This quote taken from this performance adequately sums of the gest of this concert segment of the original Woodstock (filled with sin as it was). Some of my favorite guitar music comes from this. The quote above (You can leave anytime you want, we're just jamming that's all) comes from Voodoo Child, one of the songs found here (its about 10 minutes 36 seconds into the performance of Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Stepping Stone). But before I continue I should tell you my edition is a single disc 12 track version.*
If you're looking for all your favorite songs, don't bother. But if you're looking for a phenomenal concert document of one of the greatest guitarists ever (if not THE), then this is the record for you.
This record contains a LOT of jamming. This is coming at the end of Woodstock, people are tired, Hendrix's band is unrehearsed, and he's nervous. So he just comes out in a blaze of sound and blows everyone out of the water. There are so many guitar riffs and licks just dripping from this its amazing. Since this is Hendrix largely jamming, we get quite a lesson in guitar playing. Because its Hendrix its generally fascinating - had it been anyone else the jams would be overly long and rather boring. But Jimi's the master of coaxing unbelievable sounds from that electric guitar. From about 2:00 minutes to the finish of Woodstock Improvision ranks one of my favorite of guitar music, and when you here `Jam Back at the House (Beginnings)' you have to wonder what planet Hendrix CAME FROM.. Villanova Junction will make you stop in your tracks. And we mustn't forget one of his most famous tracks of all and the most interesting interpretation of any nation's anthem, `The Star Spangled Banner'.
Of course, I have a sympathy for live music. Anything live sounds better than then studio hands down for portraying the sheer power and majesty that music can contain (for me anyway). (As a rule, I like studio albums better than live ones - but when you actually see the band play the studio can't compare). But that's only done in concert, and since Hendrix is dead this is the closest we'll get to it.
Conclusion: If you're looking for pretty self-contained short songs don't bother. If you're looking for a great live document with lots of just pure jamming (but its Hendrix so its just amazing to here him play) click BUY NOW! Of course, Mitchell and the others do well going whatever direction Hendrix wants to take the band. Don't be too down on Eddie Kramer either.
4 stars because of Hendrix's mastery with the guitar and the vitality of the performance. Anyone who wants to learn this should be required listening. 1 star taken away (although in fairness it should be mentioned this is a concert album, and its one of the beauties of concerts of a band being able to stretch out and do things they normally wouldn't on an album, like have a lot of jaming or doing a lot of cover tunes) because the jamming may wear on some listeners (those who's jaws aren't on the floor from Hendrix's skill, that is).
*My disc finds itself guilty cutting out Message to Love, Spanish Castle Magic, Loverman, and Foxey Lady, and although the liner notes mention Hey Joe its not on this disc either. The cover art differs as well. The sequence is different from the real concert (one of my pet peeves is when people go in and tamper with live concert albums -- they should be represent as played, although, of course, there are exceptions) is as follows
4. Here My Train A Comin' (Get My Heart Back Together)