Wednesday, April 19, 2017

VIDEOS: Jimi Hendrix Plays the Delta Blues on a 12-String Acoustic Guitar in 1968, and Jams with His Blues Idols, Buddy Guy and B.B. King

by , Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/2015/11/jimi-hendrix-play-the-delta-blues-on-a-12-string-acoustic-guitar.html


“I started playing the guitar about 6 or 7, maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I was influenced by everything at the same time, that’s why I can’t get it together now.”

When you listen to Jimi Hendrix, one of the last things you’re ever likely to think is that he couldn’t “get it together” as a guitarist. Hendrix made the characteristically modest statement in 1968, in a free form discussion about his influences with Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner and Baron Wolman.

“I used to like Buddy Holly,” he said, “and Eddie Cochran and Muddy Waters and Elvin James … B.B. King and so forth.” But his great love was Albert King, who “plays completely and strictly in one way, just straight funk blues.”


Since Hendrix’s death and subsequent enshrinement in pop culture as the undisputed master of psychedelic rock guitar, a number of posthumous releases have performed a kind of revisionism that situates him not strictly in the context of the hippie scene but rather in the blues tradition he so admired and that, in a sense, he came of age within as a session and backing guitarist for dozens of blues and R&B artists in the early 60s.

In 1994 came the straightforwardly-titled compilation album Blues, which celebrated the fact that “more than a third of [Hendrix’s] recordings were blues-oriented,” writes Allmusic’s Richie Unterberger, whether originals like “Red House” and “Hear My Train a Comin’” or covers of his heroes Muddy Waters and Albert King.

Martin Scorsese devoted a segment of his documentary series The Blues to Hendrix, and an ensuing 2003 album release featured even more Hendrix blues originals (with “pretty cool” liner notes about his blues record collecting habits). Prolific director Alex Gibney has a documentary forthcoming on Hendrix on the Blues.

It’s safe to say that Hendrix’s blues legacy is in safe hands, and it may be safe to say he would approve, or at least that he would have preferred to be linked to the blues, or classical music, than to what he called “freak-out psychedelic” music, as a Guardian review of Hendrix autobiography Starting at Zero quotes; “I don’t want anybody to stick a psychedelic label around my neck. Sooner Bach and Beethoven.” Or sooner, I’d imagine, blues legends like Albert King, Buddy Guy, and B.B. King, of whom Hendrix sat in awe.

At the top of the post, you can see Hendrix flex his Delta blues muscles on a 12-string acoustic guitar. Then in the video below it from 1968, Hendrix gets the chance to jam with Buddy Guy, after watching Guy work his magic from the audience (Hendrix joins Guy onstage to jam at 6:24). Beneath, see Guy and King reminiscing a few years ago about those days of meeting and playing with Hendrix.


During their conversation, you’ll learn where Hendrix picked up one of his stage tricks, playing the guitar behind his head - and learn how little Guy knew about Hendrix the rock star, coming to know him instead as a great blues guitarist. 

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

VIDEOS: Pink Floyd Performs on US Television for the First Time: American Bandstand, 1967

by , Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/2016/04/pink-floyd-performs-on-us-television-for-the-first-time-american-bandstand-1967.html


Pink Floyd - Apples And Oranges - 1967 American... by pentathlonstart

You may have noticed we’ve been in the midst of a mini-sixties revival for the past decade or so - what with the retro soul of Alabama Shakes or the late Amy Winehouse, the garage rock of Ty Segall, and the California psych of Australia’s Tame Impala.

That’s to name but just a few students of sixties’ sounds; many hundreds more populate events like the Psych Fests of Austin and Liverpool. And before these bands, late eighties/early nineties brought us a British re-invasion of sixties garage rock and pop like the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Chameleons, the Stone Roses, Oasis, and many other jangly, fuzzy, dreamy bands.

All of that is to say it’s nearly impossible to hear anything sixties rock with fresh ears. Not only has the incessant nostalgia dimmed our senses, but we’ve seen the ideas of the sixties evolve into myriad subcultures variously indebted to the decade, but no longer even in need of direct reference.

What would it mean, however, to hear the far-out sounds of a band like Pink Floyd for the first time, a band who may at times sound dated now, but much of whose more obscure catalog remains shocking. And it’s easy to forget that when Pink Floyd - or “The Pink Floyd” as they tended to be called - got their start with original singer and songwriter Syd Barrett, they made a much different sound than those we’re familiar with from The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon.

If you haven’t heard the sound of the band circa 1967, when they recorded their first album Piper at the Gates of Dawn, then you may nod along with Dick Clark’s ambivalent introduction of them to U.S. audiences in the ’67 American Bandstand appearance above - their first visit to the States and first time of TV.

They do indeed make “very interesting sounds”: specifically, “Apples and Oranges,” the third single and the final song Barrett wrote for the band before he suffered a psychotic break onstage and was replaced by David Gilmour. There isn’t much in the way of performance (but stick around for the interviews around 3:25).

As pretty much everyone did at the time, Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright mime to a pre-recorded track. And Barrett looks particularly out of it. He was close by this point to the crippling mental health crisis that would eventually end his career.


But Syd Barrett did not disappear from music right away. The unreleased “Scream Thy Last Scream,” slated to be the next single released after Piper at the Gates of Dawn, gave much indication of the musical direction he took in two 1970 solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.

Like later Barrett, early Pink Floyd is not music for everyone. Instead of the familiar stomping funk of “The Wall” or the soaring blues of “Comfortably Numb,” the songs meander, twist, turn, and wobble, often indicating the state of Barrett’s troubled soul, but just as often showcasing his brilliant compositional mind. Barrett is gone, as is keyboardist Richard Wright, and Pink Floyd is no more. But their legacy is secure. And we still have mad geniuses like Austin psych legend Roky Erickson to kick around, as well as all the many thousands of musicians he and Barrett inspired. 

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness