Sunday, June 28, 2020

Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Soup (1995)

(U.S 1963 - 1970)
Voodoo Soup is a posthumous compilation album by Jimi Hendrix, released in the United States on April 11, 1995, by MCA Records. It was one of the last Hendrix albums produced by Alan Douglas, who was also responsible for the posthumous Hendrix releases Midnight Lightning and Crash Landing in 1975.  Voodoo Soup was Douglas' attempt at presenting Hendrix's planned fourth studio album.
The first attempt in 1971, The Cry of Love, produced by drummer Mitch Mitchell and Eddie Kramer (with a credit to Hendrix), was then out of print (last released on CD in 1992; re-released in 2014). 'After Experience Hendrix', a family company, then gained control of his recordings, and First Rays Of The Rising Sun was released in 1997 as another attempt to realize the album Hendrix had planned. Since then, Voodoo Soup has remained out of print., released only on CD and cassette.

I love the Voodoo Soup compilation, and knowing it probably would never come out on Vinyl, I did the next best thing and purchased the Cassette some time ago.

First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (1997)
In his last Interview, Jimi was asked about the effect he would like his music to have on people. "I'd like for them to get easier in their mind a little bit", he said, "cause there's too many heavy songs out nowadays. Music has been getting too heavy, almost to the state of being unbearable. I have this one little saying: 'when things get too heavy just call me Helium, the lightest gas to man' (laughs)"
Asked where he gets inspiration for his songs, he replied, "From my just recent experiences (laughs). 

What I try to do is like look at the totality of that and give the other half, you know, the solution, whatever it might be. You have the experience and then you have the use of it. But it all has to come from within. I guess a person would have to change himself in order to have a living example of what he's singing about. In order to change the world, I guess you'd have to really get your head together first before you can say anything to the world, to change it. And I was just tryin' to go through a lot of changes, then I would write the nice parts about them. Well, right now it's taking a while (laughs)".

"As far as Jimi was concerned," observed produced Alan Douglas, who supervised Hendrix's Record Plant sessions during the last half of 1969, "the four albums that came out after he died, and some material that was included on Crash Landing, the best of all of those five albums was where he was going for his last vocal pop album. 

He carried songs with him for two years before he'd finally record them. He was going through a lot during 1969 and '70: a drug bust and trial, pulling together Electric Lady Studios. His band changed three times in one year, he had big trouble with his management because of the break up of the Experience all through 1969, them trying to put the Experience back together with Jimi trying to go in another direction; turmoil, business problems - write a song here, record a track there. 

Jimi jumping in and out of the kitchen, throwing some tracks in and mixing the soup up. Musical ingredients from the kitchen of the original Voodoo Child. Very eclectic, because his emotions and his inner search was changing constantly. 

Every time he made up his mind to do something there was a frustration.  Now here comes the most difficult part of his life, the most difficult time to produce anything because he didn't have the continuity. He had completed three albums in two years. Today, artists take years to do one album. He had four bands during that period. What would that do to your continuity? It was a time of constant change and transition for him, which is the reason why we see such a disparate set of songs here. That's what make up 'Voodoo Soup'. It's Jimi's extraordinary musicianship and poetry that makes it taste so good.

Voodoo Soup Ingredients

The New Rising Sun
Recorded on October 23, 1968 at TTG Sunset Studios in Hollywood. Jimi plays guitar and drums. For the warble-wave effect, Jimi's guitar is filtered through either a Univibe unit or, less likely, through a rotating Leslie Speaker. However, whereas the Leslie was available in 1968, the UniVibe dates back only to Winter '69. So Jimi may have later in 1969 fed The New Rising Sun tapes through a UniVibe in another studio. Being a 16-track studio in 1968, TTG was relatively hitech. It is possible that there Jimi got to try out an early experimental model of the UniVibe while it was still under development.. There is also a chance that the master tape of The New Rising Sun was mistakenly stored away in a "TTG" box. The tape itself is a nine minute reel on which Jimi is heard working alone in the studio. Four of the tracks for this recording contain his overdubbed drum play.

Belly Button Window
An early demo was cut on July 23 at Electric Lady. Then the master take was cut on 4 track, 1/2 inch tape on August 22, 1970. This Brownie McGhee-style blues was Jimi's last studio recording, which became the closing track of 'The Cry Of Love' album in 1971.

Stepping Stone
Recorded at the Record Plant on either November 14, 1969 or January 20, 1970. Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass). First released on War Heroes. Bruce Gary overdubbed drum tracks January 1995.  Jimi originally called the tune "Sky Blues" (the lyrics were first heard when Jimi sang them under the sky at Woodstock, and may therefore have something to do with that open-air festival) and later labelled it "Trying To be A Man" before it was released as a single titled 
Stepping Stone.

Cry Of Love (1971)
Recorded at Electric Lady on June 25, 1970, with Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass), Juma Sultan on congas and an unknown pianist. The Ghetto Fighters (Arthur & Albert Allen) sang backing vocals.  Jimi's riff for Freedom first popped up during jams with A band Of Gypsys. The full blown song was debuted at the April 25, 1970 Forum show in L.A. Jimi then recorded it in New York on may, 15, the same day that three black  students were shot dead by troopers in Mississippi. 

Another demo of Freedom was cut at Electric Lady on June 16. The June 25 master take was made during the session for Drifting. Overdubs were added to both songs on August 14.
In April 1971, "Freedom" reached #59 in the charts when it was released as a single b/w "Angel". Freedom was also the opening track for the 'Cry Of Love' album.

Recorded on July 23, 1970 at Electric Lady with Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass). After Jimi died, Mitch worked to complete "Angel". It became apparent quickly when we were going through the tapes," said Mitch, "that a couple of drum overdubs were essential. I'd given Jimi a drum kit for Electric Lady, an old Gretsch kit I'd used at Berkeley, and doing the overdubs was the first time I'd seen that drum kit since I'd given it to him. It felt strange. And it's kind of ironic that "Angel" was the most difficult and jigsaw-like track to put together, and yet it became the most covered of Jimi's songs. "Angel" first appeared on 'The Cry Of Love' album.

Room Full Of Mirrors
Recorded at the Record Plant on November 17, 1969 with Buddy Miles (drums). Jimi later overdubbed his own bass playing to the basic tracks. Overdubs were added on August 20, 1970. Bruce Gary overdubbed drum tracks January, 1995.

In August 1967, the Experience were filmed at the Rudolf Valentino mansion in Los Angeles. There they spent time inside a room that was covered from floor to ceiling with mirrors.
Hendrix unveiled Mirrors at the Record Plant on August 12, 1968. It'd been a year since his trip to the Valentino Mansion mirror room. During autumn '68 he rented a house in L.A and worked on Mirrors at Sunset-Highland Studios. Paul Caruso added harp tracks to these unreleased takes.
Demos of Room Full Of Mirrors were cut at Olympic Studios in London during the winter of '69 and again at the Record Plant on April 21. Then, on stage just hours after his Toronto bust for drug possession on May 3, Jimi used Mirrors to reflect  his dilemma. A year later the number reached perfection on stage at the L.A Forum Cry Of Love concert.

Room Full of Mirrors represent's Jimi's first ray emerging out of the purple haze. Both New Rising Sun and Mirrors were conceived in the immediate heat of Ladyland. The three descending chords of the New Rising Sun are reversed into the three ascending chords of Room Full Of Mirrors, representing the rise to perceptual breakthrough. 
Room Full Of Mirrors required a great deal of work," recalls Kramer. "we spent a great deal of time overdubbing. In a continuing series we added guitars and created some intricate panning effects before finishing. Room Full Of Mirrors was released in October, 1971 on Rainbow Bridge, the second posthumous Hendrix LP. 

Recorded at Olmstead Sound Studios, NYC in April, 1969. Mitch Mitchell (drums), Noel Redding (Bass). First released on the fourth posthumous Hendrix LP, War Heroes, in October, 1972.
Mitch discusses: The last masterpiece from the Experience in the studio was "Midnight". Noel claims that the instrumental was inspired when "I did my Booker T. riff", referring to a Booker T & The MG's tune called Homegrown. "Jimi asked me to show it to him. I showed it to him on the guitar"
Globs of molten steel belch heavy industrial vibrato in this original GuiTarzan metal instrumental. The results remain Jimi's most intense extremities reached in the studio since Voodoo Child (slight return). 'At the crack of Midnight the past is eclipsed. A new sun rises and casts the first rays'.

Night Bird Flying
Recorded at Electric Lady on June 16, 1970, with Mitch Mitcher (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), Overdub sessions on August 14 and 22.
Night Bird Flying was slated to be the flip side of a planned "Dolly Dagger "single. Jimi compared the two songs and concluded that Night Bird is nicer, much more of a real song.  "Night Bird Flying"  was released on 'The Cry of Love' album.

Recorded at Electric Lady on July 23, 1970. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). On June 25 Jimi had cut a demo of Drifting during the sessions for Freedom and Astro Man. On July 23 he ran through five takes of Drifting and then said to Eddie Krammer, "Let me do some sea sounds" The performance that followed was serene, it was take six. "That's the one!" declared Kramer. "did you record it?" Jimi asked. "Sure did," Eddie replied, "have a listen". Jimi approved take six and on Aug 14 he returned to add overdubs to it. Final touches were done posthumously.  Drifting was included on 'The Cry Of Love' album.

Ezy Ryder
Recorded at the Record Plant on December 18, 1969 with Buddy Miles (Drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). At Olympic Studios on December 20, 1967 Noel Redding recorded an acetate of a song he wrote titled "Dance". Jimi likes the basic riff and began to develop it on his own. Five months later at the Record Plant he recorded an experimental arrangement and dubbed it "Mushy Name".  The riff then lay dormant for a year until the Jimi Hendrix Experience cut an instrumental at the Record Plant based on the theme. In autumn '69, after seeing the Peter Fonda cycle flick names Easy Rider (which was the first Hollywood film to include Experience music) Jimi wrote lyrics under the title of Ezy Ryder and adapted them to a new guitar arrangement based on the Dance / Mushy name theme.
Later in December, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood of Traffic teamed up to add backing vocals to Ezy Ryder. Jimi took the tapes to Electric Lady and added eight guitar overdubs to the December 18 basic tracks.

"Ezy Ryder and Dolly Dagger were the most challenging songs we did," claims Billy Cox, "because there were so many intricate parts we put on them. I remember when we were recording them I'd look up and there was no one in the studio but Jimi, myself, Mitch, Eddie and maybe our old ladies."
Kramer assistant Kim King recalls, "Eddie and Jimi were doing a four-handed mix on the console while I was doing the flanging - actually holding my thumb on the tape machine's pitch, and by varying that by microcycles, the notes were beating against each other. The sound was fantastic."
Melody Maker dubbed it "the fullest, most majestic track, expounding all that is Hendrix - the eternal electrical myth, one a man."

"Ezy Ryder" was released in February 1971 on the first posthumous Hendrix LP, 'The Cry Of Love', which reached #3 on Billboard's chart.

Pali Gap
Recorded at Electric Lady on July 1, 1970 with Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). "as Dolly Dagger began to come apart", recalls Kramer, "Billy Cox started playing the bass line to "Gimme Some Loving", The Spencer Davis Group song, and that developed into a jam."
After three minutes or so," continues John Jansen, "Hendrix began playing this beautiful melody and the rest of the guys fell in behind him. That was Pali Gap".

"I think Mike Jeffery was responsible for the title," explains Mitch. "I didn't hear Jimi use it. They were in the studio mixing it, and it's what they put down on the box. It's just one of those things that stuck."  In the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge Jimi's friends are seen lifted up a hillside by powerful winds while Pali Gap is heard as the soundtrack. The powerful winds are Pali winds, caused by a Gap in Maui's Oahu mountains.  The Pacific jet stream is caught and channelled in rushing currents through the range passageways. The feeling of Jimi's breezy, uplifting instrumental likely conjured Pali memories and inspired the Pali gap title.

Jimi's guitar achieves organ-like tones from the UniVibe. Lead and rhythm tracks intertwine and swap roles. Tony Glover described in Rolling Stone's movie review how Pali "flows in waves, rippling like wine running slowly down dusk-lit marble stones". The tune was first heard in 1971 on the Rainbow Bridge album, which hit #15 on Billboard's charts in October of that year.

Message Of Love
Recorded on January 20, 1970 at the Record Plant, with Buddy Miles (Drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). The same session produced Earth Blues. Earlier versions of both songs had been tapped at the Record Plant on December 19, 1969.

The main guitar riff for Message To Love was introduced during Jimi's Spanish castle magic solo at the February 18, 1969 Albert Hall concert. Three months later he developed theme further at the San Jose Pop Festival, shortly after composing a similar descending riff for Earth Blues. Lyrics were added during the summer and the 'Everybody come alive' section of Message also resembles the repeated vocal/guitar unison used in Earth Blues. Message To Love became the opening keynote for Jimi's August set at Woodstock. "Message to Love" was released on the Crash Landing album in 1975.

Peace In Mississippi
Recorded at TTG Sunset-Highland Studios in Hollywood on October 24, 1968 with Mich Mitchell(Drums) and Noel Redding (Bass).

Jimi playing his white Fender Strat
The six Winterland gigs in October '68 were the last Experience shows to feature a rosewood neck attached to Jimi's Strat. During his TTG sessions two weeks later, Jimi was first photographed fingering a maple neck to administer Peace In Mississippi. This music captures his exhilaration at a time when his Electric Ladyland album was racing to the top of the charts. At last, with media now chronicling his every move, Hendrix possessed license to reveal serious intentions with his art. With his new 'light neck' sceptre, he ignites a First Ray crusade. Peace In Mississippi sounds the alert; a warpath-around-the-bonfire, dance of the Shaman instrumental.

Mississippi has roots in blues in the sense that Hendrix was reconstructing harmonic / melodic riffs developed mainly from the 12-bar chord statement. He transplanted these figures and motifs to non 12-bar blues forms. In Mississippi, Jimi's blues mutate as music morphing into not necessarily Heavy Metal, but sensuous textures.
"Peace In Mississippi" first appeared on the Crash Landing album, which hit #5 on Billboard's chart in March 1975.

In From The Storm
Recorded on July 21 and 22, 1970 at Electric Lady. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox(Bass). Released on The Cry Of Love album.
In From The Storm became a staple at Jimi's later concerts, with filmed portions of the song existing from Maui, Isle of Wight, and Stockholm. The tune's strong hook made it ideal for stage interpretation and improvisation. Storm became the final addition to Jimi's concert repertoire. 
"I just came back today, I just came back from the storm..."
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from Cassette and includes full album artwork for CD (sourced from Discogs).  One of my favourite Hendrix compilations, it has never been released on Vinyl to the best of my knowledge, but because it has appeared on cassette, I believe it is still a valid candidate for this blog.  

A lot of people have criticised the posthumously released Hendrix albums, but I am of the opinion that some of his best material can be found on these releases, as represented on this compilation.
Hope you enjoy this appetiser !
01 The New Rising Sun 3:21
02 Belly Button Window 3:35
03 Stepping Stone 4:08
04 Freedom 3:26
05 Angel 4:20
06 Room Full Of Mirrors 3:10
07 Midnight 6:02
08 Night Bird Flying 3:47
09 Drifting 3:52
10 Ezy Ryder 4:09
11 Pali Gap 4:43
12 Message To Love 3:34
13 Peace In Mississippi 5:26
14 In From The Storm 3:41



  1. Cheers cobber.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi AussieRock thanks for this. Great to hear these new Douglas productions on some familiar tracks and extra thanks for including the CD sleeve notes.