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65
4.7 out of 5 stars
Band Of Gypsys
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2002
"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.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2004
This is quite simply the most amazing live guitar album ever. Everything on this album is perfect..I cannot find a single fault and I've listened to it many many times. Jimi's masterpiece Machine Gun is the most amazing piece of guitar work I've ever heard in my life......and the bass and drums throughtout the entire album are spot perfect. If you like Hendrix...or a big fan of guitarists like me....you just have to own this album. It's like a law of the universe.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2009
Band of Gypsys is an album that must belong in every serious music collection. I think that it is the greatest rock album ever, live or studio included. There are many components that add to the overall success of the album, but what sticks out the most is just the raw, natural sound of music created by this amazing trio! Buddy Miles on drums and vocals is really on fire here: He's inventive, passionate and just all around in the music. His drive is incredible and his vocal solo on Who Knows is just classic, probably the best vocal solo I've heard outside of jazz. Billy Cox has a natural sound and time that really fits the overall expression of the group very well.

But let's not forget about the true star here: Hendrix. He is amazing here; his soloing and storytelling transcends anything I've heard and his sound is amazing. Considering the era in which this album was released his sound is unbelievable, almost superhuman. The bass and drum serve as his canvas and he's painting effortlessly and freely while still keeping his interaction with Cox and Miles intact. It really is incredible how wide the sound is, considering it is just a trio.

I think Machine Gun is the best take on the album and the greatest piece of rock ever recorded. The way Hendrix sets the mood and tells the story is really second to none. Machine Gun is a trip in itself, just raw expression from Hendrix. But don't worry, the music on this album isn't all abstract. Who Knows will satisfy anyone with a thirst for rhytm and Power of Love is just a great, intense rock song(listen to Miles' shout at the break after the intro. Woo!). We Live Together also features one of the best riffs ever.

When I listen to Band of Gypsys, I often sit and wonder what would've come if Hendrix hadn't died and I shudder, because, frankly, I think this album is out of this world. In my book it ranks as some of the most incredible, beautiful and touching music ever recorded. Put it on and you will realize that Hendrix lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2012
I have never understood the criticism of this great event and it just goes to show that once you've done something with great success, you are not allowed to change that.

I believe that the original Band of Gypsys release, which this unit represents, was a fantastic musical statement - and the very fact that Buddy Miles was such a different drummer to Hendrix' original drummer Mitch Mitchell (a much more tight, hard-grooving, funky type of playing than Mitchell's more freer jazzy style) - brought out a total different side of Hendrix playing, which really suited him.

Take the opening song for instance - "Who Knows" - it's basically just a jam over a great little inventive riff and the way it swings - the way Hendrix makes his guitar speak and also Buddy Miles' vocal solo - wow!

- "Power of Soul" - that intro - Jimi takes off with the most awesome dedicated powerful solo.
- "Message of Love" - also great playing and singing by Jimi and even the more traditional Miles composition "Them Changes" become a Hendrix song because of his inventive playing, yes it is nice to hear him stretch out like this mixing soulful solo playing with great accompaniment to Miles' singing.
- And then of course the prime song of attention "Machine Gun" where Hendrix just says it all - just simply fantastic!

I'm not saying that this was Hendrix' new band or that it was better or anything like that, just that this project showed a different, and dare I say, almost more mature side of his genius.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2009
What did Jimi Hendrix do best?I know,quite a leading question but in respect of this album an important one I think.In my opinion it isn't so much the plug my soul into the cosmos style of guitar playing or even the very direct almost preternatural song writing.More than any other artist I get very possesive of Jimi and when people ask me why do I rate him so highly I always end up calling him the Mozart of popular music.For me his single greatest ability was to absorb and reinterpret not just all the music he had around him but also a specific sense of time and his place in it.

Star spangled banner at dawn anyone?

This particular album loses that feeling for me.It sets a template of sorts for early seventies funk.Think Eddie Hazel and a below par Bootsy Collins here.Basically too much of one thing and not enough of the other.I could be wrong here but to my ears Hendrix live at least found his imagination fired by the space affored to him by Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding.On this album there's a controlled four to the floor vibe going on.As a result Jimi plays in a far more regimented style than on earlier takes.

No more axis and maybe no more dawn.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2002
Joe Satriani once described jimi's playing on this album,as the best live guitar work ever.Machine gun the centerpiece of this album sends shivers down your spine,pure genius.Together with miles (Buddy) power drumming.And (Cox) Billy steady bass lines.Hendrix seems free to just play from within. Anyone who likes MUSIC MUST OWN THIS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the Sony Legacy/Hendrix family re-release of the only widely available recording of Hendrix's `Band of Gypsys', recorded over four concerts on 31st December 1969 and 1st January 1970 at the Fillmore East. Fans of Jimi's music will know that this experimental trio replaced `Experience' members Noel Redding on bass with Jimi's ex-Army buddy Billy Cox, who had by this time been playing and rehearsing with Jimi for several months; and Mitch Mitchell on drums with Buddy Miles.

The content of this CD is indistinguishable from previous CD releases, but for legal reasons this is now the only version you can buy new. It has a cardboard sleeve in place of the traditional plastic CD box, and the tell-tale amber-and-purple square sticker on the front: otherwise everything is the same.

The Fillmore concerts used some of the `Experience' numbers as time-fillers, but none of Jimi's previous recorded material appears on this album; only the new stuff. This collection has a more soulful - some say `funky' but it's not really anything like 1970s `funk' - feel to it, and both Jimi and drummer Miles share the vocal work. In contrast to the psychedelia and playfully imaginative song themes of the `Experience' years, the song lyrics on BoG lean towards the political and socially-aware. This is especially true on the star track of the album, `Machine Gun' on which Jimi actually makes the sounds of full-on 20th century warfare with his fender, as he pleads for humanity to the machine-gunner; for context to younger readers, this was during the Vietnam war which was a VERY big deal politically at the time, filling the TV news around the world night after night and inciting violent mass protests all over America.

Buddy Miles shares the compositional credits. `Changes' became one of his best-known numbers, though without the full-on brass section used in many later renditions you have Jimi's guitar with wah-wah delivering the main theme.

BoG was a short-lived combo, the only time Jimi played with an `all black' band (the USA in particular in the 1970s was much more politicised along black-and-white racial lines than our multi-ethnic, mixed societies allow for in the 21st century). Billy Cox however continued to record with Jimi throughout 1970, and contributed to some of his career-best material originally released on the `Cry of Love' album and now available on the excellent `First Rays of the New Rising Sun' CDs. Jimi parted company with Buddy Miles in February 1970, and Mitch with his more jazz-drummer style returned to offer rhythmic support for the remainder of his tragically short career.

Overall BoG is essential to any Hendrix collection. We should never lose sight of the fact that like the three `Experience' albums, this album was released on 12-inch vinyl pretty much as you can buy it now, in Jimi's lifetime and with his approval.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2011
2010 was a great year for Jimi Hendrix re-mastered releases from the excellent `Music on Vinyl' label. This particular recording from a series of concerts at Fillmore East, NYC at the end of 1969, start of 1970 was done to resolve an earlier legal contract issue. Jimi teamed up with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.

The packaging of the album is excellent. My copy came in a plastic sealed cover, which with care can be re-used to protect the album. The cardboard double gatefold cover is reinforced to hold the heavy weight vinyl. A large four-sheet (8 page) 12inch colour booklet is provided with photographs and extensive notes on the background to the concerts.

The record weight is 184g packed in an antistatic, plastic coated heavy weight paper inner sleeve. Perfectly flat with minimal background noise direct from the sleeve, a great example of how vinyl should be pressed and presented.

The sound quality is excellent, instruments and vocals are crystal clear with a high volume level. The audience background noise is low but the atmosphere in the recording is still electric like a live performance. The high frequency end on the guitar appears to all be in tract indicating that there is at least no obvious evidence of sound compression like so many other re-mastered releases. The label on the front cover advertises it was recorded from the original 2-track master tapes and the evidence from the excellent sound quality supports this. It sounds like it was recorded very recently rather than 40 plus years ago.

Another positive point of the album is that the track selection is not the normal greatest hits format and takes Jimi in a different direction. It is more soulful and bluesy than previous material. The stand out track for me is `Machine Gun', a brilliant interaction of all 3 instruments (simulated machine gun sounds) and the structure/intensity of the song. The overall playing on the whole album appears tight and together, illustrating the high skill quality of the musicians and the amount they spent practising prior to the concerts, truly amazing.

In conclusion, a classic live album on vinyl with audiophile quality sound. The format made for the true Hendrix experience. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2006
In this version of the Band of Gypsies Hendrix returned to the guitar, base drums trio format but with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox in place of the Experience players. Gone also was much of the extravagent feedback and wild sounds, and in its place is cleaner guitar sound with vituoso playing, and effects used in a more restrained manner. The first side has two long tracks, and the latter is a version of Machine gun that other guitarists have called the greatest playing ever heard. The second side is four more upbeat tracks. It is unlike his other studio and live albums in sound and with a funkier sound. Well worth getting. I've loads of Hnedrix albums and after Electric Ladyland this is my favorite
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2010
This original Live Hendrix album gets five stars becuase of Machine Gun, one of the greatest live rock guitar performances ever and Power Of Love, one of Jimis best funk-rock songs you will never tire off.
The rest is a bit miss-mash with Buddy Miles getting a song of his own along with a lot of whoooing and whoaing from Buddy on other tracks. (When Jimi was editing this album he cringed at Buddys background hollering).
Message Of Love has a brillant guitar solo, but We Gotta Live Together shoudnt have been on this album at all.
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