Hendrix Family: Re-issue Band Of Gypsies

I don’t know if you’ve read this new Rollingstone article. If you just clicked that link, then of course you have. And if you did then the gist of it is as recognizable to any Hendrix fan as it is to me because I consider myself to be one of his greatest fans. Jimi Hendrix to me not only represents the “everlasting yeah” that Bill Hicks has described, a state of guitar nirvana that has never been reached before and probably will never be reached again, not only one of the greatest songwriters of all time penning thoughtful lyrics to juicy tunes, but the greatest single encapsulation of the Seattle attitude ever. My condolences to fellow 27-club member and Seattle-ite Kurt Cobain (although neither hailed from the city itself). Jimi Hendrix represents a blues player not only steeped in traditions Clapton could only approximate, but adept at all sorts of guitar trickery that Clapton never even dreamed of. In fact, I think Jimi Hendrix is the reason Clapton decided to mellow the fuck out and stick to the sidelines even on records credited to him. If you think I’m down on Clapton remember that this is from a guitar student who (like Eddie Van Halen) considers Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton to be perhaps the greatest guitar record of all time.

Now, as for what the article portends, I’d like to personally make an honest entreaty to the Hendrix Family and its overlord be she benevolent or malevolent, Janie Hendrix. Janie Hendrix, we have so much of Jimi’s catalogue reissued at this point, in sound that may not be a new transfer but nonetheless is presented in superior quality. We have First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, which was meant to correct the sins of The Cry Of Love, Rainbow Bridge, and even a third posthumous album that record company scum at the time felt fit to issue after the musician’s untimely demise. We also have South Saturn Delta, BBC Sessions, Jimi At Woodstock, Valleys Of Neptune, the truly awesome West Coast Seattle Boy, and even a reissue of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set with bonus tracks- all of which show varying degrees of quality.

All of these are great in my eyes because they always represent new views of an amazing artist whose talents were so prodigious that even his out-take material represented better material than 95% of the crap that passes for entertainment- in all eras. But we have West Coast Seattle Boy now, which documents portions of those legendary New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day shows of 1969-1970 with Band Of Gypsies. Hendrix Family, what I want as a fan, what I’m willing to pay money for, is for the rest of the recordings of these historic dates. I want “Who Knows”, “Machine Gun”, and “Power Of Soul” from Band Of Gypsies. I want “Stop”, “Message To Love”, and “Burning Desire” from Live At Fillmore East, but mostly I want you to dig deep into those tapes and give me the full experience of “We Gotta Live Together”, Buddy Miles’s masterpiece that for whatever reason hasn’t seen the full light of day.

I don’t know what the hell you’re sitting on the complete tape for! Does Buddy break out into a totally anti-white-man rant in the middle of the “we gotta live together” chants that he’s doing “just like in Church, now”? Does he break out like a Tourette’s-syndrome patient into a bunch of “crackers” unexpectedly, mid drum-riff? Does he call for a revolution against the then-nascent Reagan administration over its activities in Vietname and kow-towing to Henry Kissinger? Speaking of which, this is becoming like that 18 minutes of tape missing from Nixon’s private recordings that everybody was talking about for Watergate. I don’t know what the hell he’s up to for a mysterious some 4 minutes or so missing from the total song length, missing even from the extended version featured on Live At Fillmore East. Or is it even Jimi who goes off track during the recording? Maybe he’s decided enough of the everlasting “yeah” and gone with the everlasting “no” instead for a change.

Whatever the case, I, as a Jimi Hendrix fan, want those god damn tapes. BTW, any bootleggers want to send me CD transfers of those original tapes are more than welcome. Contact me. Hendrix Family, you can do a lot better by us fans to release those concerts or even just the original Band Of Gypsies album by itself than you could to release those bastardization Hendrix releases, The Cry Of Love and Rainbow Bridge. Please see the error of your ways and understand that if even Robin Thicke can pay tribute to Hendrix/Band Of Gypsies, if only in an album cover then there has to be something there that you could bury the hatchet with Buddy Miles, no matter what his demands are for the portion of his songs that were included purposefully on the recording and approved by Jimi himself. Short of being a snuff death recording (of which I’m damn sure it’s not!), Hendrix Family, release these tapes!

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