The Capitol Years 65/77

There's one obvious area where you can trace the lineage of [a]Jimi Hendrix[/a]'s oeuvre to present-day rock....

There’s one obvious area where you can trace the lineage of [a]Jimi Hendrix[/a]’s oeuvre to present-day rock. The way he snobbishly refuses to do any of the songs people want to hear. And if Mr Hendrix wants to do [I]two separate [/I]versions of ‘Machine Gun’ spanning over 25 minutes, then he bloody well will. No matter that after the 17th time the uck-achucka ‘guitar as machine gun’ trick becomes a tad predictable, just marvel at the ‘wizard’ at work! Zzzz.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1969, and with The Experience recently departed, our hero is backed by Buddy Miles on drums and old mucker Billy Cox on bass. Not that they would be so presumptuous as to impinge on Mr Hendrix‘s flights of fretwank fancy. And so most of this double live album consists of songs that are quite good for 30 seconds at the beginning and the end, when they play something resembling the original, but severely taxing for ten minutes in the middle. Fleetingly, his famous incendiary instrumentalism bursts into flame, but more often he’s repeating the same showy motifs until he comprehensively rogers himself with his own wang bar.

After a few spliffs, you can get into the likes of ‘Power Of Soul’ and ‘Stop’ because there’s a relentless groove amid all the indulgence. Likewise, a Mogadon-slow version of ‘Wild Thing’ is actually vaguely funky. Yet they would have done better continuing in the vein of ‘Changes’ where Jimi is harnessed to a writhing R&B riff as Buddy Miles does his best Steve Winwood vocals.

Otherwise, compared with the already released, much tighter 1968 set ‘Live At Winterland’, this is the sound of a formidable muse finally getting too big for its own fretboard.