new Maui is great.

    The BBC stuff is also essential.

    Monterrey Pop, of course.

    Berkley '70 is another one of his greatest.

    Those are off the top of my head.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    But if they do that, how will they cut out Larry Lee?
    I know you're being facetious, Steve, but...

    I was referring to the Winterland recordings. I understand the point of cutting Larry's songs from the Woodstock set. It's been a long time since I listened to my copy of the full unedited Woodstock (which I got back in the 90's, along with the Oct 68 Winterland tapes, from a Hendrix collector), but my recollection was that cutting out "Larry Lee" was kinda justified. The songs he sang weren't too good, and I vaguely remember the one or two solos he takes on other songs are without distinction, to be put it charitably.

    But the Winterland deal I think is pathetic. OK, I get it, they're Ferengi...er, I mean capitalists, they're looking for the best way to make as much money off the music, same as everyone else in the music business, apparently. So they put stuff out in piecemeal, edited form, so that at some point down the road they can put out another edition with "previously unreleased" material at some point down the road.

    I just wish the material from 10-11 October 68 were available, unedited. Well, maybe not the stuff they did with Herbie Rich sitting in, as Jimi and Noel didn't bother tuning tuning to Herbie's organ, the upshot being that the organ is sounds a little flat compared to the guitars.

    But, I figured out at some point that version of Fire that opens the Ryko Live At Winterland is the version with Herbie played on, with the organ mixed out. Hence, one suspects they could theoretically mix out the organ for all those tunes, or possibly they could simply run the organ through a Harmonizer. Yeah, I know Eddie Kramer once asked that the word "remix" never be used at Electric Lady, I suppose referring to all the dren Alan Douglas had done, but in this case, it might be worth doing.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    The new Maui is great.
    Haven't heard that one yet. Did they restore Mitch's playing from the actual performance, or does it still have the very obvious overdubs (well, they're obvious if you watch the footage that was used in the Rainbow Bridge movie...Jimi and Mitch are on camera simultaneously, Jimi's in sync but Mitch isn't, because they overdubbed the drums, and he didn't play the same thing during the overdub that he played on the actual show).
    Monterrey Pop, of course.
    I should have never given up my LP copy of that. I wonder if that's been reissued. I remember checking some years back, and found the used copies were going for stupid amounts of money.
    Berkley '70 is another one of his greatest.
    Berkley is another one that I've got on cassette, as I recall, there were two shows. I've never seen the movie or heard the official release that eventually came out.

  10. #10
    Member AncientChord's Avatar
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    The BBC live in the studio sessions are a must.
    In The West has some excellent performances.
    At The LA Forum 1969. I have a soft spot for this one, as I was there.
    Day dawns dark...it now numbers infinity.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Haven't heard that one yet. Did they restore Mitch's playing from the actual performance, or does it still have the very obvious overdubs (well, they're obvious if you watch the footage that was used in the Rainbow Bridge movie...Jimi and Mitch are on camera simultaneously, Jimi's in sync but Mitch isn't, because they overdubbed the drums, and he didn't play the same thing during the overdub that he played on the actual show).


    I should have never given up my LP copy of that. I wonder if that's been reissued. I remember checking some years back, and found the used copies were going for stupid amounts of money.


    Berkley is another one that I've got on cassette, as I recall, there were two shows. I've never seen the movie or heard the official release that eventually came out.
    Maui still has Mitch's overdubs. Still great, though.

    The entire Monterey set was released many years ago.

    Have you heard the Berkley soundcheck? This has what I think is the best version of Machine Gun.

    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Then there's the Band Of Gypsies recordings. I've never owned the original album (shocking, I know) but I do have the Live At The Fillmore East thing that came out in the late 90's, just after Jimi's family got control of his estate, and that's pretty awesome. I understand there's a more recent release that has all four shows in their entirety, but I haven't gotten that. Yet.
    Good writeup about the box (Songs For Groovy Children): https://www.modernlistenerpublishing...sing-children/

    As usual with Hendrix, the official release complicates matters a bit as it leaves off a few songs from the shows, while including a few previously unknown songs.

  13. #13
    There is a boot around somewhere of Maui with the original drum tracks, which I have read were poorly recorded (making the overdubs necessary).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I was referring to the Winterland recordings. I understand the point of cutting Larry's songs from the Woodstock set. It's been a long time since I listened to my copy of the full unedited Woodstock (which I got back in the 90's, along with the Oct 68 Winterland tapes, from a Hendrix collector), but my recollection was that cutting out "Larry Lee" was kinda justified. The songs he sang weren't too good, and I vaguely remember the one or two solos he takes on other songs are without distinction, to be put it charitably.
    Larry Lee's playing wasn't great, but I like hearing the unedited Woodstock songs as on the official release they had to do weird offbeat edits on "Spanish Castle Magic" and one or two other songs to get rid of his solos.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    There is a boot around somewhere of Maui with the original drum tracks, which I have read were poorly recorded (making the overdubs necessary).
    Yep. There was no way to salvage the drums, from what I understand. At least we had the original drummer do the overdubs.

    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Larry Lee's playing wasn't great, but I like hearing the unedited Woodstock songs as on the official release they had to do weird offbeat edits on "Spanish Castle Magic" and one or two other songs to get rid of his solos.
    Totally agree. This band was a one-time ensemble and we deserve to hear it complete. Too bad some of the extra musicians weren't caught on the recording.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by AncientChord View Post
    At The LA Forum 1969. I have a soft spot for this one, as I was there.
    Great set, only officially released on the Lifelines box along with a 3 CD radio show. Maybe they will do an individual rerelease someday.

  17. #17
    Fillmore East for the win. It's two discs of pure awesomeness, even when Buddy sings.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

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    The estate should do a 2cd of that LA Forum show and the San Diego show from around the same time.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    Fillmore East for the win. It's two discs of pure awesomeness, even when Buddy sings.
    It is pretty great. But I thought they were a much better band when Mitch came back. Although, I like Buddy's singing. His drumming, not so much.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    The estate should do a 2cd of that LA Forum show and the San Diego show from around the same time.
    I seem to recall that San Diego show not being one of his better performances.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    I seem to recall that San Diego show not being one of his better performances.
    Trying to remember, is San Diego the show that had "Red House" from Hendrix In The West? I have a tape of the whole show somewhere, maybe the rest wasn't as good.

  22. #22
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    Yes and the 'I Don't Live Today' on Concerts. I think its only official release would have been in that aforementioned Stages box (some of it was on that odd In The West re-release). A great show IMHO.

    I recommend this website for making sense of the chaos...here's the live section:

    http://hendrix.guide.pagesperso-orange.fr/live_menu.htm

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Trying to remember, is San Diego the show that had "Red House" from Hendrix In The West? I have a tape of the whole show somewhere, maybe the rest wasn't as good.
    Yes, and I think I'm mixing things up a bit. I have to revisit the cobwebs in my head. I think it's the LA Forum '69 show that I felt was not particularly inspired.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

  24. #24
    re: Maui

    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Yep. There was no way to salvage the drums, from what I understand.
    I wonder what exactly happened, mic failure? Perhaps another example of Bob Fripp's suggestion that "The drummer can and will hit anything with striking distance of his enthusiasm. Including recording microphones"?


    At least we had the original drummer do the overdubs
    The original drummer, and Eddie Kramer in the production seat, I recall, so it's not like were talking about a Crash Landing sized debacle of...well, I guess if you're reading this thread you know about Crash Landing.

    Totally agree. This band was a one-time ensemble and we deserve to hear it complete. Too bad some of the extra musicians weren't caught on the recording.
    Well, since we're talking about it, I've always maintained they should have put out the Woodstock set, warts and all, just for the purposes of sticking it to the bootleggers, but I've always heard the counter argument that "there was a reason they cut the Larry Lee stuff". (shrug) I think we deserve to hear the unedited Are You Experienced? from 10/11/68, with the guitar into and Virgil Gonzalez's solo intact. Yeah, it's a bit sloppy and out of tune, but so frelling what?! It's still mindblowing.

    And yes, I think it stinks you can't really hear the percussionists.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Well, since we're talking about it, I've always maintained they should have put out the Woodstock set, warts and all, just for the purposes of sticking it to the bootleggers, but I've always heard the counter argument that "there was a reason they cut the Larry Lee stuff". (shrug) I think we deserve to hear the unedited Are You Experienced? from 10/11/68, with the guitar into and Virgil Gonzalez's solo intact. Yeah, it's a bit sloppy and out of tune, but so frelling what?! It's still mindblowing.

    And yes, I think it stinks you can't really hear the percussionists.
    Not sure if you're familiar with the official video release of the entire (sans Larry Lee) set. It's super-awesome and uses the best footage instead of the terrible form-over-function footage from the Woodstock movie where we get to see the top of Jimi's head and the tip of his guitar while he's ripping away.

    What is really interesting is that the DVD also includes alternate footage shot by a fan who was stage-side and trying out a new-fangled Beta video recorder. He actually got to meet Jimi and show him the footage after the gig. The historical significance of this amatuer footage is that he caught footage that the official filmers missed while they were changing film.

    However, what I always wondered was whether or not the Beta guy was able to pick up the audio from the stage amps and capture the full percussion. I've never seen that addressed anywhere.
    "A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."

    - Dr. Winston O'Boogie

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