MESSAGE TO LOVE - Brief History of the Gypsy Band (2023)

December 21, 2021

By Andy Aledort.

MESSAGE TO LOVE - Brief History of the Gypsy Band (1)

You can call it... whatever you want. It's just a bunch of gypsies."

~ Jimi Hendrix

Released in March 1970,gypsy bandit is widely recognized as the most powerful document of Jimi Hendrix's remarkable skill in live concert.gypsy bandwas recorded as a New Year's Eve celebration at New York's famous and now-defunct Fillmore East on December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970, with two shows each night. Over the four shows, Jimi Hendrix, joined by Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums, shredded the material with sheer improvisational genius and pioneering audacity.

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Nearly fifty years after its initial release,gypsy bandIt's still a great achievement in Jimi Hendrix's impressively short career. The album remains an international bestseller, particularly in the United States, where it has earned RIAA double-platinum status for sales in excess of two million since 1970.

It is unlikely that thegypsy bandalbum, and perhaps even the band, would have come to fruition without a number of unusual extenuating circumstances.

In the summer of 1965, a struggling guitarist named Jimmy (not yet "Jimi") Hendrix had just left The Isley Brothers' backing band. Seeking to further his own career, Jimi signed an exclusive artist contract with Sue Records in July 1965. Sue Records, run by noted producer Juggy Murray, was the recording home of popular R&B artists such as Ike & Tina Turner and Baby Washington. Despite Murray's best efforts, no recordings ever materialized during Hendrix's brief tenure.

Soon after, he teamed up with singer Curtis Knight, an up-and-coming soul/R&B artist with a small following in New York and New Jersey. Jimi became a member of Knight's backing band, The Squires, and by the fall, he was in the studio recording a handful of Knight's original compositions, including two songs for which Jimi received his first songwriting credits: "Hornet's Nest" and "Hornet's Nest". . Knock Yourself Out." During these sessions, Hendrix agreed to a contract with Ed Chalpin and PPX Industries in October 1965, despite his earlier contract with Sue Records.

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In May 1967, after the UK release ofYou have experience, Chalpin filed lawsuits against Track Records, its distributor Polydor, Warner Brothers (who had recently announced their first single "Hey Joe" b/w "51st Anniversary"), and producer Chas Chandler. Recognizing the success of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chalpin decided to claim what he considered to be his share of Hendrix's royalties. Hendrix did not hold a grudge against Curtis Knight when he left in search of greener pastures. Despite protracted litigation, in July and August 1967 Hendrix inexplicably met with Knight in the studio to complete additional musical recordings such as "Gloomy Monday".

In November 1967, Chalpin signed a contract with Capitol Records to release Jimi's studio recordings with Knight. As 1967 turned into 1968, Capitol released two albums in quick succession:Take itFeeling and Flashing - just in time to compete with The Experience's second album,Axis: bold as lovewhich premiered in January 1968 in the UK.

Released in October 1968, the double albumelectric checkers countryit was hailed as Jimi's greatest triumph. Inside The Experience though, things weren't so rosy; in November, philosophical differences between Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding led to rumors of a split.

Redding was frustrated by the group's herculean list of recording sessions and public appearances. the sessions forelectric checkers countryit was tense; Hendrix and Redding clashed over their respective philosophies regarding the recording of the album. Hendrix increasingly began recording without Redding's presence, leaving the bassist to develop creative ideas for Fat Mattress, a solo venture he had established. Drummer Mitch Mitchell made plans to build his own group, to be called Mind Octopus, while Jimi envisioned playing and recording with a variety of musicians.

While the plan initially was for The Experience to continue, Jimi made no secret of the fact that the end of the group was in sight. Evaluating the desire to get into other musical situations, Jimi described The Experience "like a band of musical gypsies who move all over the place."

On June 29, 1969, The Jimi Hendrix Experience played together for the last time at the Denver Pop Festival in Colorado. However, two months before the festival, Jimi called his old friend, bassist and former Army buddy Billy Cox, in Nashville, and took him to New York.

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Together, on April 21, 1969, Billy and Jimi recorded their first sessions at the Record Plant in New York. They would continue to work regularly through the spring and summer of 1969, laying the groundwork for Hendrix's transition into new and uncharted musical territories.

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On July 10, Cox performed with Hendrix for the first time since his Army days, appearing intonight's programwhere they performed, the still unpublished, “Lover Man”.

By this time, exhausted by the ravages of endless touring and increasing demands from record companies, Hendrix rented a house in upstate Shokan, New York to rest and finally prepare for his performance at the historic Woodstock festival. . For this show, Jimi assembled what he called the "Gypsy Sun & Rainbows" band, which included Mitch Mitchell (drums). Billy Cox (bass), Army buddy Larry Lee (guitar), Juma Sultan (percussion), and Jerry Velez (percussion).

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Although the band's overall performance at Woodstock was a bit shaky, Jimi himself was in top form and delivered a unique and gripping rendition of "Star Spangled Banner." This three and a half minute impromptu masterpiece was an artistic moment of great depth. Not only did it define Hendrix's inventive genius, but it also seemed to encapsulate the spirit of the '60s counterculture. Despite its unique appearance, the set of Gypsy Sun & Rainbows Woodstock is one of the most celebrated live performances of all. the times.

As September came to a close, Jimi realized that this outfit hadn't come together to his liking. Despite an appearance inDick Cavett Showwith a subset of members of the Woodstock ensemble, Jimi found the management burdensome of such a large band too much and disbanded the group. As October wore on, Hendrix succumbed to the stress of his environment and hastily canceled a previously scheduled US tour. Mitch subsequently returned to Europe for a break, while Cox quietly returned to Nashville.

After a short break, Billy Cox returned to New York to work with Hendrix and Buddy Miles; they rehearsed continuously throughout November and December. This new "power trio", aptly named "Band Of Gypsys", focused on creating songs and arrangements fueled by each member's love and mastery of soul and R&B.

As the Band Of Gypsys' music took shape, the sounds previously associated with Stax and Motown soul and R&B were elevated to a whole new plane. With Cox and Miles, Hendrix created songs in which “pocket reigned supreme, as the trio produced the funniest sounds Hendrix ever recorded.

“We had a very, very unique sound and we knew it was going to work.”

~Billy Cox

Songs like “lzabella”, “Message to love”. "Power Of Soul" and "Stepping Stone" are fueled by propulsive bass figures. These highly syncopated rhythmic concepts helped lay the foundation for future styles of rap, hip-hop, and modern R&B.

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“Most of the songs we did, like 'Power Of Soul' and 'Machine Gun', were created just for Band Of Gypsys,” explains Billy Cox. “Everyone contributed in some way. All the experience we had was thrown into that pot and it came out in Band Of Gypsys. We had a very, very unique sound and we knew it was going to work."

Without a full studio album to his satisfaction, Jimi was under increasing pressure to settle the PPX litigation. Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffery, decided that the easiest and cheapest way to handle the PPX litigation was to record Jimi in concert and offer it as Jimi's next album, which was due to Capitol Records as part of the PPX deal.

This decision came only after Jimi was unable to complete a new studio album during the past year (October 1968 to October 1969). Rehearsing continuously throughout November and December, Band Of Gypsys focused on a program of virtually all new original material. The group spent much of December rehearsing at Baggy's, a rehearsal facility operated by former Soft Machine roadie Tom Edmonston. Here songs like "Power Of Soul", "Earth Blues" and "Who Knows" were transformed from rhythmic standards to exciting new songs.

This newly formed ensemble proceeded with the understanding that the four New Years shows at the Fillmore East would be recorded for a subsequent live album release. For these performances, Jimi took a laid-back, experimental approach to his new material. At shows, Jimi pointed out to the audience that he was still working on many of the songs and thanked them for his patience when things changed a bit.

During these performances, Jimi had the opportunity to reflect on the intense and soulful beat set by his new rhythm section. Along with Howard Tate's "Stop," Buddy Miles' "Changes" and "We Gotta Live Together," the group released their new material with great enthusiasm, illustrating Jimi's desire to enter a more progressive musical phase.

“As I looked out over the audience, I could see the amazement of the first ten or twelve rows of people,” recalls Billy Cox. “People were speechless. They had never heard anything like it."

~Billy Cox

Hendrix expanded his repertoire beyond pop favorites like "Foxey Lady" and "Purple Haze" in favor of more complex and ambitious arrangements like "Burning Desire," "Power Of Soul" and hard-hitting political statements delivered as deep blues as " Machine Gun". ." Within the confines of such an inventive musical environment, Jimi's creative spirit flourished, resulting in an explosion of pure guitar virtuosity. Hendrix's guitar playinggypsy bandit is justifiably considered a testimonial to rock guitar at its most transcendent level.

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Jimi Hendrix's unique and highly developed guitar style is beautifully illustrated throughout the original.gypsy bandalbum, with even more artwork featured in the latest 2019 super deluxe box set,Fun Songs for Kids: The Fillmore East Concertswhich compiles material from these four memorable Fillmore East shows.

“As I looked out over the audience, I could see the amazement of the first ten or twelve rows of people,” recalls Billy Cox. “People were speechless. They had never heard anything like it."

Perhaps the definitive Band Of Gypsys statement was Hendrix's nearly twelve and a half minute masterpiece, "Machine Gun," which is filled with spontaneous bursts of feedback, bursts of fingerboard tremolo, and an endless array of massively amplified guitar playing. . noises Jimi's intense spirit, the heart and soul of him, fuels all of his riffs, rhythms and solos as he delivers a musical message filled with intense life force. For musicians and music lovers, this is the essence of Jimi Hendrix's message.

# # #

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Jimi Hendrix's performances under the name Band Of Gypsys remain one of this artist's most impressive achievements. Having formed the short-lived group with friends and fellow musicians Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, the trio's work has been hailed as a touchstone of blues, funk, fusion and rock that exemplified Hendrix's transition from the pop phenomenon. into new unknown territories.

While their recorded output revolves almost entirely around four fables performed live at New York's Fillmore East on December 31, 1969, and January 1, 1970, the depth of the ensemble's influence extends, with full force, throughout today's growing rock and hip-hop event. . genders

Browse the recorded live output, plus some Band Of Gypsys demo recordings on the following albums.

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gypsy band

Released: March 25, 1970
Songs list:

(Video) Machine Gun (Live)

  1. Who knows
  2. Machine gun
  3. Changes
  4. power to love
  5. love message
  6. we have to live together

Hendrix: ao vivo no Fillmore East

Released: February 23, 1999
Songs list:

  1. free stone
  2. soul power
  3. hear my train coming
  4. isabela
  5. Machine gun
  6. Voodoo Child (light comeback)
  7. we have to live together
  8. A long time ago
  9. Who knows
  10. Changes
  11. Machine gun
  12. trampoline
  13. To stop
  14. earth blues
  15. burning desire
  16. wild Thing

Know more

Machine Gun: The First Fillmore East Show (12/31/69)

Release: September 30, 2016
Songs list:

  1. soul power
  2. lover
  3. hear my train coming
  4. Changes
  5. isabela
  6. Machine gun
  7. To stop
  8. ezy ryder
  9. bleeding heart
  10. earth blues
  11. burning desire

Know more

Fun Songs for Kids: The Fillmore East Concerts

Release: November 22, 2019
Songs list:

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31/12/69 (1calleshow)

  1. soul power
  2. lover
  3. hear my train coming
  4. Changes
  5. isabela
  6. Machine gun
  7. To stop
  8. ezy ryder
  9. bleeding heart
  10. earth blues
  11. burning desire

31/12/69 (2North Dakotashow)

  1. A long time ago
  2. Who knows
  3. fog
  4. ezy ryder
  5. Machine gun
  6. free stone
  7. Changes
  8. love message
  9. To stop
  10. mrs foxey

01/01/70 – 1calleshow

  1. Who knows
  2. Machine gun
  3. Changes
  4. soul power
  5. trampoline
  6. mrs foxey
  7. To stop
  8. earth blues
  9. burning desire

01/01/70 2North Dakotashow

  1. free stone
  2. soul power
  3. Changes
  4. love message
  5. Machine gun
  6. lover
  7. steal
  8. earth blues
  9. Voodoo Child (light comeback)
  10. we have to live together
  11. wild Thing
  12. Hello Joe
  13. purple mist

Know more

MESSAGE TO LOVE - Brief History of the Gypsy Band (13)

Jimi Hendrix: The Baggy Trials

Released: June 25, 2002
Songs list:

  1. burning desire
  2. coochie hoochie man
  3. love message
  4. ezy ryder
  5. soul power
  6. earth blues
  7. Changes
  8. lover
  9. we have to live together
  10. baggy jam
  11. earth blues
  12. burning desire

Album view:

jimi Hendrix: Baggy's rehearsal sessionsrepresents the fifth release ofdagger records, the official bootleg label created by Experience Hendrix. These raw two-track recordings were made over two long nights in December 1969. Throughout this collection, Hendrix can be heard playing with arrangements and lyrics, enthusiastically refining these brilliant examples of his new musical direction. bring it to life on stage. Along with previous Band Of Gypsys live albums,Baggy rehearsal sessionsoffers Hendrix fans a closer look at the evolution of one of Hendrix's most enduring achievements.

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