Thursday, December 20, 2012
In December, 1969, Jimi Hendrix continued to defy other guitarists, who to this day are unable to duplicate what he could do on an electric guitar, and spelling purists. He accomplished the latter by naming his new band, which was to replace The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Band of Gypsys. The more conventional spelling would be Gypsies, of course, but then, Jimi never did anything the conventional way.
He had hired veteran drummer Buddy Miles to slam the skins, and Billy Cox (not to be confused with the old Dodger third baseman) to play bass. Cox and Jimi had become friends while serving in the US Army together in 1961 at Fort Campbell, KY.
Jimi and the band were booked for the holidays of '69-'70 at the Fillmore East, the legendary rock concert hall in New York. There were new songs ready for the band - most notably "Machine Gun" - but Jimi wanted to do something special.
While rehearsing for the shows at Baggy's Studios in Manhattan, the band wove together the melodies (melodys?) of The Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, and Auld Lang Syne. Someone wisely hit the "record" button, and we are left with these holiday treasures to enjoy, 43 years later. At the concerts on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, The Little Drummer Boy and Auld Lang Syne wound up as parts of medleys with other songs.
If you'd like to hear this tripartite medley, YouTube is standing by. Just go here and enjoy!
The album of the concerts was released in March of 1970, the last to come out during Hendrix's life, which ended that September.
We don't have any way to know which direction his career might have taken, but it's good to hear his music again.