Informed that they were almost out of film and needed to get this in one take, Jimi is unsure where to begin: the guitar belonged to director Peter Neal, and Jimi had never played one like it before.
He looks up after picking around for a few bars and is startled to see the camera rolling. Clearly flustered, he stops. “Don’t waste all that film there! Stop it for a second! ‘Cause I was scared to death. Can I do it just one more time though? Can I do it just one more time?”
This time, his exploration starts on a little firmer footing as he eases into his never-quite-finished original composition, “Hear My Train A Comin’”.
(For that matter, he never quite settled on a title. In virtually every live performance, Jimi introduced it as some variation of “Getting My Heart Back Together Again”.)
Finding his way along as he bends the strings to follow his voice, and vice versa, he ends three minutes later with a laugh. “Did you think I could do that?”
The answer seems obvious in retrospect, but Peter was honest later that he had no idea what to expect. “It was just one of those magic moments that happen sometimes.” More of Peter’s story behind the shoot here.
Jimi Hendrix, at the United Block Association Harlem Benefit, 139th Street & Lenox Avenue, New York, September 5, 1969.
“Seeing Jimi in Harlem, it was blazingly apparent that he has a new spirit. […]
He had enthusiasm and willingness to boogie. For the finale…he said,
‘Now we’re gonna play the Harlem National Anthem,’ and stepped on his
trusty wah-wah pedal for a dynamite version of ‘Voodoo Child (Slight
Many more pix and amazing stories here.
Janis Joplin, by Terry O’Neill
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix, Rainbow Bridge Hawaii, 1970. (Rainbow Bridge album released October 1971)
Jimi Hendrix at the Winterland, San Francisco 1968, by Jim Marshall
Janis Joplin with her Porsche convertible, San Francisco, by Jim Marshall.
Iggy Pop across from the Wild Men’s Shop in Ann Arbor, 1969, by Glenn Craig.
Something to make YOU happy! One of the most incandescent singles of 1971, featuring Traffic’s Dave Mason and The Mamas and The Papas’ Cass Elliot embarking on an all-too-brief duo excursion.
A rare co-writing credit for Cass adds another touch of magic to this career highlight for her, its soaring chorus highlighting the ways that she and Dave Mason brought the very best out of each other in this hidden gem from 1971.
They’d been introduced by mutual friend Gram Parsons soon after Dave’s arrival in LA. As she had for so many other artists before (including another recently solo Englishman, Graham Nash), Cass took Dave under her wing, and it didn’t take long for them to realize that they sounded amazing together. As Cass told Rolling Stone, “I sing better with David because he’s so good. You want to do better. I’m singing notes I never sang with The Mamas & the Papas.”
Released in March 1971, Dave Mason & Cass Elliot had in fact begun as a Dave solo album, his second after leaving Traffic (to whom he’d return for a brief summer 1971 tour and live album).
He’d written all the songs and recorded all the lead vocals up to the point that Cass came on, but it was immediately obvious that they had something special together, so Dave reshaped the album more collaboratively from there: adding a couple of songs Cass wrote (indeed, the last time in her career she’d record her own compositions), more lead vocals, lots of harmonies on Dave’s earlier tracks, and joint billing as both performer and producer.
They played a few shows together (Santa Monica Civic and Fillmore East, where the photo above was taken by Amalie R. Rothschild) as well as a couple of TV appearances (The Andy Williams Show, The Tonight Show), and while they remained close and spoke about recording a proper collaboration someday, Cass’ untimely passing came first.
In any case, 100% magic for fans of both artists, and one of 1971′s hidden gems.