Believe it or not, Jimi Hendrix would have turned 70 this year. Though the groundbreaking guitarist died at just 27 years old in the fall of 1970, he continues to leave behind an invaluable legacy. You don’t have to wait till what would have been his 70th birthday on November 27 to enjoy the latest releases in the partnership between Experience Hendrix and Sony’s Legacy Recordings. The original documentary film Jimi Plays Berkeley, derived from the two concerts Hendrix performed at the Berkeley, California's Berkeley Community Theatre on Saturday, May 30, 1970, will make its Blu-Ray debut on July 10 along. A new DVD edition is also due the same date. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass) joined Hendrix for these incendiary shows. Alongside Jimi Plays Berkeley will be the Blu-Ray premiere of the documentary Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, and a new audio release on both CD and audiophile-quality 12-inch vinyl, Jimi Plays Berkeley (The Second Set).
The expanded and remastered Jimi Plays Berkeley film has been made from a new, digitally-restored transfer from the original 16mm negative. More than fifteen minutes of previously unseen footage includes performances of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," "Machine Gun" and "Hear My Train A-Comin'" not featured in the original 1971 film release directed by Peter Pilafian.
Jimi Plays Berkeley features a 5.1 surround stereo soundtrack mixed by original Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and commentary from Abe Jacob, the audio engineer who recorded the Berkeley concerts in 1970. Jacob has had one of the most renowned careers in sound engineering for both rock-and-roll and the Broadway stage, having pioneered modern theatrical sound design in productions including the original Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin and A Chorus Line.
Jimi Plays Berkeley includes an audio-only presentation of the complete second set mixed in 5.1 surround sound. With 67 minutes of music, the second set concert recordings include such classics as "Stone Free," "Hey Joe," "Foxey Lady," "Star Spangled Banner," "Purple Haze," and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." John McDermott has also contributed an essay on the film’s genesis.
That second set from May 30, 1970 also forms the basis of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Berkeley (The Second Set). It will be released on CD as well as on 12-inch vinyl as a double-LP set. The vinyl release is an all-analog recording cut by Bernie Grundman from the master tapes and struck by Quality Record Pressings (QRP) on 200-gram vinyl. This second set was last released on CD in 2003 by Experience Hendrix and MCA.
Hit the jump for more, including news on the Blu-Ray premiere of Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child and order links for all titles!
Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child, a 90-minute documentary film helmed by Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology, Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys), was first issued on DVD as part of the 2010 Legacy box set West Coast Seattle Boy. With narration by Bootsy Collins from Hendrix’s own words, the film incorporates interviews with Hendrix as well as rare performance footage. It makes its Blu-Ray premiere on July 10.
The DVD and Blu-Ray of the expanded and remastered Jimi Plays Berkeley; CD and vinyl of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Berkeley (The Second Set); and Blu-Ray of Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child will all be available from Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix on July 10. You can pre-order at the links just above; we will update with a link for the CD and vinyl releases as soon as they are live!
Philip Cohen says
The previous DVD edition of "Jimi Plays Berkeley" also included the bonus 5.1 audio-only mix of the second set. And the new CD "Jimi Plays Berkeley(Second Set)" is a verbatim reissue of the MCA CD.
The only thing that will be new in the "Jimi Plays Berkeley" DVD & Blu-Ray, is the 15 minutes of newly discovered film footage, the audio commentary track & the Blu-Ray debut for the film.
This was a golden opportunity for Janie Hendrix to give official CD release to the first Berkeley set, but she blew it, and the first set will remain available only on bootlegs.
It is beginning to look like the well of Jimi Hendrix unreleased audio & video material is finally starting to run dry. Whatever remains is material that Janie Hendrix is unwilling to release, or which is tangled up in ownership disputes.
Never has a previous "wave" of "new" Hendrix releases from Sony had so little to offer to the fans who bought previous releases. What a hollow, empty bunch of "product".
Why blame Janie? Seems to me that the broad who failed to roll Jimi on his stomach after he passed out back in 1970 is far more directly responsible for the absence of any new Hendrix product.
Hank, Janie is the one in control of the estate (I believe) now that Al's gone too, and while there's other stuff out there, quite a lot of it I think, her handling of the estate, what gets released, and HOW it gets released, has been pretty lousy. I'm sure Phil can provide more details.
The only good development over the years has been that garbage like the infamous Voodoo Soup (where new tracks were laid down over Jimi's recordings, have been deleted.
The larger point is not who is to blame, but rather that these are underwhelming releases. Re-releasing the second set from Berkeley is a head scratcher. Remastered? Whatever, it sounds great as is. I'll reluctantly get the Jimi Plays Berkeley DVD for the extra 15 minutes even though that isn't much. Some accountant or analyst probably told Experience Hendrix these releases would sell enough for this year to delay releasing the good stuff that is left. In other words, there's enough dumb people to milk for another year. There's still plenty to release: Berkeley First set, Atlanta 1970, Hawaii 1970, RAH 1969, Randall's Island 1970 among others. Hope they get to it in my lifetime. I will say that I'm eternally grateful for the Winterland shows, complete or not. Those were my holy grail for Hendrix and I'm very satisfied.
Philip Cohen says
The bottom line is this: this latest release "wave" of Hendrix discs does not bring the fans even one note of previously unreleased music. Would it have tortured Janie Hendrix & her "Experience Hendrix" executives to bring us a definitive Berkeley CD release: a 3-CD set featuring the complete first & second set and highlights from the soundcheck(which was also recorded, though not all of the songs were complete run-throughs).
Let me explain to you why Ms.Hendrix has offered only the 2nd set on CD. The 2nd set can be fit onto one CD complete, but the 1st set was 90 minutes long and would require a 2-CD set. Bootleggers HAVE offered the first set on CD, but not complete. They've dropped tracks to facilitate a 1-CD set.
marko peter says
.......15minutes give me a break! Also There is Newport 1968 and Jimi Hendrix 67.04.01 - Gaumont, St Helen Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, England show and Live @ MIAMI POP 5/18/68...Albert Hall 1969 both 18 & 24 of feb. 1969..and SO on.....i noticed Bob Hendrix is gone...Janie clock is tickling to all of us!!! Please!