Sunday, 3 November 2013


Oh, for a time machine to go back to London in 1966 and to hear the unknown Jimi Hendrix play at The Scotch of St James club. For Paul McCartney, this is his very own “I was there” moment.
Director Bob Smeaton has made films on a variety of musicians, from The Beatles to the Spice Girls. But his latest film "Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train A Comin'" goes much deeper into the life of the late performer than he ever expected.
The critically acclaimed two-hour documentary unveils previously unseen concert performance footage and home movies  that invites you to imagine what it must have been like to witness Hendrix re-fashioning rock music before your very eyes. It also sources an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, letters and more, that provide insight into the personality and genius of Jimi Hendrix.
"This is the first documentary of this type where it goes from his birth in Seattle in 1942 right up to his death in London at 1970. So it’s the whole story from beginning to end," said director Bob Smeaton.
Far from the tragic figure that he’s often painted to be, friends, fellow musicians and former band-mates Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox describe Hendrix as a man who was rarely without a smile on his face or a guitar in his hand.
Linda Keith, who discovered him in New York and brought him back to London, recalls: “He had no interest in anything other than music and women.
But this sanitised film ignores many of the more unsavoury chapters in Hendrix’s life. The only brush with the law that you’ll find here is when his neighbours complained about him still playing the guitar at 4am – something that most music fans would have given their right arm to hear (to be honest I'd give a finger myself).
Smeaton also covers how Hendrix seemed to transcend race with his music. He was an African American artist loved by a predominantly white audience, during a time of racial turbulence.
"I think when Jimi made it in the UK it’s like, we haven’t got the race thing in the UK," Smeaton said, "it’s not as prevalent as what it is in America because the guys who are listening to the blues in the UK, people like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, saw these blues guys generally older guys like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, etc and they idolized those guys."
The film also goes into details about Hendrix’s legendary performance at Woodstock. "I think that’s the way he felt the national anthem should be played because that suited the emotion at the time - Vietnam was happening; there were race riots happening," Smeaton said.
"I don’t think it was a conscious thing to try and reach out to a black audience or stir anything up. He just played it the way Jimi Hendrix would play it and thank God the cameras were there to capture it."
A pioneering electric guitarist, Hendrix had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy.
"Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train A Comin’" will be available on Amazon (DVD & Blu-Ray. Available to pre-order now) beginning Nov. 5th, and hopefully in a few selected cinemas!

Also coming November 5th (4th on Amazon), Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival (pre-order here), the first-ever release of one of the guitar virtuoso's most sought-after performances, as originally recorded on site by Hendrix's long term sound engineer, Eddie Kramer. Never available in any form, Miami Pop Festival is being released as a single CD and a limited edition numbered double 12" audiophile vinyl set (all analog cut by Bernie Grundman, pressed at QRP on 200 gram vinyl). 

Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival introduces the first recorded stage performances of "Hear My Train A Comin'" and "Tax Free" while showcasing definitive live takes on such classics as "Fire," "Hey Joe," "I Don't Live Today" and "Purple Haze." The package includes never before published photos taken at the festival and an essay by award-winning music journalist and Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. 

The first ever major rock festival staged on the East Coast, the May 1968 Miami Pop Festival was the first event promoted by Michael Lang—who would organize Woodstock, the biggest pop culture event of the decade, fifteen months later—and Ric O'Barry, who had been the dolphin trainer for the popular television program Flipper. Lang and O'Barry had been inspired by the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the groundbreaking gathering where Jimi Hendrix, making his US debut, famously set fire to his guitar at the conclusion of his performance. Lang staged the festival at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, securing the Jimi Hendrix Experience as the headline act for the two-day festival. 
Jimi Hendrix Experience Miami Pop Festival 1. Introduction 2. Hey Joe 3. Foxey Lady 4. Tax Free 5. Fire 6. Hear My Train A Comin' 7. I Don't Live Today 8. Red House 9. Purple Haze BONUS PERFORMANCES 10. Fire (Evening Show) 11. Foxey Lady (Evening Show) Miami Pop Festival, May 18, 1968 Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Florida

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