March 25: Jimi Hendrix released Band of Gypsys in 1970 45 years ago
Baby Child as a man as a living grain of sand… Sitting on the ever changing shore, Greeting the sunrise… Picked up upon the Gypsy woman, Hair Flaming Night as ravens even sleep…rainbow cloth Tambourine complimenting her chant and choice of graces, And Love Her God…
– Jimi Hendrix
Band of Gypsys is a live album and a band, but it isn’t any kind of band. It is the band that was formed by Jimi Hendrix after The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Band of Gypsys (the band) is Jimi Hendrix backed by Billy Cox (bass) and Buddy Miles (drums). They made one album before Jimi Hendrix died, but what an album!
“It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”
– Bob Dylan (1995)
“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”
– Bob Dylan (booklet Biograph)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London. According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman.
“(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio”
– Andy Johns
For me it is the only cover version of a Bob Dylan song that is arguably as good or better than Dylan’s own version.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower (audio):