Jimi Hendrix

Classic Sixtyseven

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Aside from his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, film footage of Jimi Hendrix in 1967 isn't too well represented on official video releases. This 80-minute unauthorized DVD picks up bits and pieces from throughout that year, though a little of it actually has found its way onto official DVD. There's probably a good reason, to be frank, that much of it has eluded official compilations, since the image and sound quality are usually a little rough, though never so much so that it's difficult to watch. For the serious Hendrix fan, however, it's worth experiencing, as there are some good performances here, even if some of them are mimed to recordings, and they usually play the same few songs, with multiple versions of "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," "The Wind Cries Mary," "Stone Free," "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" -- half a dozen, in fact, of "Hey Joe" alone. While this might be Hendrix at his most pop-oriented and singles-oriented, he certainly looks like he's having more fun here than he would be in two or three years' time, when he was playing more elaborate and improvised music to much bigger stadium and festival audiences. Highlights include a March 1967 clip of "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze" at the Marquee club in London, and very good live performances of "Stone Free," "Hey Joe," and "Purple Haze" on German TV, though the latter sequence has circulated in better condition elsewhere. A few of the mimed or promotional clips show that the Jimi Hendrix Experience were not immune to the silliness expected of pop bands in their early days, especially in a film set to "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" where he obviously fakes playing violin. The two non-1967 clips include his legendary performance on Lulu's BBC variety show in early 1969 (unfortunately poorly synced here), in which he made an unannounced transition into an instrumental version of "Sunshine of Your Love" from "Hey Joe." The other is an intriguing film of the Experience playing "Gloria" in the studio in 1968, interspersed with non-studio promo-type footage of the band; one guesses that there were plans to release the song at the time if they went to the trouble of making an accompanying clip, though the recording wasn't issued until after his death.