Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix – 1970

Band of Gypsys cover artI recall how we, my brother and ,I came to own Band of Gypsy’s, the fourth, the final, and the only live album by Jimi Hendrix – it came flying over the fence like a Frisbee.

jimi – flying high!

So, there we are in the backyard. It’s a warm Saturday afternoon and we’re hanging out like a couple of ten and twelve year old brothers would. The lady next door comes out and shouts something and hurls this record over the fence. It’s a copy of Band of Gypsys – the relatively new Jimi Hendrix live album.

Now, turns out the reason it came to be jettisoned over the fence is that her kids have been playing it on high, high rotation and she’s well and truly over it – their loss is our gain.

It’s not the first time we’ve come across an album in such circumstances – refer to my Brown Sugar blog; April 11, 2011.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, so they say. We take Jimi straight inside and crank up the stereo and I’m hooked.

jimi – shot!

Jimi HendrixSomething else about this album, or rather the cover – now, when I tell you this please remember, I was only ten…

So, there we are inside with the album blaring. I pick up the cover and notice there’s a hole that goes right through it. It’s perfectly round and about a centimetre in diameter. And it has burn marks around it.

“It’s a bullet,” my brother tells me. “Someone’s shot a hole clean through it.”

Well I’m awestruck. I’ve never seen a bullet hole before and because he’s almost 12 and, in my eyes, a man of the world, I assume my brother’s seen shotgun blasts a-plenty and therefore knows what he’s talking about.

It was years later that it suddenly dawned on me that the hole was not caused by some record-album hit-man. Someone had used a cigarette to burn a hole through the cardboard!

jimi – short time career, long time legend

Jimi Hendrix is widely acclaimed as being the greatest guitarist of all time. I’ve seen him play (only on film, of course) and he’s truly something to behold. I recall the first time I saw him. I was transfixed by the way his hands move. They are so fast and seem to barely touch the instrument. I’ve heard people talk of musicians whose hands float on the strings, but Jimi is the only one I’ve ever seen.

Jimi Hendrix put out a mere three studio albums in his lifetime. Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland. Technically these albums were by the band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Jimi split with his band and produced a live album – Band of Gypsys – just six months before his death on September 18th (my birthday) 1970.

There have been at least eleven posthumous studio albums.

Jimi Hendrixvoodoo child (slight return) fax

  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is the last track on Jimi’s final studio album Electric Ladyland.
  • Also on Electric Ladyland is a 15 minute blues jam named Voodoo Chile. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is a shortened version of that track. The story goes that while Electric Ladyland was being recorded a film crew visited the studio to do a news piece on Jimi and the band. They told them to make out like they were playing something. Jimi simply said, “Okay, let’s do this in E,” and launched into Voodoo Chile. The result was this shortened version – Voodoo Child (Slight Return).
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was released as a single a week after Jimi’s death in 1970.
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) went #1 in the UK – Jimi’s only #1 single.
  • On September 6th 1970, 12 days before his death, Jimi played a concert in Germany. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was the last song Jimi performed live.
  • Jimi’s guitar solo in Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was voted the best guitar riff in rock’n’roll history, by readers of Music Radar.
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is #101 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 greatest songs of all time.
  • On the Live at Fillmore East version, Jimi introduces Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by saying: “This is the Black Panthers’ National Anthem.”
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Lyrics.

5 Responses to Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix – 1970

  1. wozza says:

    What a lucky sod getting this album the way you did. My first Hendrix experience was a single – Voodoo Chile backed with Crosstown Traffic that I borrowed off Clive Webber when I was in the 4th form (4B) in 1972. Clive and I weren’t pals as such (I was way too nerdy) but he was in the same football team and we bonded over music. He leant me that single, the Hendrix Isle Of Wight album, and the Stones Exile album which I taped at home in 18 Korma Ave. Like you I was immediately hooked by the opening Waah Wah Wa Wah Wah Wah.

    PS I can’t believe you haven’t done a post on Jim yet! Wot’s the deal?

    PPS Just read your comment on the Dire Straits post – you were close with Glenveagh but it was actually 4 Ramelton Rd where you would have heard Jungleland.

  2. Greg.K. says:

    Ramelton – of course! And Jim? On the way sometime soon!

    As for Jimi – I loved the album when I first heard it but I still wonder if it was, to a certain degree, a case of pearls cast before swine!! I don’t think I really understood the significance of this genius until years later.

  3. wozza says:

    I don’t really get into Band of Gypsies or Axis: Bold As Love for the most part apart from If 6 was 9.. Electric Ladyland is Jimi at his peak for me. Isle of Wight (the vinyl version) I love because it was my first Hendrix album and I played it endlessly in 1972. That year and 1973 would have to be my favourite years for music.

  4. Greg.K. says:

    It’s true that a lot of Jimi is full-on distortion and not so much technique. But, as you know, the guy could play – and when he’s at his best, he is superb.
    Like I mentioned in the blog – listening to Jimi takes on a new dimension when you actually see the ease with which he plays… magic!!

  5. wozza says:

    I thought you’d hiccuped there for a minute, then I saw your question.

    That’s actually easier to do that you’d think (highlights).

    For 1972 it was Zappa’s album Waka Jawaka/Hot Rats and specifically the track Big Swifty. I did a post on this in 2009 – http://googoogarjoob.blogspot.com/2009/08/it-just-might-be-one-shot-deal.html

    For 1973 it is the four solo Beatle albums (Red Rose Speedway, Ringo, Living In The Material World, and Mind Games). I blogged on this too – back in the day – http://googoogarjoob.blogspot.com/2009/07/from-spiritual-sky-such-sweet-memories.html

    How bout you? Favourite year and highlight?

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