Wednesday, July 29, 2015

August 1970 and a new supergroup emerges - Balls

One can only imagine the excitement and the buzz in the music world in the summer of 1970 as the latest in a long line of 'super groups' announced itself in the music press. Denny Laine, pre-Wings but already a name in the business from his time in the Moody Blues and vocal on their first hit 'Go Now', got together with two other 'names'. Well, not exactly legends at this point, but both Trevor Burton and Alan White had made their mark. Burton was lead guitarist in The Move who were still going but now with new guy Jeff Lynne on guitar. Alan White, pre-Yes and before his joint smoking stint with Terry Reid in the Glastonbury Fayre film, got together and, quite rightly, surmising that this was a bit of a laugh and it wouldn't go anywhere, called themselves 'Balls'. 
Could have been worse, I suppose, had Laine decided he was the 'name' in the band, they would have been Denny Laine's Balls. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Did someone film Hendrix recording Electric Ladyland?

I am reading the booklet that came with the Experience Hendrix mid 1990s CD reissue of Jimi's 1968 masterpiece Electric Ladyland.

I'm intrigued by this passage in the notes to the CD: 

"For 16 days in May 1968, an ABC-TV film crew followed the Experience to stage and studio. Shooting began at the Record Plant on May 3....The footage begins with scenes of a groupie sketching Jimi as he records Voodoo Chile. The scene cuts to the control room where Eddie (Kramer) tells an interviewer 'Jimi's music is here to stay'. Mike Jeffrey and Chas Chandler were also interviewed while Jimi was filmed writing lyrics."

I think I know a fair amount about film footage of Jimi, but I have never heard or seen anything related to this ABC footage. Surely, it it does exist, it would have seen the light of day by now. But if it didn't exist, how could the Experience Hendrix CD notes be referencing it? 

The latest extended release of the Classic Albums program, now made available by Experience Hendrix as 'At last...the beginning: the making of Electric Ladyland' offers some glimpses of the Record Plant sessions, visuals only, no sound.

The DVD is worth getting for the extra footage, most of which features engineer Eddie Kramer peeling back the layers of the backing tracks to show the detail and the unique vision that Jimi applied to the album. Some of this is just beautiful, especially the rhythm tracks behind 'Have you ever been...'

Another thing this extended episode reveals is that on the original acetate of the album, the 'white-coated men at CBS' had got the name of the album wrong. Many years before Kirsty MacColl turned it into a joke album title of her own, here it is, Electric Landlady!

Here's a clip from the original Classic Albums program, which contains brief footage from the Record Plant sessions at the very beginning: