One of the pleasures of working from home over the holiday week is that I can to listen to music and explore the depths of an inherited music collection passed on from friends (thanks Alex, thanks Charlie) over the years.
Today I was dipping into the 330+ song Jimi Hendrix section and stumbled across this amazingly soulful version of Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone by Hendrix at an impromptu concert in NYC. Before you press play, let me set the scene.
It’s a few days after the assassination of MLK in Memphis, Tennessee. The nation is in shock. Jimi, who had been spending his days soaking in the New York blues scene, gets together with BB King who was also in town along with Buddy Guy, Al Kooper, Elvin Bishop and Paul Butterfield to put on a memorial concert that will go down as one of the greatest blues jam sessions ever caught on tape.
The entire performance is worth a listen but it is Jimi’s soulful rendition of Dylan’s requiem for the 60’s that is emotionally hair-raising. The performance features Al Kooper on organ who came up with the riff that became that song’s signature when it was originally recorded.
When Jimi sings we can’t help but feel what Dylan’s biographer called the song’s “loss of innocence and the harshness of experience.” What a night that must have been.