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Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Purple Haze"

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze (1967)

Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

What an intro! Distortion, dissonant, diabolus in musica (means diminished 5th)! The book rightfully points out that this song must have shocked the hippies in the middle of their Summer of Love. The book also calls it intimidating. I call it an electric call to arms.

Hendrix is the only guitar on the album, though there is some dubbing when you can hear him playing 'solo' over his own 'rhythm'. Redding plays admirably on bass, but mostly he is just filling out the bottom, nothing really show stopping. Mitchell's drums are, on the other hand, far more than time keepers in this song. Starting with the loud snare hits in the intro, and lasting until the fading outro, Mitchell plays fast loud accents whenever a break in the wall of Hendrix sound appears. Manager Chandler also produced this track, and I honestly have no complaints. You can make out all of the instruments, the sung vocals cut through cleanly and the spoken word at the end is supposed to sound lost and muddled through the haze.

The band is brilliant, the song is a favorite, the solo is almost understated in comparison to other Hendrix solos. This is before Woodstock, before Monterey Pop. They were unknown in America at the time this song came out, but would not be for long.

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