If any artist deserved a hagiography it was Jimi Hendrix, and Joe Boyd's 1973 "authorized" tribute adequately sanctifies the legend. Perversely for a documentary, it achieves this simply through well-chosen concert footage rather than through … see full wiki
But somehow, seeing it happen in front of you causes the scales to fall from your eyes, and the interviews with the likes of one-time girlfriend Fayne Pridgeon, two hilarious hipsters from Greenwich Village, Eric Clapton, an Elvis-suited, overweight Lou Reed and most amusingly of all, a heavily stoned and bechecked-suited Pete Townsend, make for a fascinating documentary which puts Hendrix's legacy slap bang back into context, and gives a fascinating window into life in 1973 at the same time.
But what is truly great about this documentary is how it sacrifices neither background context nor music: as well as the interviews there is no shortage of footage of Hendrix live and in the studio. The band's stunning performance at Monterey is well represented, with full takes of Hey Joe, the barn-storming version of Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone (Jimi adored Bob Dylan) and of course the famous guitar sacrifice during Wild thing are reproduced in full for your viewing pleasure. Also featured are legendary moments such as the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock, the studio take, on twelve-string, of "Hear My Train A Comin'", and "Machine Gun" from the Filmore East show with the Band of Gypsies.
Away from his stratocaster Hendrix comes across as a surpisingly delicate, almost shy, figure. Asked in a chat show whether he recieved hate-mail following his "unconventional" rendition of the national anthem he looks genuinely baffled, and replies "what are you talking about? Unconventional? I thought it was beautiful" to an explosion of applause from the studio audience.
If, like I did, you missed Hendrix first time round, then you couldn't ask for a better primer now. Compulsive viewing.
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