Upon arriving in London to kickstart his music career, Jimi Hendrix rounded up a band which consisted of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding.
Hendrix, whose famed guitar skill and style combined with his undeniable charisma as a frontman, had taken his band on a select few shows around London as the group began to build their reputation in the birthing of psychedelic rock.
After arriving in England on September 24, 1966, and under the stewardship of his new manager and former Animals bassist, Chas Chandler, the Jimi Hendrix Experience were booked to play a show at the Chelmsford Corn Exchange, in the City of Chelmsford, just outside London.
The band rolled straight into a cover version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ before playing ‘Stone Free’, the eventual B-side to iconic track ‘Hey Joe’. The footage from this show, thought to be the earliest known recording of Hendrix and his band, was shot for ‘Telixer: A Thing of Beat Is a Joy Forever,’ a documentary on British music made predominantly for Dutch company KRO.
Shaun Everett, a mod who was in the crowd that night alongside the likes of Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, wrote about the evening for the official website of Chelmsford Rocks, he said: “Hendrix gave two sets. That was the normal arrangement for the Corn’ole. Both sets usually 45 minutes to one hour each and there was absolutely no music to be had after 11.30pm.”
Everett added: “I have spent a long time looking for myself on that film clip but to no avail. I was probably still at the rear of the venue or even more likely in the local pub for the break! Hendrix, at the end of the performance, walked straight up to a few of us standing just there and one of my mates lit his joint for him. They were so knocked out by that I recall.
“My recollection was more nasal. Rock musicians have this uncanny ability to harbour their own post-set aromas about themselves: in this case that unmistakeable aroma of cannabis…I will always remember that part even if my music recollections are a bit sparse. I have also ‘dined out’ on that anecdote for many years since. I had passed close by the ‘God’.”
Here it is: