Jimi Hendrix / The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Composed by Jimi Hendrix

Song Review by

"Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" is among Jimi Hendrix's most performed and recorded live numbers. The song is a perfect example of how Hendrix took the Delta blues form and not only psychedelicized it, but cast an even more powerful spell by delivering the lyric in the voice of a voodoo priest. This combination of unearthly sonic noises and ideas -- like divine love and interstellar communication with the absolutely earthy lyrics and sounds of the blues form -- was an idea Hendrix pioneered and one at which he particularly excelled. (Obviously his most apparent heir was Stevie Ray Vaughn, who built a career on the Hendrix sound and even did a straight cover of "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" on his second album in 1984.) The studio version of Hendrix's own recording on Electric Ladyland (1968) is a phase-shifting effects extravaganza. Opening with a simple riff on the wah-wah pedal, the song explodes into full sonic force, the guitarist hitting the crunching chords and taking the astral-inspired leads for which he became infamous. The real guitar explorations happen midway through the song, while the basic, thundering riff is unrelenting. The lyric is simple and brief as it too riffs on the theme of a cosmic lover taking possession of his desired object: "If I don't meet you no more in this world then I'll meet you in the next one and don't be late." Beneath the singer's deep and profound delivery, those words resonate with certain prescience, particularly from beyond the grave.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Electric Ladyland 1968 Sony Music
No Image 1968 Track Record
Experience [Original Soundtrack] 1971 Charly Records 9:07
No Image 1987 Signal
Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival 1970 1992 Legacy / Sony Music
The Ultimate Experience 1993 MCA 5:13
No Image 1994 MCA
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: BBC Sessions 1998 Experience Hendrix 4:09
The Jimi Hendrix Experience 2000 Experience Hendrix / Sony Legacy 7:53
The Last Experience 2002 Timeless Treasures 7:16
Live at Berkeley: 2nd Show 2003 MCA / Experience Hendrix 10:49
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1969 2007 Geffen / Universal 7:54
Live at Berkeley 2008 Sony Legacy 10:49
At Last...The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland 2008 Experience Hendrix/Universal
BBC Sessions 2010 Experience Hendrix 4:09
Winterland [Box Set] 2011 Sony Music 7:43
Winterland [Highlights] 2011 Experience Hendrix / Legacy 7:09
blue highlight denotes editor's pick