Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland


Hendrix's third recording, a double album, Electric Ladyland (1968), was a departure from previous efforts. Following his third and penultimate French concert at the Paris Olympia, Hendrix flew to the US to start his first tour there, after two months of this he returned to his Electric Ladyland project at the newly opened Record Plant studios with engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren and initially Chas Chandler as producer.

As the album's recording progressed, Chas Chandler became so frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism and with various friends and hangers-on milling about the studio that he decided to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix. Chandler's professional and musical education was very business-oriented, and it taught him that songs should be recorded in a matter of hours, and written with a view to releasing them as singles. His influence over the Experience's first two albums is clear in light of the facts that very few of the tracks are more than four minutes long, that both albums were recorded in a short time, and that most of the songs on both albums conformed to the structure of a typical pop song. However, as Hendrix began developing his own vision and started to assert more control over the artistic process in the studio, Chandler decided to move to other opportunities and ceded overall control to Hendrix. Chandler's departure had a clear impact on the artistic direction that the recording took.

Hendrix began experimenting with different combinations of musicians and instruments, and modern electronic effects. For example, Dave Mason, Chris Wood, and Steve Winwood from the band Traffic, drummer Buddy Miles and former Bob Dylan organist Al Kooper, among others, were all involved in the recording sessions. This was one of the other reasons that Chandler cited as precipitating his departure. He described how Hendrix went from a disciplined recording regimen to an erratic schedule, which often saw him beginning recording sessions in the middle of the night and with any number of hangers-on.

Chandler also expressed exasperation at the number of times Hendrix would insist on re-recording particular tracks; the song "Gypsy Eyes" was reportedly recorded 43 times. This was also frustrating for bassist Noel Redding, who would often leave the studio to calm himself, only to return and find that Hendrix had recorded the bass parts himself during Redding's absence. The effects of these events can clearly be identified in the album's musical style. On a purely superficial level, the tracks no longer conformed to the standard pop song format, often lacked easily identifiable patterns or sections, and would sometimes lack even a recognizable melody. More particularly, however, the themes that the songs addressed, and the music that Hendrix set out to record, went far beyond anything that he had attempted to achieve before.

Electric Ladyland includes a number of compositions and arrangements for which Hendrix is still remembered. These include "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" as well as Hendrix's rendition of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". Hendrix's version was a complete departure from the original, and includes one of the most highly praised guitar arrangements in modern music.

Throughout the four years of his fame Hendrix often appeared at impromptu jams with various musicians, such as BB King. In March 1968, Jim Morrison of The Doors joined Hendrix onstage at New York's Scene Club. Albums of this Electric Ladyland-era bootleg recording were released under various titles, originally "High, Live, 'N Dirty", then "Live at the Scene Club", and then "Woke up this Morning and Found Myself Dead". Some falsely claiming the presence of Johnny Winter, who has denied, several times, being a participant at that jam session, and to ever having met Morrison.


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