Mama Hasn’t Take One, Yeah! (Rattlesnake RS 224 / 225)
Disk One (76:19): Mannish Boy (take-1~20) / Mannish Boy (take-21~29) / Mannish Boy (take-30~35) * / Mannish Boy (take-36) * / The New Rising Sun ** / Captain Coconut~The New Rising Sun~Cherokee Mist ***
Disk Two (59:15): Studio Chat By Jimi To Billy About The Drumming **** / Heartbreak Hotel~Blue Suede Shoes **** / Freedom~Ezy Ryder~Highway Of Broken Hearts (Highway Of Broken Hearts Medley) **** / Seven Dollars In My Pocket~Highway Of Desire~Midnight Lightning (Keep On Groovin’) **** / Once I Had A Woman **** / Country Blues **** / Astro Man **** / Gypsy Boy (New Rising Sun) ****
Record Plant, New York, NY, apr 22 1969
Record Plant, New York, NY, jan 7 1970 *
TTG Sunset Highland Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, oct 23 1968 **
TTG Sunset Highland Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, oct 1968 ***
Record Plant, New York, NY, jan 23 1970 ****
Of all the artists that have been bootlegged through the years then are only a select few that seem to have pretty much every note that they recorded in the studio released on an unsanctioned recording – Jimi Hendrix is one of those few. although most Jimi takes are split over so many releases Rattlesnake have been savvy enough to combine enough studio takes on this release that all come from one period or are all for the same song.
Newly bootlegged are these sessions for Mannish Boy – a rather bright & electric take on the Muddy Waters tune. Recorded through 3 sessions, the selection is split up by all it’s takes with Takes 1 – 20 being from the first session recorded on 22nd of April 1969. It’s presented in superb studio quality but with just the hint of tape hiss from possible copying from the master tapes. Take one is exclusively 1:25 of studio chatter between Jimi, the band & the producer – Jimi both describing the set up & how he want’s the songs to work. Take one breaks down shortly after starting with Jimi complaining that he’s out of tune. The song is delivered in typical Hendrix style in Jimi’s ‘speech’ pattern take tow breaks down again shortly after it starts too as Jimi requests more drums in his headphones meaning that he’s not hearing enough of the rhythm section as he plays. Take three reveals a little more vocal ut this time Jimi can’t hear himself sing – notoriously sensitive about his singing it dosen’t stop him wanting to hear what he’s singing. he continues to work through the notes as he & the band play & gives out instructions as & when he feels like things could be fine tuned to better fit his voice. By take 8 Jimi is getting a little more confident with the song as its played but is still improvising his singing & as he loosens up gets a little more jolly & starts bantering more with his band, the control studio & one might guess, with the other hippies & hangers on in the studio.
by take 9 he feels confident enough to carry on with his longest take yet still riffing on various versions of the lyrics & others ( such as naming ‘Papa Rolling Stone’ – another hit for Muddy Waters ) & making lyrics up on the spot. it’s perfunctary but still not enough for Jimi who requests more mikes in the studio & also requests that Billy rolls his B string producing a rumbling chord to start the song. before long though he changes his mind and tells anyone that they’ll over dub that bit on after. he’d like Mitch to elongate the time he spends on his snare when they come crashing in to the song. Take 14 is shouted off by Jimi to take a short break for an edit piece & Jimi suggests a slower tempo just to give the musicians a little more encouragement. before this take he auditions the bass just to make sure Billy has the right sort of Rhythm going this breaks down just so Jimi can get his part of the introduction just right.
by the time take 19 rolls around the bass has been been nailed but Jimi still has a few more thoughts on when the band will join in. Take 20 is a long take ( 4:39 ) but will mark the end of the first session at the Record Plant. the lyrics are still improvised but Jimi has a firmer grasp on them as he differs between vocal improvisations & guitar improvisation. at the end the songs breaks in to just Jimi, then Billy’s Bass drops in & Juma shakes his maraccas before the tape come to an end.
The Band reconvened on the 22nd of April & the tape starts to roll presumably in the middle of a session as Jimi requests one more take before they rest of lunch. the Song hasn’t moved on much more than the last session though Jimi might produce a few more licks that he’s remembered or picked up in the interim & this time the bass is slightly more pronounced.
After the song is left alone for nearly 9 months then the band reconvene once more for session 3 which is quieter on it’s levels & sounds a little less hissy . As take 30 breaks down Jimi instructs Mitch on his drumming & requests that he keeps it loud in the middle until he picks up singing again. Jimi seems to take up the lead on playing more rhythm guitar playing this time around rather than improvising too much but the song has a more solidified feel this time. by the time they get to take 34 then the song is pretty much nailed & Jimi plays through for 4:42 (that the final mix lasts for 5:50 would suggest that it might actually be a composite of different takes or edit pieces from this final session. ) but Jimi still requests one final take, presumably so he might let loose a little more.
for the sake of completeness Rattlesnake also include the final mix from the ‘Blues’ album. the quality of this take is, unsurprisingly, more polished & less like the sessions that begat the earlier takes of this song.
to fill the CD Rattlesnake also present us with the “uncensored” ( read ‘unedited’ ) version of ‘New Rising Sun (Overture)’ from the TTG sessions originally released on the official ‘Voodoo Soup’ album & ‘Captain Coconut / New Rising Sun / Cherokee Mist’ the Demo Mix by John Jansen also from these have the sound & volume of an official release.
Disk Two is titled “If You Come For Trouble, You’ve Come To The Right Place”. this disk is made of sessions from the Record Plant Studios on Friday, the 23rd of January 1970. Although other tracks from this jam session appear on several other bootlegs & on a Dagger Records CD – ‘Burning Desire’ – then this CD explores still further & presents us with more tracks from these valuble sessions.
The sound is akin to that of a studio recorded album ( indeed i believe that some studio mastering may have been involved just incase these songs were selected for an album release ) as the Band Of Gypsys & ‘Don’ – an harmonica player run through & jam several oldies & Hendrix songs. track one is a piece of audio verite as Jimi chats to Billy Cox about the drumming & how he would like Heartbreak Hotel to sound, going through the tempos & asking where the grass is ..
the first track to be played is a medley of Elvis Presley covers ‘Heart Break Hotel’ & ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. a strong whip through these two classics Jimi sounds like he’s having fun & from the off is peeling off solos, subverting these songs in to his own style – bending & stretching the chords & sounding like a man who’s just itching to break free plus taking some liberties with the lyrics improvising some new ones in to the mix . For the best part of the song, besides the usual players, harmonica player Don can be heard in varying degrees of volume. as a nice change to most of the Hendrix sessions i’ve heard then this makes a nice change & brings a little more of the blues flavour that Jimi usually demands out of his oeuvre. ‘Freedom / Ezy Rider / Highway of Broken Hearts’ flows through this jam seamlessly. A slower set of songs throughout jimi tries a little more experimentation in the middle loosening his strings & pulling out some deftly weird effects. The tempo slips even more for the next section ‘$7 in My Pocket / Highway Of Desire / Midnight Lightning’ ( maybe the ‘grass’ was beginning to take affect by this time? ) although at 10:04 the speed begins to pick up again just in time for the song to quickly fade out at 10:59. ‘Once I Had A Woman’ is once again a slow, ponderous blues jam with more guitar trickery from Jimi who once again finds his mojo at 5:14 & tears out the guitar histrionics once again with a fierce flurry of twisted chords & nosebleed twists.
‘Country Blues’ seems to have the ring of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ that Jimi first played at Woodstock that then drifts in to a long, lazy ( by Hendrix standards in any case .. ), bluesy track that tears with an elegant anger. it’s another track where Don’s harmonica works well to flesh out some more of the angst in the song. Astro Man & Gypsy Boy could be part of the same jam as they were placed together on another internet produced bootleg & as Gypsy Boy ends abruptly then this might be so.
The title & cover of this release is quite unimaginative & ugly where as Rattlesnake usually excel at such things then they really passed the buck on this release. The front cover features a photoshopped picture of Jimi against a twisted & mis-shapped wall which really isn’t appealing at all. the back cover is a psychedelic montage over which, to their credit, Rattlesnake have put full track listings, recording dates & producer details along with a handsome image of Jimi in the studio. inside there are photos of the studio crew – Billy Cox, Larry Lee, Jimi, Mitch Mitchell & Juma Sultan also included are the lyrics to Jimi’s Mannish Boy & an excellent run through of each & every take that’s contained on this set.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)