The singer’s performances at Ottawa’s Le Hibou Coffee House were captured by Hendrix in March 1968 during a two week residency by Mitchell ahead of the release of her debut album, ‘Song To A Seagull’.
Hendrix had performed at the nearby Capitol Theatre earlier that evening, and even noted plans to record her performance in his diary.
“Talked with Joni Mitchell on the phone. I think I’ll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood)… hmmm… can’t find any wood… everything’s plastic,” he wrote.
The recording, which now features on Mitchell’s upcoming collection ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971)’ was captured while Hendrix sat on the floor at the front of the stage.
Recalling the performance in the new collection’s sleeve notes, Mitchell said: “They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door.’ I went to meet him. He had a large box.
“He said to me, ‘My name is Jimi Hendrix. I’m on the same label as you. Reprise Records.’ We were both signed about the same time. He said, ‘I’d like to record your show. Do you mind?’ I said, ‘no, not at all.’ There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box.
“The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet. All during the show, he kept twisting knobs. He was engineering it, I don’t know what he was controlling, volume? He was watching the needles or something, messing with knobs. He beautifully recorded this tape. Of course I played part of the show to him. He was right below me.”
Hendrix’s tape was stolen a few days later and presumed to be lost, but it recently resurfaced in a private collection donated to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and returned to Mitchell.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed last week that Mitchell is among the artists set to be honoured as part of the 2021 Kennedy Center Honors.