Can't believe it's already Wednesday. No really, I can't! The week just seems to fly by when you're not dealing with family drama or a girlfriend. Huh.
So last night on my local PBS network, they were showing their documentary series American Masters. This time around their subject was often imitated, and well never be duplicated, Jimi Hendrix.
Now of course knowing my shit like I do when it comes to classic rock history, there wasn't too much I didn't already know, or want to know. But, some details did come to my attention that I wasn't aware of before:
-Jimi Hendrix used to be a guitarist for the famous Isley Brothers. Yes, the mother-fucking Isley Brothers! Let that sink in for a bit if you didn't already know that.
One of the Isley Brothers himself, bassist Ernie Isley said back in the early days when Jimi played for them, that Jimi helped bring more attention to them since all the guys and ladies loved to hear him play. It's a big reason why they held on to him as long as they did. Very interesting to say the least.
-It was Chas Chandler, former bassist for The Animals, who ultimately took care of Jimi and got him his first record deal. Poor Jimi got no love here in the states(which I already knew)thus went to the fashion capital/"it" city to be in, London, England in '66. Chas wanted to be his producer, and with two others, formed a record company, Trace Records, exclusively for Jimi so that he'd have a record deal. Now how many artists even back then, can claim to have had a record company built on a single deal in a club, in one night?
-Jimi was also one of, if not the first artist, to have his very own private recording studio when he built Electric Ladyland Studios. As was pointed out by famed recording engineer Eddie Kramer, sure other artists that could afford to, had home studios and all, but no one at the time had their own studio as massive, and and as well-built and equipped as Jimi Hendrix at that time. Very interesting to know.
With that in mind, I figured I'd spotlight the Top 5 songs of Hendrix that weren't the super big hits he's instantly known for. So songs like "Voodoo Chile" , "Foxy Lady", and "Hey Joe" won't make this list.
But here's the one that do........
crying blue rain
valleys of neptune
If 6 was a 9
5). "Drivin' South"
Want a good song to listen to while you're commuting from work or just driving around on a trip?
Then play this awesome instrumental by Jimi. It maybe titled "Drivin' South", but really you can drive anywhere you want and still appreciate the chord structure and kick-ass, rocking tune.
The only other artist I'd have loved to hear cover this is Stevie Ray Vaughn.
4). "Valleys of Neptune"/"Crying Blue Rain"
Valleys of Neptune
Both songs are included on the last posthumous Jimi Hendrix album put out around 2010, Valleys of Neptune.
Valleys of Neptune is another psychedelic classic of Jimi's, that expertly blends exotic imagery with his trippy lyrics. Add them together with his musical stylings, and you have one of a trippy song that'll never go out of style. Plus, and this could just be me, the beginning of the song sounds a lot like the song by the band Cream, "We're going wrong". Take and listen to both and you tell me.
Crying Blue Rain sounds like what you'd get if his other songs "If 6 was a 9" and "Voodoo Chile" had a baby. It's just that fucking awesome and well worth a listen.
3). "Dolly Dagger"
Listening to this, you can't help but think this influenced the songs that would later become stables of the 70's Blaxploitation era like "Shaft" and "Superfly".
Dolly Dagger, much like Jimi himself, were way ahead of their time. Plus this one kicks all kinds of ass.
Saying this song had to be autobiographical would be like saying I think the Pope's Catholic. It's a "DUH!" statement, but it doesn't make it any less true in this case. Many interviewees on the documentary, mostly female friends of Jimi's, said he had to be looked after and taken care of, especially when he finally reached stardom. I'd like to think he's talking about one of them, or all of them, in this song.
It's just a beautiful, haunting song, that expresses some inner pain we've all felt when needing someone to rescue us.
1). "If 6 was a 9"
Okay this song choice might be stretching the boundaries, but I'm including it anyways. It's a very powerful, anti-establishment song, without getting to preachy or up in your face. It's just Jimi's opinion on the stifling confines of society back then, that I'd dare say are still relevant to today's time. Plus it's just a fucking kick ass song.
Ever hear the Bootsy Collins' version? That one might even be more psychedelic than Jimi's, but not as good. This my friends, is what a true classic rock from that era sounds like.
That's my list. If you have any other songs to add or your own list, feel more than free to include them in the comments section.