Tag Archives: jimi hendrix

(1974 Albums) Jimi Hendrix – In the West / Loose Ends

I got rid of “In The West” somewhere along the way. To be honest I couldn’t remember anything about it and so had to go-a-googling for some answers.

It was a live album apparently, featuring performances from as far apart as San Diego, California, London’s Royal Albert Hall and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

The tracklisting looks impressive too, featuring not only some of Jimi’s most well-known numbers (“Little Wing”, Voodoo Chile”) but a rendition of The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band”

You’d think I’d have some kind of recall for something as outwardly impressive as this, but I don’t. Not a note.

By way of a peculiar contrast I can air guitar along to “Loose Ends” from start to finish, despite it being amongst Jimi’s least known albums.

It was embroiled in controversy from the beginning. It’s a posthumous collection of studio outtakes and jams with only one track – “The Stars That Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice” – ever authorized for official release by Hendrix’s estate

Needless to say this collection has never seen a full (legal) CD release and has been twisted up in legal probate ever since 1974. It also goes without saying that had I actually kept a hold of the vinyl from all those years ago I could probably take the wife out for a decent slap up meal on the proceeds of an eBay sale.

Trivia freaks may wish to know that this album was never released in the USA, Jimi’s record company there – Warner Brothers – deeming all the material on it “sub-par”. No qualms in Europe though where Polydor doubtless added a few bob to their coffers with this post-death cash-in.

Something in the back of my brain says that I picked up at least one, if not both of these albums from a seller’s cart at Eastleigh market. So probably second-hand and probably cheap.

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(1974 Albums) Various Artists – The House That Track Built

I believe I bought this Track Records budget compilation from Woolworths’ music department in Eastleigh.

In terms of a budget compilation it certainly had a LOT going for it. Here’s the track listing….
• The Who – Magic Bus
• Jimi Hendrix Experience – All along the Watchtower
• The Sandpebbles – Love Power
• The Who – Young Man Blues
• The Precisions – If this is Love
• Thunderclap Newman – Wilhemina
• John’s Children – Desdemona
• The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire
• Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze
• The Parliaments – (I Wanna) Testify
• Fairport Convention – If I had a Ribbon Bow
• The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Devil’s Grip
• The Who – A Quick One While He’s Away

Track Records was a label set up by The Who’s managers, Chris Stamp &  Kit Lambert, so it’s no wonder that their boys get the lion’s share of cuts, and “Magic Bus” has always been one of my favourite Townshend & Co cuts (outside of the “Quadrophenia” album… more about that in a later post).

For the unaware, John’s Children was an early incarnation of T.Rex’s Marc Bolan. The cut here, “Desdemona“, was actually banned by the BBC when it came out, the lyric “Lift up your skirt and fly” evidently corrupting the youth of Britain. There’s really no doubting Bolan’s distinctive warble in the background is there?

Fire” is, as this blog has mentioned before, a psychedelic prog rock classic of the very highest order. We tip our (probably flaming) hat to Arthur Brown for that one!

The Sandpebbles “Love Power” was their one and only R&B hit (at least, in the USA), whilst The Precisions – another R&B offering by Track – were probably the only Motown-sounding band from Detroit who weren’t actually signed to Motown!

Let’s face it, Fairport Convention are never worth talking about. 

The Parliaments - that's George Clinton on the right!

However, The Parliaments are hugely notable for being the precursor to Funkadelic & Parliament, all featuring the one and only P-funkmeister; Mr George Clinton. (Many of The Parliaments songs were later re-recorded by both bands after a label dispute was settled in the early 70’s)

Thunderclap Newman had one hit single during their brief career, the sublime “Something in the Air“. Newman himself was a Dixieland jazz pianist, whilst the band featured not only an uncredited Pete Townshend on guitar, but a 15-year-old axe virtuoso, Jimmy McCullogh, who later went on to play in Stone the Crows, Paul McCartney’s Wings and an ill-advised 1977 reformation of The Small Faces. (McCullogh died of a heroin overdose in 1979, aged just 26)

You do have to say though that for the Hendrix and Who tracks alone this album was worth every penny of its entrance fee. Surprisingly, it wasn’t an album I held on to… which in retrospect is one hell of a shame as original UK copies regularly fetch three figure sums on the likes of eBay. (Mainly because it’s the only album where that studio version of The Who’s “Young Man Blues” appears)

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Just to let you know, EFA70sTRO posts will continue to appear a little sporadically for a week or so. This is due to the necessary ‘catch up’ following my battle with the flu. Once again, apologies to all the regular readers out there.

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(1974 Album) Fat Mattress – Fat Mattress

Fat what now?

I do believe this is another album purchased “on sale” at one of Eastleigh’s record emporiums. If I was a betting man I’d guess Woolworth’s clearance bins.

In terms of pedigree, Fat Mattress’ is quite the intriguing mish-mash.

The band was formed by Jimi Hendrix’s bassist Noel Redding on the precept that it would allow him more freedom than he was able to enjoy as a member of the Experience.

Redding added Neil Landon, an ex-vocalist with The Ivy League (who had enjoyed a few 60’s hits including “Funny How Love Can Be“) who was also the singer on The Flowerpot Men’s wonderful beach Boys pastiche “Let’s Go To San Francisco” in 1967.

Landon and Redding were joined by guitarist Jim Leverton and drummer Mike Dillon, the latter of whom was snagged – I kid you not – from… Englebert Humperdinck‘s backing band!

Given the Hendrix connection Fat Mattress were quickly signed to the Polydor label in 1969. The same year saw the release of this eponymous debut album, a hit single in Holland, an appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival and a tour of America supporting… let’s see now… oh yes, the Jimi Hendrix Experience! Redding would actually play in BOTH bands every night.

The band released a second album in 1970 (entitled “Fat Mattress 2” – *sigh*) and then… promptly split up.

I know nothing more about this album, could not even tell you the title of one track, let alone hum it. I seem to vaguely recall eventually trading it with one of the guys I worked with at Lancaster & Crook, but for what I can’t remember.

I was obviously still buying albums based on price and ‘on a whim’

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An Aside – My “History of Music” Project: Part VIII

 There’s a ‘taste of my American future’ with my spelling of “realised“, duly marked as incorrect – and quite rightly too – by the teacher.

Shame he didn’t also notice my spelling of philosophy.

That “wild man of borneo” comment could almost be considered racist these days. Maybe it was back then too, and I just didn’t know better?

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March 19th 1973

“Got pulled out of assembly by Jim Barry – only a homework check (phew)” / “Went up Nigs in the evng. He lent me Sing Bro Sing + Rainbow Bridge”

I must have had some kind of guilt complex if the “phew” comment is to be believed? What WAS a homework check anyway? Was it to check on me, or the teachers teaching me?

I have already written as eloquently as I can possibly can about the delights of Edgar Broughton Band’s “Sing Brother Sing” album.

Rainbow Bridge” was my 15-year-old introduction to rock god Jimi Hendrix.

Rainbow Bridge” was – supposed to be – the soundtrack to a 1972 documentary film by Chick Wein. The film features footage from a free concert Hendrix performed at on the island of Maui in 1970… just months before his tragic death in a London apartment.

However, the “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” tag given to the album release is something of a dubious misnomer. The sound recording from the concert itself was of such appalling quality that other Hendrix tapings were instead cobbled together to form the finished result.

Because of this, the album – as was – has never been released on (official) CD or other formats. I’ll guess it’s all mired in what the music industry likes to call “legal difficulties’.

To be honest, I can’t remember much about the album at all… bar two important bits. I do recall that the album started off with Hendrix’s awesome “Dolly Dagger“, but that as good as that opener may have been, it paled in comparison to his immense string-bending interpretation of the “Star Spangled Banner“.

Indeed, so memorable is his version of the USA national anthem (I have a nasty ‘american unfriendly’ habit of calling it the “Star Bungled Spanner“) it is Hendrix’s I judge all other versions against whenever I am ‘forced’ to rise from my seat and ‘turn to the flag’ at the Cincinnati Reds stadium prior to baseball games I attend. Therefore that boy scout troop doing it on trumpets and that elderly ‘operatic’ duo don’t stand a chance.

I don’t think there’s ever been – nor will there ever be – a more gifted and entirely natural guitar player than Hendrix. The guy used to tune his guitar whilst he was playing for goodness sake!

However, I’ve never been entirely convinced his recorded output ever matched his considerable skills and there’s not one Hendrix album I personally consider to be his “best”. Instead, each and every one either seems to cram too many ‘filler’ cuts or, worse, are badly – and muddily – produced. I do have a favourite however, and it is the peculiar posthumous release “Loose Ends“, which is pretty much a compilation of studio outtakes. It’s another album mired in those tenuous “legal difficulties” – for whatever reason – and has likewise been absent from any official release schedule since the advent of CD. I won’t pontificate about it too much – I am sure it will turn up as a feature in a future diary entry – suffice to say that the version of “The  Stars that Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice” that appears on it never fails to blow my tiny little mind whenever my trusty iPod pulls it out of shuffle.

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January 22nd 1973

“Got Tarkus bak” / “FOUND HISTORY BOOK (This’ll go down in ‘istory)” / “Went up Nigs, Mal there – listened to ELP (grate) + Cat Stevens (ugh)”

Uppercase for FOUND HISTORY BOOK eh? That means it was a MUCH bigger deal than earlier posts about its loss may have suggested.

Oh, and a ‘joke’ about the discovery. I’ll bet Tommy Cooper was quaking in his boots.

The final part of this entry has me slapping my head with a certain amount of shame.

Naturally I would have said ELP were grate in fact it may have been the case that I forced Nig & Mal to listen to them? – but to castigate the (IMHO) mighty Cat Stevens with a lousy ugh is deeply embarrassing to me now.

If I was a betting man – which, it has to be said, I am sometimes – I’ll lay odds that the Cat Stevens album we listened to that night was “Catch Bull at Four

Cat Stevens was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in 1948 and spent his early life living above the restaurant his family owned just off London’s Piccadilly Circus. He learned to play the piano in his early teens, extending his skills to the guitar at 15 years old, when he also started writing his own songs.

He started playing them in pubs and coffee houses in and around London, changing his name to “Cat Stevens” when he realised that he couldn’t imagine anyone going into a record shop and asking for an album by “that Steven Demetre Georgiou” (He was right)

He recorded a few demos for Deram Records, which led to a contract. He then had three hit singles in a row. “I Love My Dog“, “Matthew & Son” and “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun“, of which only the first would come to represent the eventual ‘Cat Stevens sound’. (The other two, however, are MAGNIFICENT slices of 60’s orchestral beat, loved by aficionados like myself)

On the strength of his hits, he toured with the (somewhat varied) likes of Jimi Hendrix and Englebert Humperdinck, and was marketed very much as a ‘pop star’.

Things changed drastically in the late 60’s for Cat. His album “New Masters* inexplicably flopped and in 1968 he became very ill with both tuberculosis and a collapsed lung.

His approach to life altered during his convalescence. He became a vegetarian, took up meditation and generally became more spiritual. It is said that during this period of ‘self-awakening’ he wrote the vast majority of all his subsequent recorded songs.

Unhappy with his ‘pop star’ status and wanting to work on a more folksier sound, he swapped record labels, signing for Chris Blackwell‘s influential Island Records. (Licensed to A&M in the USA)

The move was a resounding success. His first album for Island, “Mona Bone Jakon“, yielded the hit single “Lady D’Arbanville”, whilst the follow-up “Tea for the Tillerman” sent his signature sounds into the international stratosphere, selling ‘gold’ in both the USA and the UK, helped along by more hit singles like “Wild World

A brief romance with Carly Simon preceeded the release of the “Teaser & the Firecat” album in 1971. This was very much a tour de force which yielded a trio of massive hit singles in the shape of “Peace Train“, “Morning has Broken” and “Moon Shadow

Which brings us to “Catch Bull at Four“, a release that reached Number 1 in the USA, number 2 in the UK, eventually sold almost 3 million copies, yielded a couple of hit singles (in “Can’t Keep It In” and “Sitting“)….. but was reviewed as “ugh” by first-time listener TRO!

Cat: Then & Now

Stevens converted to the Islamic faith in 1977, his pop career faltered and he changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He stayed out of the headlines until 1989 when he made an unfortunate and ill-advised statement in support of the Islamic fatwa on author Salmon Rushdie. Needless to say his prior protestations of ‘peace’ on so many beautiful songs were undermined and he became somewhat ‘hated’ by the press and certain ignorant elements of society.

More recently he has gently nudged his way back into public consciousness and returned to the studio to record “An Other Cup“, an album which is ‘classic’ Cat Stevens in sound, but feels a little laboured and ‘old fashioned’ in construction. He’s returned to live performances too, including turning up at the “Peace One Day” concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007.

Like I’ve said, I feel embarrassed about my review of “Catch Bull at Four“. I adore almost the entire Cat Stevens output up to (but not including all of) “Izitso” in 1977. To have castigated him so readily in 1973 is an insult to both Cat Stevens and my own pair of ears! Maybe proof that “first listens” don’t always count (as I tend to otherwise believe)

* Trivia Corner:- The”New Masters” album included the song “The First Cut is the Deepest” which Stevens sold to PP Arnold. Arnold had a massive hit with her version, and it was later also covered with *ahem* considerable international success by Rod Stewart, James Morrison, Sheryl Crow and others. However, Cat sold the song for…… £30! *oops!*

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February 26th 1972

“Bought The House that Track Built”

Until I read this diary entry, I had forgotten all about this compilation album which enticed music buyers to further investigate other stuff released on the Who’s “own” label, Track Records.

I could not have been 100% impressed with it at the time, because I certainly didn’t own it in my later teenage years, so I presumably must have sold it on, or swapped it with someone for something else?

Bit of a shame really, as it’s now worth quite the pretty penny or two. £50 ($100) or so in good condition, to be precise.

But look what it introduced to an easily-influenced 14-year-old boy in 1972!

• The Who – Magic Bus / Young Man Blues / A Quick One While He’s Away
• Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower / Purple Haze
• The Sand Pebbles – Love Power
• Precisions – This is Love
• John’s Children – Desdemona
• Fairport Convention – If I had A Ribbon Bow
• Thunderclap Newman – Wilhelmina
• The Parliaments – I Wanna Testify
• The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – Fire / Devil’s Grip

“Magic Bus” and “Fire” remain two of my most enjoyed cuts from the 60’s.

Years later I caught a video of Arthur Brown’s performance of Fire on TV and laughed my head off….

Trivia freaks might like to know that the drummer in the paper bag mask is none other than Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer (oh, and Asia)

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