Also due from Sony Legacy that Tuesday is a CD of Hendrix’s 1968 appearance at the Miami Pop Festival. Hendrix and the Experience were midway between “Axis Bold As Love” and “Electric Ladyland,” performing on a flatbed trailer at a race track. A 200 gram vinyl version comes numbered and limited.
Clips from the Miami appearances will be featured in the video documentary to be shown on “American Masters,” which was directed by Hendrix specialist Bob Smeaton (“Festival Express,” “The Beatles Anthology”). The Blu-ray/DVD packs in another 13 performances not being broadcast, including some from New York and German pop fests, the Hendrix estate said.
The documentary and Miami album are the final pieces of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Hendrix’s birth. The major push came for the “new” Hendrix studio album, “People, Hell and Angels,” which was pretty well received.
Smeaton told the New York Times he captured his best material in talks with Hendrix’s female friends. “The women bring an interesting insight, and maybe for once we know more about him,” he told the Times.
Smeaton, who has done several Hendrix documentaries working with Experience Hendrix, acknowledged it was a challenge to not get bogged down in familiar material. “That’s the hardest thing — trying to stay fresh.” Paul McCartney and Stevie Winwood are among the usual suspects singing the guitarist’s praises.
Longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer was on site at Gulfstream Park for the May 18, 1968, shows and recorded them. The band delivered its first recorded performances of “Hear My Train A Comin'” and “Tax Free.” Here is the track list:
- Hey Joe
- Foxey Lady
- Tax Free
- Hear My Train A Comin’
- I Don’t Live Today
- Red House
- Purple Haze
- Fire (afternoon show)
- Foxey Lady (afternoon show)
Sound star Bernie Grundman did the analog mastering for the double LP version. Kramer created new 5.1 and stereo mixes for the documentary, Experience Hendrix said.
The Miami Pop Festival of 1968 also featured adventurous sets by the Mothers of Invention and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Michael Lang of Woodstock fame was one of the producers.
Liner notes: I was there, barefoot and 14, blown away by all the freaks who seemingly came out of nowhere in the South Florida heat. While Hendrix’s performances at the race track appear to be legendary these days, my pals and I were underwhelmed.
Not Hendrix’s fault, really: The sound system at the outdoor venue simply couldn’t deliver enough volume to get across the band’s power. (At least not in the way we could at home, with the Hendrix albums played on 11.) I recall Mitch Mitchell flailing away, but you could barely hear him.
And, when the Hendrix evening show was over, John Lee Hooker followed him, one man and his guitar. Most people headed for the exits; we stayed at the announcer’s urging. Hooker delivered the goods and made Hendrix look a bit silly. Truth.
Here’s a preview of the new Hendrix docu:
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- “People, Hell and Angels” review
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- “EXP/Up From the Skies”: Top psychedelic song No. 41
- “Hey Joe”: Top psychedelic song No. 66
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