Thanksgiving and Hendrix's Birthday. All at once.

To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving. To the rest of you, today is Jimi Hendrix’s birthday, so you, too, should join in the party.

Had Hendrix lived, he would have been 66 years old today. Hard to imagine what the flamboyant guitar god would be doing now. Would he have mellowed into an elder bluesman? Or would he have become a nonstop touring nostalgia act? Sadly, we’ll never know.

To mark Jimi’s birthday, I dug out a box set released in 1990 on what would have been his 48th birthday. It’s called Lifelines: The Jimi Hendrix Story. I skipped this back when I was doing the “Saturday Boxing” series because of the way this collection was put together.

Over the 1988 Labor Day weekend, the Westwood One Radio Network aired a program called “Jimi Hendrix – Live & Unreleased,” hosted by Bruce Gary. This Lifelines collection is from that program and includes excerpts from several interviews with Hendrix. To me, the dialogue was annoying, interrupting the flow of some great music. As such, I’ve only listened to the entire thing once or twice, and I decided to skip it when I posted selections from my box sets.

When I was thinking about posting something for Hendrix’s birthday, I thought back to this set. I gave it another listen and decided that not only is the music great, but it’s interesting now to hear Jimi’s thoughts. The dialogue also provides you some information about the tracks you might not otherwise have known.

With that in mind, here are a few tracks from Lifelines: The Jimi Hendrix Story, dialogue and all. I’ve also included the liner notes for each track.

I’m a Man (live).mp3 ~ with Curtis Knight and the Squires
Recorded live in Hackensack, NJ, in December 1965. One of the earliest examples of Hendrix singing in front of a band, this Bo Diddley classic demonstrates Jimi’s blues and R&B roots – as well as how his guitar playing was already becoming quite stylized.
Drivin’ South.mp3
Recorded in the BBC’s London studios on Oct. 17, 1967, this may well be the guitar showpiece of this collection. Jimi used to perform this in the early days with Curtis Knight, but he never released his own version.
Voodoo Child (Slight Return).mp3
The original version appeared on 1968’s Electric Ladyland album. This alternate take is take four of eight takes recorded at The Record Plant in New York on May 3, 1968. Of the eight takes of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” take four (this one) was the longest run-through before the selected master take (number eight).
Angel (home demo).mp3
Recorded on Jimi’s portable tape deck in early 1968, while he was composing songs for the Electric Ladyland project. “Angel” wasn’t recorded properly until 1970, during sessions for what would become The Cry of Love. A very intimate glimpse into Jimi’s songwriting process.
Send My Love to Linda.mp3
Recorded at The Record Plant in New York in August 1970, this comes from one of Jimi’s last recording sessions.
I Don’t Live Today (live).mp3
Recorded live at the Los Angeles Forum – Apr. 26, 1969
[No dialogue in this track.]

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