Let Your Mind And Fancy Roll On (Rattlesnake RS 024)
Intro/Foxey Lady, Intro/Catfish Blues (Cat’s Squirrel), Purple Haze (take 1), Purple Haze (take 2), Purple Haze (take 3), Interview part 1, Interview part 2, Interview part 3
From the soundboard master tape of VPRO TV’s archives comes this set of rehearsals, try outs & eventual broadcasts highlights early Hendrix & the Experience’s work in the studio & on their ultimate ascent to stardom. Originally released by watchtower as “The VPRO Archive” – Watchtower (WT2004122) – Rattlesnake have adorned this release with a bonus Interview carried out at Jimi’s Apartment 43 Upper Berkley St, London, W1 on the 9th of December 1967 with Tom Lopez.
The first part of the CD gives us 5 musical tracks from the recording of the Dutch TV show “Hoepla” – A controversial youth orientated TV show broadcast in answer to rival VARA’s radio show ‘Uitlaat’ & wanted that shows main presenter Wim de Bie to make the leap to TV. Unfortunately he wasn’t ready to make such a move & so, at the suggestion of de Bie, the programe’s creators drafted in noted poet & journalist Hans Verhagen. Verhagen in turn chose Wim van der Linden & Fluxus artist Wim T. Schippers, who would become the main task masters behind the show taking over the recording, writing & editing of Hoepla.
The show only aired for 4 episodes & stirred up salacious controversy by being the first show in Holland – even the world – to feature frontal nudity via the Danish model Gill Bloom engineering the fury of the paying public & effectively signaling its own cancellation. The program did however feature broader interest entertainment be including interview with rock stars of the time including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend & Mick Jagger while also featuring performances by luminaries such as Frank Zappa, Soft machine & Jimi Hendrix. van der Linden has mentioned that the Ampex tapes that were used to record ‘Hoepla’ have been wiped although it would appear that videos for the Mothers of Invention & The Soft machine as well as footage of “that scene” still exist so maybe one day a home recorded video from a Hendrix fan may materialise.
The Performance by The Jimi Hendrix Experience from episode 3 is presented in its entirety here including the 3 different takes of Purple Haze of which only one was chosen for the broadcast Recored on the 10th of November 1967 ( Which was delayed until the 23rd due to censorship of some of the programs more radical ideas. ) Beginning with an introduction by ‘Hoepla’ presenter Roselie Peters ( Nu volgt het eerste optreden van Jimi Hendrix Experience vanavond in dit programma; u hoort ‘Foxy Lady’.” or “Now follows the first appearance/performance of Jimi Hendrix Experience tonight in this program; you’ll hear ‘Foxy Lady’.” )
“Foxy Lady” is a ragged, loud & heavy version of the track we’re all familiar with. Although it won’t shed any further light on to the track as we know it ( there is one fantastically spirited if brief solo but no turn of tricks – despite van der Lindens requests that the band ensure their renditions are played loose & improvisational – “He gave a live performance, incredibly loud, but we told him to. We already had trouble with the technicians [during previous ‘Hoepla’ recordings] and this gave them even more reason to put us down. That nutty Gied Jaspers did the program direction for the first time. He was so nervous, for five minutes you saw a long-shot, seeing someone move at great distance. That then was Jimi. I even had a terrible fight with Gied in the control room. I said, “Goddamn it, if you don’t take a close-up right away, I’ll kick your ass.” )
“Catfish Blues” is much more electrifying – Played in a thumping blues style with the requisite guitar solo & also Mitch Mitchell’s paddling drum solo it’s mean & dirty presence is shot through with spacey, warped histrionics.
Roselie’s introduction starts as “Tot wel in augustus 1966 (negentien-honderd-zes-en-zestig) was Jimi Hendrix één onbekende gitarist in Amerika. Hij verzorgde toen soulshows, zo licht hij in. Toen kwamen er Londense ‘pop-jongens’ die hem ontdekten en meebrachten naar Engeland; alwaar hij vormde met Mitch Mitchell, drums and Noel Redding, bass The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Ze maakten zeer goede, wereldbekende hits als ‘Hey Joe’, ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ en ‘Purple Haze’. Ook hun LP deed veel bloed in vele aderen stollen. Hier is het eerste live tv-concert in Hoepla van Jimi Hendrix Ervaring.” or “Untill August 1966 Jimi Hendrix was an unknown guitarist in America. He did soulshows, as he informs. Then came London ‘pop-boys’ who discovered him and took him to England; where he formed with Mitch Mitchell ( although she mispronounces his name as Mitch Mitchmell ), drums and Noel Redding, bass The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They made very well and worldfamous hits like ‘Hey Joe’, ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and ‘Purple Haze’. Also their LP did lots of blood freeze (congeal/coagulate blood in many veins). Here is the first live tv-concert at Hoepla of Jimi Hendrix Experience”.
This version would also appear on the officially sanctioned “Blues” compilation from 1994.
“Purple Haze” is presented in three takes, the first essentially doesn’t begin as it breaks down off of the starting block as Jimi’s guitar goes out of tune so is essentially 3 minutes of tuning up & prepping sound levels. Take 2 screeches to life after a little more tuning & a lot more feedback. A very good rendition although Jimi’s voice is a little weak but head against the fury going on from the speakers this is understandable.
The take rolls on well despite a couple of flubbed lyrics until around 3/4 of the way through & Jimi’s guitar un-tunes itself & despite fighting against it he realises that it’s a lost cause. The madness continues on towards the 6 minute mark before it’s abrupt ending. The third & final take – the take that was broadcast – is slightly tighter with a stronger Hendrix vocal. Yet more improvisational madness ensues with maddening ferocity as Jimi crunches out another few splintering solos. The beat is somewhat emphasised by a ‘boom & sigh’ vocal before the song barrels in to a messy, swirling ending.
The only defect with this tape is what sounds like a clip in the tape at 2:52 on track 5 – I can only assume this is also in the station master having not heard the Watchtower version.
This all to brief release is a strange one – A CD thats lasts only 40 minutes with the real catch to the tale only really lasting 28 & even then around 8 minutes of that having been included on an official release previously. That said the full tape all in one place is a nice addition to the collection & with the flurry of Hendrix releases there have been over the years then this one would be one to get that hasn’t ben replicated over & over again.
It is fully annotated on the back sleeve regarding recording venues, dates & other pertinent facts. The front cover showing a press shot of Jimi laid on a hotel bed in his re-imagined military regalia, skinny velvet jeans, cuban heeled boots & Bob Dylan badge. The inner sleeve featuring era – perfect photos of Jimi & various clippings related to Holland & Hoepla including a picture of Jimi on set at the program & also of the naked Gill Bloom.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)