Development of the British Blues and Rhythm--- show 17 --- 10-22-2014
Graham Bond 1966 (Solid Bond)
Jimi Hendrix 1967
Mayall with Green 1967
Just when I think we’ve seen the last of Alexis Korner until we get to the 1984 tribute concert in his honor, here he appears again at the end of our opening set in his role as radio host with none other than Jimi Hendrix as his guest. Granted, Korner is only represented on one track, but he does accept Jimi’s invitation to add some bottleneck guitar to the session. This and the entire first set are taken from Radio One, a collection of Jimi’s BBC broadcasts. The reason there is only the one tune from Alexis Korner’s Rhythm & Blues Show is that it was only a twenty minute session that was broadcast three times each week over the BBC’s World Service network, while the other programs (Saturday Club and Top Gear) were at least two hour weekly airings. This is maybe my favorite Hendrix CD because it best shows his Blues and R&B roots and after his first album (which is more likely my very favorite because it recreated the mood he set at Monterey and I have had it for so long) he went away from the driving Rock to embrace the psychedelia in whose development he was so prominent in defining.
A 45 released to UK audiences in December 1966, climbing to number 6, led to a February BBC session where the band played the two songs, Hey Joe and Stone Free along with Foxy Lady. That was followed up by the #3 single of Purple Haze and 51st Anniversary in March of 67, leading to a second Saturday Club taping the end of that month with Killing Floor, Fire and Purple Haze, all to show up today but in different versions.
Also that March was the first American release, Hey Joe backed by 51st Anniversary, which didn’t even chart. The Wind Cries Mary and Highway Chile climbed to #6 upon its May UK release, the same month that the UK version of the Are You Experienced album reached #2.
Sales success finally hit stateside in August of 1967, two months after the band’s Monterey debut, when the LP was the fifth-best seller. The same month’s release of Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary was likely stymied at #65 due to Hendrix being such a talked about commodity that people wanted as much as they could get and chose the album which contained both those tracks.
By now, Jimi was able to work about as much as he cared to and October is very well represented in my library, beginning the sixth with the first of two Top Gear sessions which produced Driving South and Catfish Blues and a couple of tunes we left out, Hound Dog and Burning of the Midnight Lamp. That recording was done on a Friday and by the next Thursday he began a three day gig in San Francisco, well represented on the album Live at Winterland even though we opted against using it due to time constraints. And the next Thursday, here he was again at the BBC to record Hoochie Koochie Man along with Korner. A busy twelve days! The December recording for Top Gear brought the Radio One Theme we opened with and Hear My Train a-Comin’. as well as a trio of unused tunes, Day Tripper, Wait Until Tomorrow and Spanish Castle Magic There are also a half dozen tunes from the Experinced album for our second Hendrix set (four more show up in the final set’s live Monterey versions, played in full).
Backtracking in time a little bit for our closing set, allow me to tell you my own experiences surrounding Sunday’s Monterey Pop Festival. It was not unusual when my friends’ band, the Druids, played a gig for me to be hanging out, as was the case on a summer Saturday evening in 1967, but after this particular night three of us decided to go down to catch the Who as they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. After we all gathered changes of clothes, we took the post-midnight drive in Mark’s car, which was so small he wouldn’t allow me to tap my feet to the music because it shook the vehicle. Seriously. So when we got to the fairgrounds well before sunrise, it wasn’t very comfortable for me trying to grab some shut eye in the back seat or Mark taking over the front. Most likely, Steve got the best rest by laying his body down outside.
So when the daylight began to shine through, we went to the sales window expecting to get tickets but none were available. The lady said, however, to check back again and they would hold the first cancellation of a set of three for us. The fairgrounds was a new type of experience to me as everything was geared to the youthful musically-inclined crowd with booths filled with hippie crafts, posters and sundry types of paraphernalia.
When we went back to see about the tickets, indeed a cancellation had come in and we were set for the evening show. Now secure in our quest, we roamed about the grounds soaking in the afternoon’s atmosphere including Ravi Shankar in the background, who performed for the entire afternoon show. We ran into a knowledgeable musician friend of Steve’s from high school who told us, yeah, the Who are going to be great, but get ready for this black cat coming back from England with his new band.
Actually, the whole lineup was of the highest calibre. The Blues Project opened the show, followed by Buffalo Springfield. I don’t remember anything really about the Band with No Name, but if they weren’t up to snuff I’m sure I would recall. Janis Joplin and Big Brother had impressed well enough the day before to be given a return set, I believe because one of the scheduled bands couldn’t make it. I had never seen them better, and they set the stage for the headlining Who. Actually, I don’t think either Hendrix or the Who were considered the feature artist and, legend has it, neither wanted to follow the other but Jimi lost out in a coin toss or some such thing. The Who were fantastic, everything we were expecting and more and, as was their norm, finished up My Generation with Peter Townsend smashing his guitar to wind up a full set of Roger Daltry flinging his microphone around his head like a cowboy’s lariat, John Entwhistle running ridiculously rapid riffs on the bass guitar and Kieth Moon flailing furiously away at his drum kit like no one else could.
I’ve never been a fan of the Grateful Dead, and the letdown in energy that they showed sandwiched in between the Who and Hendrix did not raise my esteem for them at all. So when Jimi came on stage, he had no problem getting the crowd worked back into a frenzy. Everyone is likely aware of the burning of his guitar to counteract the Who’s destructive exhibition.
The Who had played the weekend before at the old Fillmore and Hendrix was there the weekend after to make their California visits feasible and, while I can’t recall who I went with, there was no way I was going to miss a second opportunity to see Hendrix. The only other time I saw him was on the same bill (at Winterland to my best recollection) as Albert King and John Mayall. Since Hendrix had moved more psychedelic than I prefer, it was the Bluesbreakers I went mainly to see, a disappointment because Mick Taylor’s amp was messed up that night and you could not hear his guitar well at all. But the left-handed guitars of Albert and Jimi certainly made up for it in their performances. As a closing thought, it occurs to me I should mention that drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding were the other components in the Hendrix trio.
*************************The smallest portion of today’s show is another grouping of the Graham Bond ORGANization. This was at the time (1966, from the Solid Bond CD) when Baker and Bruce had just departed to form Cream. I’m not sure who is playing bass or if it might even be from Bond’s organ, making it a three piece with holdover Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophones and Jon Hiseman taking over behind the drum kit. To my knowledge this is the first pairing of Dick and Jon, but the two would move next to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (including the recording of the Bare Wires LP) and then put together a very interesting group, Colosseum.
I will have to check out the Bare Wires LP again because it didn’t grab me as the follow-up to the Bluesbreakers’ first three American LPs, but Hiseman has impressed me so with what, at least to my limited exposure to Jazz drumming, appears to be a unique rolling style that makes me wish to hear more. Another Jazz-based drummer, and the mentor of Ginger Baker, I am trying to learn more of is Phil Seamen, although his heroin addiction greatly hindered his career. Hopefully, there will be more to come on him as well.
*************************While we should be hearing things from the Bare Wires album next show, Mayall is presented today with Peter Green, joining the Bluesbreakers for the second time now that Eric Clapton moved on becoming the best-known character in Cream. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but Clapton had departed the Bluesbreakers earlier to try his hand at playing in Greece and Green actively pursued Mayall to let him join the band as his replacement. Mayall was hesitant but finally gave in to Green’s persistence, only to have to release him after about a week when his established star Clapton returned to the fold. The experience disappointed Green immensely and he was justifiably reluctant to rejoin but finally gave in. It was while with the Bluesbreakers that he met Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, the rhythm section that would soon become Fleetwood Mac upon Peter’s leaving Mayall in May of 1967 after less than a year
The foundation for our sets are the LP A Hard Road, but the CDs Looking Back and Thru the Years provide us with extra material, mostly singles from many Bluesbreaker ensembles but a strong smattering with Peter Green. While Aynsley Dunbar was the drummer most often (including the LP), Mick Fleetwood does show up on two sides, Double Trouble and It Hurts Me Too, not presented today. The album sessions also included the horns of Johnny Almond, Alan Skidmore and Ray Warleigh. Since we’re getting pedantic about the players, and it seems to me that by including their names is about the only way to give validity to the idea of this showing the development of the British music scene, it seems proper to mention that I have an oddity with the dates. Clearly after Mick Taylor had joined the band, Green came back in early December to record two sides of the ninth Mayall single, Jenny featuring only Mayall and Green and its B-side Pictures, which added Keef Hartley but only providing percussive tapping on the back of a guitar.
*************************Radio One Theme
Hear My Train a-Comin’
(I’m Your) Hoochie Koochie Man
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Looking BackSo Many Roads
Sitting in the Rain
Evil Woman Blues
Out of Reach
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
Manic DepressionLove or Confusion
May This Be Love
I Don’t Live Today
Are You Experienced
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Springtime in the City
Long Legged Baby
It’s Not Goodbye
The Graham Bond ORGANization
You Don’t Love MeThe Stumble
Dust My Broom
There’s Always Work (only if time permits)
The Same Way
Mama Talk to Your Daughter
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
Killing FloorFoxy Lady
Like a Rolling Stone
Rock Me Baby
Can You See Me
The Wind Cries Mary
The Jimi Hendrix Experience