Sunday, November 04, 2012

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Chile

"And New York drowns as we hold hands."

For obvious reasons this lyric has been on my mind this past week. It comes from the great Jimi Hendrix track "Voodoo Chile".

And there is a mystique that surrounds this recording of it. The Winwood Fans site tells the story:
In the most famous recording involving Hendrix and Traffic members, Steve Winwood played organ on "Voodoo Chile", released on Jimi's album Electric Ladyland (1968) ... 
John McDermott, in his exhaustively researched book Jimi Hendrix: Sessions (1995), describes the recording session for "Voodoo Chile" on May 2, 1968, actually early morning May 3. He explains that Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, Steve Winwood, and Jack Casady (of Jefferson Airplane) recorded 3 takes of the song. The third take was released on Electric Ladyland, and a composite of the 3 takes was later released as "Voodoo Chile Blues" on Jimi Hendrix: Blues (1994). The session took place at the Record Plant studio in New York City.
The recording session for this song has circulated on tape among collectors for years. The tape is billed as New York City's Record Plant studio, May 2, 1968, "Voodoo Chile - Slight Return" (incorrectly), with Hendrix, Mitchell, Winwood, and Casady. The session is mesmerizing in terms of the organic interplay between Jimi and Steve, as well as the overall chemistry of the ensemble. They really seem simpatico, and it's enlightening to hear the short evolution of the final product over just a few takes. "Voodoo Chile" seems to have amazingly sprung forth almost fully formed in less than an hour.
For a more recent performance of Voodoo Chile, and a great homage to Hendrix, watch Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.

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