Sometimes we get stuff in the mail that is too good (well,... Enter Now
Cool CDs from the Library vol.2
While listening to the overnight Reggae show on KPFA/KFCF 88.1 the other night the DJ inserted a few songs off this first Jimi Hendrix album in a departure from the format. The title song, Are you experienced sounded so good I thought I would get out my old vinyl copy of it. But, then I searched for the CD at the Fresno County Library and they had one at the Porterville branch, I requested it and a few days later got an automated phone call letting me know they were saving it for me down at the main branch in downtown Fresno.
This album is so cool, released in the summer of love 1967, it was bumped from becoming number one by none other than the Beatles' Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
There were so many wonderful, groundbreaking albums in 1967. It was a crowded field of inspired, motivated artisans and craftsmen many of whom are considered today to be genius. Jimi Hendrix was recently dubbed the greatest guitar player of all-time by Rolling Stone. And, I agree. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-guitarists-20111123...
You have to hear the album on a good stereo and in a quiet room to really hear all the magic and mastery Hendrix poured into his playing. And, he did it FIRST. With no blueprint or mentor to show him the way he just worked on it and did it. The first of the high gain, balls-out, metally tone monsters, he was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.
But, it wasn't all high-gain distortion. And that was part of his mastery: His ability to go from low-gain, clear tone in the intros and verses to fuzzy distortion in the choruses and leads all while jammming punchy turnarounds worthy of James Brown. (Kurt Cobain followed this formula) Then threading it all together with interesting lyrics, great side-men and a wonderful recording in England. It is a classic cultural document of the psychedelic 60s.
The DJ on KPFA said, "This album got me through Vietnam".
I saw Hendrix play twice in 1968: Once at the Oakland Colliseum and few months later at the Winterland in San Francisco. Both times were disappointing for me. The inspired, thoughtful guy on the records was not what I saw at the two shows. What I saw was an angry prima donna that was so madly turned inward so as to make sure that the audience couldn't get their money's worth of entertainment out of him. I guess every artist has a bad night every once in a while.
In 1967 it was all fun and games. People were intrigued with this Timothy Leary character and the psychedelic movement was everywhere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Leary The Beatles were talking about it in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Donovan sang about it on Sunshine Superman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_Superman_%28album%29 It was just a groovy thing like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Then 1969 came and the wheels came off the cart.
First, Art Linkletter's daughter jumped off a building while on an acid trip thinking she could fly. http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/l/Diane%20Linkletter/diane_linkletter... Then at the Rolling Stones' outdoor concert at Altamont speedway a guy was killed in front of the stage while the band was playing. All of it caught on film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qTKsylrpsg And the horror of the Tate-La Bianca murders by the Charles Manson gang in LA brought it all home: Taking trips on LSD wasn't always a fun, mind-opening experience.
A lot of people began to run away from Psychedelia as fast as they could. And in 1970 Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose closing the door on the psychedelic era.
Being experienced was fun but I don't want to do it again. It just isn't a safe thing to do. But for a while in the summer of love people were tripping out, dancing a free-form dance of free-love and man, it was fun.
Lyrics excerpt from Are you experienced:
I know, I know
you'll probably scream and cry
That your little world won't let you go
But who in your measly little world are trying to prove that
You're made out of gold and can't be sold
So Are You Experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have
let me prove it to you.....
Trumpets and violins I can hear in the distance
I think they're calling our names
Maybe now you can't hear them
but you will if you just take hold of my hand
Ah! But Are You Experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Not necessarily stoned but beautiful
Excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_You_Experienced:
Hendrix, along with producer and former bass player for The Animals, Chas Chandler, formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience in England in 1966 with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass. The band signed with Track Records, a new label formed by The Who's managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. They recorded three singles produced by Chas Chandler while simultaneously touring throughout England: "Hey Joe"/"Stone Free", which was released in December 1966 through Polydor Records because Track Records was not yet operational; "Purple Haze"/"51st Anniversary", released in March 1967 and was the first release by Track Records on a special white label; and "The Wind Cries Mary"/"Highway Chile" which was released in May 1967 and is said to be written by Hendrix for his long time love, Kathy Etchingham (whose middle name is Mary), after he was left alone at home when she stormed out after a fight. All three of these singles reached the top ten in the UK. The Experience's first single, "Hey Joe", reached #6 on the UK chart in early 1967, followed soon after by "Purple Haze", which peaked at #3 on the charts and its double platinum debut album, Are You Experienced.