Jimi Hendrix’s 'Band of Gypsys' set for 50th anniversary vinyl reissue
Credit: Unknown

Revisit Jimi Hendrix’s isolated guitar on ‘Voodoo Child’ for a reminder of his genius

We’re digging into the Far Out magazine vault to bring you a special clip of Jimi Hendrix’s isolated guitar on his game-changing song ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’

The isolated tracks of famous songs can, at times, feel a little bit redundant. After all, artists work tirelessly to put all the individual parts of a record in one place to work together seamlessly – not to be picked apart. However on some tracks, and most notably on some performances, it is worth its weight in gold. Jimi Hendrix’s guitar work is worth so much more.

In particular, his work on the imperious song, and an iconic moment of music, Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1968 hit ‘Voodoo Child’. Recorded as part of the band’s Electric Ladyland album, ‘Voodoo Child’ has always had the guitar in its blood after it was formed following a special jam session.

The song was developed from ‘Voodoo Chile’, recorded May 2, 1968, during a studio jam session with legendary Steve Winwood on organ and Jack Casady on bass. It was enough to inspire Hendrix to bring it to the rest of The Experience with the intent of recording it.

Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding liked the track and went about learning it right away as Redding explained, “We learned that song in the studio … They had the cameras rolling on us as we played it”. The cameras were that of ABC’s and they were intent on capturing the band in their magical flow, Hendrix added, “Someone was filming when we started doing [Voodoo Child]. We did that about three times because they wanted to film us in the studio, to make us—’Make it look like you’re recording, boys’—one of them scenes, you know, so, ‘OK, let’s play this in E, a-one, a-two, a-three’, and then we went into ‘Voodoo Child’.”

While the track may not be classed as the pinnacle of Hendrix’s iconographic legend but it sure is a perfect distillation of what made him great. On ‘Voodoo Child’ Hendrix twists and subverts the traditional dealt blues guitar form and turns it into something entirely unique. He puts it on a kaleidoscopic conveyor belt heading for the sun.

We needn’t wax lyrical about Jimi Hendrix’s iconic guitar playing, especially considering we have the isolated track below. But those first iconic notes are truly beautiful when isolated, though we do suggest you sit back and take a listen to this brilliant clip.

Though it has a few lines from the original song appear, it’s worth it to hear Hendrix using both of his instruments at once to enact his vision.

I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island
Might even raise a little sand

‘Cause I’m a voodoo child
Voodoo child

I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
I’ll give it right back one of these days
I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
I’ll give it right back one of these days

If I’ll see you no more in this world
I’ll meet ya on the next one
Don’t be late
Don’t be late

Well, I’m a voodoo child
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child, baby

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