"Band of Gypsys" is a fine album, and the blueprint for funk-rock, funk-metal and a hundred other funks which, ironically enough, languish in the CD players of a multitude of twenty-first century white kids. Buddy Miles' soulful songs of love and life are a refreshing contrast to Hendrix's new-found didacticism (witness "Message to Love"), and the whole thing is spolighted in an uncluttered performance, Cox and Miles a solid rhythm section a million miles from the flashy Experience.
The high-point on this album, recorded live on New Year's Eve, 1969, is "Machine Gun", Jimi's musings upon the Vietnam War, made shockingly real by the guitarist's otherworldly playing and Buddy Miles' onamatopoeic percussion. Other classics are the groovesome opener "Who Knows" and Miles' effervescent "Changes".
As well as being arguably the most successful live album of all-new material ever issued, "Band of Gypsys" shows Hendrix as less of a band-leader and more of a band-member. Furthermore, it grooves, it rocks, and it's excellent. Anyone who cares a jot about rock, funk or twentieth century popular music in general ought to purchase this.