The Unusual Magic of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”


Poor Polyphonic. He was nearly to ship one other completely combined treatise on a basic rock magnum opus when the YouTube algorithm and the Jimi Hendrix Property stepped in to cease him earlier than publishing. So when you can watch this real-time explication of Hendrix’s more-than-just-a-jam “Voodoo Chile” with simply the the graphics and the narration, it is best to cue up the 15 minute monitor nonetheless you possibly can (for instance on Spotify), after which press play when when the video provides the sign. (This is perhaps the primary YouTube explainer video to ask for copyright-skirting assist.)

And anyway, it is best to have a duplicate of Electrical Ladyland, proper? It’s the one the place Hendrix and the Expertise actually push all of the boundaries, taking rock, blues, jazz, psychedelia, sci-fi, the whole lot…all out so far as potential within the studio. It’s the one which launched future members of the Band of Gypsies. And it’s the one which hints of the whole lot that may have been, if Hendrix hadn’t handed away quickly after.

Now, basic rock radio often performs the a lot shorter and fewer laid again “Voodoo Baby (Slight Return)” that closes the album. However this essay is in regards to the longest monitor on Electrical Ladyland, the one which ends facet one. That is the monitor that Hendrix needed to sound like a lightweight night time jam at New York membership The Scene—and which he recorded after one specific night time doing simply that. He taped the viewers results quickly after. Steve Winwood is on keyboards. Jack Casady from Jefferson Airplane performs bass. And Mitch Mitchell turns in considered one of his best performances and solos.

Within the lyrics, Polyphonic notes, Hendrix connects the blues to his Cherokee heritage and to voodoo, to intercourse, after which past into science fiction landscapes. The tune is a self-portrait, displaying the previous, the affect, the coaching, after which the potential that music, magic, and (let’s face it) LSD might carry. The band is vibing. Winwood drops riffs which are extra British people than Chicago blues. Hendrix strays far past the orbit of blues, swings previous it another time on his personal slight return, after which explodes into stardust.

Polyphonic’s video additionally seems to be lovely and completely intersperses his critique with the tune’s essential sections. It might have appeared like a jam, however Hendrix fastidiously designed it to circulate the way in which it does. And Polyphonic follows go well with. It’s a extremely pleasing stroll by way of a monitor (once more discover it on Spotify right here) many already know, reawakening a way of surprise about all its inherent, unusual genius.

Associated Content material:

How Science Fiction Shaped Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix’s Residence Audio System & Report Assortment Will get Recreated in His London Flat

Behold Moebius’ Many Psychedelic Illustrations of Jimi Hendrix

Ted Mills is a contract author on the humanities who presently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. It’s also possible to observe him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his movies right here.

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