JIMI HENDRIX — Band of Gypsys

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JIMI HENDRIX - Band of Gypsys cover
3.92 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews
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Live album · 1970

Filed under RnB


A1 Who Knows 9:34
A2 Machine Gun 12:38
B1 Changes 5:11
B2 Power To Love 6:55
B3 Message Of Love 5:24
B4 We Gotta Live Together 5:51

Total Time: 45:48


Performer – Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, Jimi Hendrix

About this release

Capitol Records ‎– STAO-472 (US)

Recorded Live-New Year's Eve 69-70 At Fillmore East New York City

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

It was an increasingly difficult time to be a musician. The last performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in June of 1969 was marred by tear gas and rioting, and led to the group's dissolution. Jimi found himself with little support at a time when the pitfalls of success were starting to eat at him. Bad business arrangements, poor management, thievery, harassment and legal problems, the most innovative musician of his generation found himself abandoned by almost everyone at a time when he should have been reaping his well-earned rewards. And in order to settle a disastrous contractual obligation, he had to deliver a new album of original material.

But after securing the help of friend and drummer Buddy Miles and old army pal Billy Cox on bass, Hendrix was ready to reemerge as both rock deity and blues legend, and it resulted in one of the finest live recordings in music history. It is the only full live LP released during Jimi's lifetime and the last album before his death in the fall of 1970. After a ten-day rehearsal, the trio played four shows in NYC over two days on the cusp of 1969/70 produced by Hendrix. The fellas waste no time and roll into 'Who Knows', a mid-tempo shuffle that showcases Jimi's gifts; the riffing, phrasing, fills, perfect tone and surprisingly perfect intonation, spewing blues fire through his Marshall cab, his wah functioning well and employing a new filter that mimics a steeldrum. Hendrix's production is beautifully clean-- Cox round, warm and heavy, Miles crisp, all mixed just the right way. Legendary 'Machine Gun' raises things to a higher level, the poignancy of the times it reflects not lost and Jimi's electrifying use of his ax as a musical weapon splaying open those troubled days with the abandon of a true artist, his guitar howling into this New Years night bravely leading his ragtag following into the jaws of death and love all at once. He played his amplifiers as much as his guitars, using them as instruments and that is no better heard here, outdoing even his famous Woodstock performance and miming the firing of an automatic rifle at the crowd. This is Hendrix the player, and it's where he shone most brightly. The chaos that was Hendrix's reality is also mirrored in these shows and seemed to come exploding out during this 2-night event [the rest of the material available as Hendrix Live at the Fillmore East]-- all the frustration, disillusionment, treachery and strangeness blown back out to the world. And no one could do that better than him. 'Changes' is an upbeat and melodic Buddy Miles tune and 'Power of Soul' is bright and brilliant, a free-flying dance of sheer energy and heavy blues joy. Hendrix signature piece 'Message to Love' is always a pleasure and another Miles cut finishes with some R'nB.

A clean and pure expression of why James Marshall Hendrix was what he was to so many, this is an unimprovable document and his finest moment as instrumentalist.

Members reviews

It was the end of the 1960s, and who better to play the decade out than Jimi Hendrix? Band of Gypsys consists of original songs trimmed from Hendrix's new blues-soul-rock combo in their gigs at the Fillmore East on New Year's Eve 1969 and New Year's Day 1970, giving the album a good claim to be both the last one recorded in one decade and the first recorded in the next. But musically speaking, it's a deliberate back-to-basics attempt, laying down heavily blues- influenced tracks and toning down Hendrix's usual experimental edge (which he was still indulging in the studio, as can be heard on the First Rays of the New Rising Sun album). Pretty good stuff, perhaps not very psychedelic, but still important as a means of capturing a side of Hendrix's music we have precious little record of.
Sean Trane
With the Experience now blown to bits, Jimi attacked the new decade with his first all-black band and a once-only New Year's Eve concert in NY and the Band Of Gypsy. The bass was occupied with a former US-Army buddy Billy Cox and on drums the funk legend of Buddy Miles. With a rather simple coloured photo of Jimi at work for a cover, the album is rather surprising because it doesn't sound anything like the previous Experience. Note that the BoG, the group was built against his manager Jeffries and the manager forced Jimi to fire Buddy Miles (uncontrollable to Jeffries) not long after the group's two concerts and reinstate Mitch Mitchell on the drum stool, but he failed to reinstate the "Experience" group. With Billy Cox on bass the new group went on tour in February 70 in the Cry Of Love tour, but this is out of the scope of this album.

The least we can say is that BoG is really a funk-rock group, and the opening track the 9-mins+ Who Knows where Buddy Miles is obviously as involved as Jimi. It is followed by a lengthy and stunning blues, the 12-mins+ Machine Gun, with its stunning imitation of the weapons. Easily the album's peak. The flipside is made of four shorter tracks, that go back to Who Knows?'s funk rock. Again completely dominated by Jimi's guitar, the tracks are more rhythmic than abut guitar heroics. Buddy Miles' drumming is quite different of Mitchell and therefore offers different opportunities. Cox's bass playing is fairly basic, partly because Jimi taught his buddy to play the instrument, but the man is obviously not a natural at it.

Historically this album was definitely not received as well as the previous three Experience albums, but there are some solid reasons for that too. First, this comes from a sole concert that was most likely under-rehearsed and comes with the "warts an'all". For my part, I keep the album for Machine Gun and a fourth Hendrix album in my collection.

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