Celebrating Jimi Hendrix’s 71th Birthday

Crosstown Traffic Alert: Train A Comin!

The DVD comes out the same day as the PBS documentary.

The DVD comes out the same day as the PBS documentary.

by Tom Warner and Scott Huffines

(November 5, 2013) – Tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS, American Masters will present a new two-hour documentary on pioneering rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix (Nov. 27, 1942 – Sept. 18, 1970), Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’. It’s part of a year-long celebration for the iconic rock star who would have turned 71 this month, and includes archival performance footage and interviews with Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Vernon Reid, Billy Gibbons, Dweezil Zappa, and Dave Mason, as well as former Hendrix band members Noel Redding, Mitch Miller and Billy Cox.

Besides focusing on his music, the program is notable for exploring Hendrix’s other great love:  women. According to the American Masters web site, the film “features  revealing glimpses into the three women closest to him: Linda Keith (the girlfriend who introduced Jimi to future manager Chas Chandler), Faye Pridgon (who befriended Hendrix in Harlem in the early 1960s) and Colette Mimram (one of the era’s most influential fashion trendsetters who provided inspiration for Hendrix’s signature look and created such memorable stage costumes as the beaded jacket Hendrix famously wore at Woodstock).”

The documentary is directed by Bob Smeaton and, yes, he is experienced, having previously worked on such music-themed films as The Beatles Anthology, Festival Express and the Hendrix projects Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child (2010) and Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock (2012). He told Shadow and Act that what attracted him to the documentary was moving beyond interviews with Hendrix’s male peer musicians and talking to the ladies. “They say, ‘He was shy,’ or ‘He was gentle.’ The women bring an interesting insight, and maybe for once we know more about him.”

Watch the American Masters trailer for tonight’s special.

We can’t wait and already have the DVR set up to record it – but fear not, Hendrix fans! If you miss tonight’s broadcast, the Blu-ray and DVD are being released the same day. In fact, the DVD package will be accompanied by a CD with a previously-unreleased 1968 concert recording by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Miami Pop Festival that year.

Hendrix Was Here. 

As we celebrate Hendrix’s birth month, let us not forget the days when Hendrix played Baltimore and surrounding areas.

One of his most notable stops in Charm City, over 43 years ago, was a June 13, 1970 show at the Baltimore Civic Center – a gig that became a legendary bootleg and the last time Jimi would ever pass through our town. He died three months later that year.

The Baltimore 1970 bootleg.

The Baltimore 1970 bootleg.

Hendrix’s band that day featured Billy Cox on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The setlist was:
01. Pass It On
02. Lover Man
03. Machine Gun
04. Ezy Ryder
05. Red House
06. Message To Love
07. Hey Joe
08. Freedom
09. Hear My Train A Comin’
10. Room Full Of Mirrors
11. Foxy Lady
12. Purple Haze
13. Star Spangled Banner
14. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Keep On Groovin’

According to Rock On Vinyl, “The source…is an excellent audience recording captured on a Panasonic portable reel to reel tape recorder and has been ripped to mp3 (320kps). This bootleg has been released under a variety titles and artwork…Normally, audience recordings are fairly poor quality, but this one is an exception. Although there are some crowd noises the clarity of the music is first class and this bootleg is a must for any Hendrix collection.” (See the blog Rockonviny for details about this show, whose bill also included Cactus and Ballin’ Jack.)

Baltimore Civic Center, June 13, 1970. Tix as low as $4.50.

Baltimore Civic Center, June 13, 1970. Tix as low as $4.50.

Baltimore Civic Center, June 13, 1970. Were You Experienced there?

Baltimore Civic Center, June 13, 1970. Were You Experienced there?

Jimi Hendrix- Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland 6/13/70
Synced to 8mm home movie footage shot at the concert.

Jimi Hendrix- Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland 6/13/70

wilson mcphert

The following is an excerpt from a review of the concert by James Dilts in the Baltimore Sun, June 21, 1970:

“Jimi Hendrix appears, resplendent in a purple ruffled shirt, green bell-bottoms, a silver spangled vest that ended at the shoulder blades, a multi-coloured headband that trailed down his neck, a bright silk scarf tied to his left arm, and a fringe belt that hung down his right leg. Hendrix seems to have given up the sideshow antics, except for a brief few bars near the end of the concert when he played the guitar with his teeth….It’s just that music is now at the center of the group’s presentation which is, of course, where it should be…

…After a final number, one fist raised in the symbol of rebellion, the other giving the peace sign, Hendrix was off the stage as quickly as he had appeared. “Right on” shouted several people in the crowd. Nobody’s Going To Upstage Hendrix!”

Jimi Hendrix- Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, Maryland, 5/16/69

Hendrix also played the Civic Center in 1969. Here’s the poster created by David Byrd (Bill Graham’s exclusive Filmore Easter poster artist) for that show, reprinted courtesy of Wolfgang’s vault.


Hendrix Was Also There.

See also our pal Jeff Krulik’s excellent article – with David Montgomery –  for the Washington Post about Hendrix playing DC in 1967: “When Jimi Hendrix came to Washington and blew its mind” (Washington Post, July 18, 2013).

This entry was posted in 1960s, 1970s, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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