Every once in a while I like to pop a music video into the old VCR and enjoy a little simulated live concert action.
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A child of the 60's, my musical tastes matured (some might say atrophied) somewhere in between 1967 and '73. As a result one of my favorite artists, then and now, is Jimi Hendrix.
For those of you too young to remember, Jimi Hendrix burst on the music scene in 1967 with a sound unlike any ever heard before. During his all-too-brief career, Hendrix released three studio albums and then he was gone. The most technically brilliant and ambitious of the three albums was Electric Ladyland, ranked by critics as one of the two or three most influential rock albums in history, the others most often mentioned being the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper. While all three albums were creative tours de force, where the rubber meets the road, Jimi Hendrix would perform his works live sounding even better than the studio cuts while the other two groups would be unable to reproduce their studio works in the same form live.
For viewers raised on M-TV and conditioned to expect the dumbed-down level of entertainment commonly seen on that channel, Jimi Hendrix might be a revelation.
I first saw this film on the silver screen as a new release and was completely flabbergasted by the intensity of Jimi's performances. It was entitled A Film About Jimi Hendrix while the video I bought is called simply Jimi Hendrix. It's the same film.
Director Joe Boyd's 1973 documentary Jimi Hendrix uses concert footage of the immortal entertainer to speak for itself. From the first moment of Rock Me Baby the viewer is sucked in by one of the most dynamic entertainers ever to take the stage. Wisely, Boyd presented the concert footage from Monterey Pop, Woodstock, the Fillmore, and other venues in its entirety without comment. Believe me, you will be absorbed watching the performance and hearing the fantastic sounds blaring from your speakers. No comment is necessary!!
An additional treat is the rare acoustic performance by Jimi on solo 12-string guitar of I Hear My Train A-Comin.
Interspersed throughout film between the concert segments are interviews with celebrities, friends, and family of the late Mr. Hendrix. While these add some insight into the personality of Hendrix, he remains an enigma to this day. Some of the celebrities commenting on Jimi are contemporary musicians Eric Clapton, Peter Townshend, Mick Jagger, Little Richard (Penniman), Mitch Mitchell, and Lou Reed. It is quite apparent that he took them by storm the same as he entranced the music listeners and that the guitar players among them were more than a little threatened by the technical mastery and emotional delivery of Jimi Hendrix.
Jimi Hendrix was produced in 1973, three years following the death of Jimi Hendrix. This is an invaluable and immensely entertaining historical record of the music of a legend that would otherwise be lost forever. The video contains the following live songs:
1. Rock Me Baby
2. Wild Thing
3. Machine Gun
4. Johnny B. Goode
5. Hey, Joe
6. Purple Haze
7. Like a Rolling Stone
8. The Star-Spangled Banner
9. Machine Gun
10. Hear My Train A Comin'
11. Red House
12. In From The Storm
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