Yorkshire Evening Post
1969 June 24th.
Portrait of Jimi - Musical Bombshell

The guitar is part of him. It can cry aloud with him, expressing his anger and elation, his moments of majestic serenity and his extended torrents of power. Jimi Hendrix, a lithe, multi-coloured figure, swings the instrument into the air and it talks in his hands. It is not easy to assess the effects of the tidal wave which Jimi Hendrix has sent through the waters of contemporary music. Let it suffice to say that his influence is apparent in the work of hundreds of his disciples. But none can or will come close to the open brilliance or stunning sound of this young phenomenon from America, who can now earn more from one concert than from six months of one night stands in his early days. Inventive.

No one factor has produced this musical bombshell. He began, like so many others, on the road. He was and is, a terrifically fluid and inventive blues guitarist. Hendrix would join up with the tours which came through town, and this brought him experience with such immortal names as B.B. King and Chuck Jackson. In the dives of New York’s Greenwich Village, Hendrix, known then as the Blue Flame, built up a reputation as one of the most exciting guitarists around. He played with Mike Bloomfield, who was to achieve fame with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He met Bob Dylan, whom he still admires fervently. He slept in dirty tenements with the rats running around. But he had to live, so he wore glitter suits and played for the Isley Brothers and Little Richard in the years of rock when the urban blues artists were finding steady work more difficult to come by. Natural Flair.

Hendrix learned the art of showmanship - but he added to that long and tough education his own burning brand of style and his own natural flair. He was still very young, and was already a professional through and through. Everything started for Jimi Hendrix as we know him after ex-Animals bassist Chas Chandler found him in America some three years ago. He wisely made himself Hendrix’s manager, financed him from the pile he had made for himself with the Animals and brought him across the Atlantic after letting it out that here was a man who was going to turn everything upside down. “He plays guitar with his teeth”, said Chandler. Ridiculous, came the reply. Hendrix went ahead and played the guitar with his teeth - when he wasn’t playing one-handed. Hendrix rooted around and picked out two of the country’s best musicians - Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The outfit was named “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”, and their first offering was a beautifully treated version of an old traditional song called “Hey Joe”. That was enough. Hendrix’s electric shock hair, his rainbow attire and incredible music ignited a chain of explosions through the world of pop music. Thrilling Ideas.

Eric Clapton of the Cream, idol of thousands of guitarists, was reported as saying that he would have to start learning the guitar all over again. Jimi Hendrix is still developing today. His recent material has often been almost frighteningly good, brimming with original and thrilling ideas. Behind the fantasy lyrics, the tremendous volume of his music and the torrents of notes, sometimes soaring singing, often blistering and violent, Hendrix is known as a quiet and extremely polite man. On stage he is master - a charismatic figure and a troubadour in the music of now. But blues foundations always remain in evidence, even on his latest and farthest ever reaching album, “Electric Ladyland”, classics like “Voodoo Chile” remind us that the man’s heart is rooted in a simple and soulful music however far his musical visions and skills will take him