Listening Lately – Jimi Hendrix

I really like the ‘new’ Jimi Hendrix album released earlier this month.  There are a lot of good, previously-unreleased recordings on People, Hell and Angels.  Even after a lifetime of admiration, Hendrix’s work still blows me away.  I especially like “Somewhere.”

Shortly before People, Hell and Angels was released, I went searching online for video of Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” performance at Woodstock.  I’ve been thinking a lot about patriotism as I write my book, and something about that performance — the force of its innovation, its venue and context in time — seems particularly complex and loaded.

(Note: One family story I’ve always loved is that after Hendrix’s performance that summer, my aunts and their classmates petitioned to change out the stock “Star Spangled Banner” recording their school played during morning announcements.  All that next year they started their mornings listening to Hendrix’s version over the P.A.)

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