Friday, April 5, 2013

Jimi Hendrix 10: Jimi Plays Monterey

The occasional vault plundering of the Hendrix legacy continued somewhat randomly into the ‘80s. Following the two-volume, three-record Essential series, there was The Jimi Hendrix Concerts in 1982, a double album mixing tracks from six different concerts over three years, something of a sequel to Hendrix In The West. Then somebody decided that “digital remastering” would be a big deal, which led to the first of several stabs at definitive CD versions of the original studio LPs, plus the Kiss The Sky compilation. But the smartest move in years was an expansion of something that had already been out, kind of.
Just before he died, Reprise split an LP of so-called Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival between a side of Jimi backed with Otis Redding’s set—both being highlights of that particular festival. It only took another 16 years for Jimi’s complete set to appear in its entirety. Jimi Plays Monterey was billed as a soundtrack, accompanying the commercial video tape of the same show. The visuals are recommended to illustrate the sounds, since some of the aural and physical pyrotechnics can get lost in the mix.
It helps that it’s an excellent set. He hadn’t released so much as a single in the States yet, and only offered a few songs that would appear here on Are You Experienced. Of his own songs, “Foxy Lady”, “Hey Joe”, “Wind Cries Mary” and “Purple Haze” would be standards soon enough, while “Can You See Me” was only on the British version of the album. Instead, he opens with a burning take on “Killing Floor”, does a detour with “Like A Rolling Stone”, re-arranges “Rock Me Baby”, and sacrifices his guitar to “Wild Thing” (following a detour through “Strangers In The Night”). Throughout the set, he banters with the audience and plays up to his now-assumed spacey reputation.
In the pantheon, Jimi Plays Monterey made a logical bookend opposite Band Of Gypsys with the three studio albums in the middle. When Rhino put out their 25th anniversary Monterey Pop Festival box set, all nine songs were included. Fifteen years after that, the Estate reissued the album again, this time crediting it to The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and reinstating not only some of the dialogue, but Brian Jones’s complete introduction.

Jimi Hendrix Jimi Plays Monterey Original Motion Picture Sound Track (1986)—4


  1. This was my first Hendrix purchase, on Polydor cassette (which I still have) in '86, I believe. Great then, great now. No visuals needed, just let your imagination run wild. Good summary, though I'm not sure "Hey Joe" can truthfully be credited as one of his "own songs," unless I'm misreading it.

    1. Technically Hey Joe isn't his, but it was on the US album. And anyway, it might as well have claimed as his at this point.