Overly popular, rightfully so, is the Band Of Gypsys, whom released this live album all those years ago. With Jimi Hendrix's amazing playing (as usual), as well as a very nice backup band including amazing vocals, groovy basslines, and tap-your-feet drumming, this album takes music to a new level. It was recorded on New Years Eve 1969-1970.

Tracks:

  1. Who Knows
  2. Machine Gun
  3. Changes
  4. Power To Love
  5. Message Of Love
  6. We Gotta Live Together

Machine Gun has been an inspirational piece for guitarists worldwide, ranking very high on Guitar World's Top 100 Solos of All Time list, as well as having been noted by exceptional guitarists such as Slash, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. A must own for any Jimi Hendrix fan.

On bass, Mr Billy Cox, on drums Mr Buddy Miles, and on guitar and vocals, Mr Jimi Hendrix. They are the Band Of Gypsys.

The Band Of Gypsys was formed by Jimi Hendrix as a derivative of the band which performed at woodstock. Often people are under the misconception that they were the same band, but the band at woodstock was actually "The gypsy sun and rainbows band" and had a completely different line-up. While the Band Of Gypsys was Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocals/backing vocals), Buddy Miles (drums, vocals/backing vocals) and Billy Cox (bass, backing vocals), The Gypsy sun and Rainbows band was Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocals), Larry Lee (guitar), Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (bass, Backing Vocals), Juma Sultan (percussion), Jerry Velez (percussion).

The Gypsy sun and rainbows band was formed after Noel Redding quit The Jimi Hendrix Experience, causing it to disband. He quit as he heard that Jimi was planning to expand the band. Jimi saw the disbanding of the experience as the perfect opportunity to experiment. When this extended line-up wasn't to Jimi's tastes, he reduced it to Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell, Jimi and Juma Sultan. This is the band which played on the Dick Cavett show.

Meanwhile, there was an intense court battle about a $1 record deal Jimi signed in 1965 while he was a relative nobody. Now that Jimi was famous, they were hunting him down for a new album. As Jimi alone signed it, they couldn't get an album with the 'Experience' moniker, and Jimi was reluctant to give any studio material. So there was an agreement. A Live album which would feature Jimi's name would be delivered. He saw this as an opportunity to expand his audience. He was forever bugged because various races were not coming to his shows. It wasn't the attendance, it was the variety. And so he decided to make an album which catered to the black community in which he grew up and learned his trade. He enlisted the help of Billy Cox on bass, and Buddy Miles on drums. Jimi and Billy were in the 101st airborne and were playing in bands together from 1961 to 1965. In this time, they built up a dynamic, and understanding of each other's style which allowed some inspired exchanges. Jimi met Buddy Miles while playing for the Wilson "wicked" Pickett. Miles was a power drummer with a powerful voice to boot. This trio rehearsed in a ranch outside woodstock for the recording of the new album. They would be the Band Of Gypsys.

In this rehearsal time, they developed their styles into a new niche. A mix of styles previously unheard. It was a mix of the rhythm and blues, soul and blues which they had grown up with, jazz which Jimi had incorporated with while playing with Mitch Mitchell, and rock which he had incorporated from Noel Redding, and developing in England. They used this new style to develop new riffs which coagulated in songs. They practised relentlessly and became deeply acquainted with each others styles, which would allow for intense improvisation.

They booked 4 shows in the Fillmore East. Two would be on New years Eve, 1969 and Two on new years day, 1970. The first show each day would be just over an hour, and the second would approach two hours.

The first day, he tried the "showman" routine. He played the guitar behind his back, with his teeth, All the tricks he had learned on the chitlin circuit. What he was renowned for. But, after the first show, he asked a friend what they thought of the show, and he said it was the worst show he had heard. No matter what Jimi did, the people would have lapped it up. So, on he second day (the day most of the album tracks were picked from, unsurprisingly) he just stood there. He didn't move. He just sat and played his heart out. He absolutely blew the crowd away. (The same friend apparently said that the second show was unbelievable.)



Tracks:
First Show, New Years Eve 1969
1. Intro
2. Power Of Soul
3. Lover Man
4. Hear My Train A Comin'
5. Them Changes
6. Izabella
7. Machine Gun
8. Stop
9. Ezy Rider
10. Bleeding Heart
11. Earth Blues
12. Burning Desire

Second Show, New Years Eve 1969
1. Also Sprach Zarathustra/Countdown/Happy New Year
2. Auld Lang Syne
3. Who Knows
4. Stepping Stone
5. Burning Desire
6. Fire
7. Ezy Rider
8. Machine Gun
9. Power Of Soul
10. Stone Free
11. Them Changes
12. Message To Love
13. Stop
14. Foxy Lady
15. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
16. Purple Haze

First Show, New Years Day 1970
1. Intro/Who Knows
2. Machine Gun
3. Them Changes
4. Power Of Soul
5. Stepping Stone
6. Foxy Lady
7. Stop
8. Earth Blues
9. Burning Desire

Second Show, New Years Day 1970
1. Stone Free
2. Them Changes
3. Power Of Soul
4. Message To Love
5. Earth Blues
6. Machine Gun
7. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
8. We Gotta Live Together
9. Wild thing
10. Hey Joe
11. Purple Haze

Worth an honourable mention is Machine Gun. Widely regarded as the greatest live solo of all time, it is a masterpiece depicting the horrors of war.

The album "Band Of Gypsys" peaked at number 4 in the charts, and had a fairly good run in the charts. It succeeded in introducing a large portion of people with R&B roots and blues roots to Jimi.

The Band Of Gypsys kept on practising until January 28, 1970. On that day, they played a gig at Madison Square Garden, but someone reportedly spiked Jimi's drink with a bad tab of acid. The show was abysmal, and Jimi was obviously in no state to play.

They got through 3 songs; An intro, Who Knows, and Earth Blues. Then Jimi took off his guitar and walked off stage.

The Band Of Gypsys was disbanded. (Excuse the pun.)

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