Jimi Hendrix Blue Wild Angel
The general view of Jimi’s appearance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, three weeks before his untimely passing, seems to be that he was tired and that it shows in the performance, in front of 600,000.
Well, I beg to differ.
There’s a raw edge to the material on this stunning album that I find to be among the best of live Jimi Hendrix and, like most of us, I’ve heard plenty down the years.
Looking at a few examples here, Spanish Castle Magic, always one of my very favourite Jimi Hendrix offerings, is just incendiary, as is Purple Haze and the unbelievably great version of Foxy Lady, complete with radio broadcast interference via Jimi’s amps. Message to Love is marvellous too and, indeed, became the title and theme music of Murray Lerner’s legendary movie of the festival.
A whole side of this amazing completely mint 2002 limited edition (#3262) triple album on Experience Hendrix is devoted to Machine Gun which, apart from being an established Jimi Hendrix showcase, on this occasion features some impressive drum soloing by Mitch Mitchell who, along with bassist Billy Cox provided the man himself with a totally solid and reliable backcloth. Mitch is also very much to the fore on the closing and fabulous rendition of In From The Storm.
As live recordings of that era go, the sound quality is pretty exceptional, subsequently engineered by Eddie Kramer. As Eddie notes, it wasn’t until this relatively recent release that the sound really gelled.
I also have the CD version, which is absolutely no slouch, as is the case with all Experience Hendrix releases. The 180g vinyl, however, takes the sonics a few steps higher, with Jimi’s guitar sounding utterly visceral. Quite a listen.
Chris Wright | Now Spinning