Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Song Review by Denise Sullivan

"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 MCA / Universal Distribution 5:14
Electric Ladyland Part 1 1968 Track Record
Jimi Hendrix Experience [Signal] 1987 Signal
Withnail and I 1987
Original Soundtrack
DRG 4:28
The Ultimate Experience 1993 MCA 5:13
Psychedelic Years Revisited 1994
Various Artists
In the Name of the Father 1994
Original Soundtrack
Island 5:09
The Experience Collection 1994 MCA
Good Morning Vietnam: A Soundtrack for a Generation 2004
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:20
At Last...The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland 2008 Experience Hendrix / Universal