A Shoddy Jimi Hendrix Record?

Hendrix's latest LP from Capital is an embarrassment

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Donovan, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding on the cover of Rolling Stone.
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The new Capitol LP, Got that Feeling: Jimi Hendrix Plays, Curtis Knight Sings, is not what it appears: Hendrix's latest release. The cover, with no liner notes and no dates, has a picture of Hendrix taken at the Monterey Pop Festival, but all the tracks were recorded before then and before Hendrix's fame and full artistic development. Some of them may be three years old.

The record is barely representative of what Hendrix is now doing and is an embarrassment to him as a musician. Moreover, while it does show the early elements of the style he has now developed, it is so badly recorded to be of little historical value.

Jimi Hendrix on the Cover of Rolling Stone

The record is in fact eight tracks selected out of 30 bought as a package by Capitol from New York producer Ed Chalpin. Chalpin runs PPX Industries, a company that does note for note copies of American hits for South American distribution.

Hendrix, who played with a group called Curtis Knight and the Squires about three years ago, may have recorded them under a PPX producer's contract or when contracted to the Sue or RSVP recording companies. The Sue and RSVP contracts were bought out by Hendrix's present management.

Nick Venet, an A & R man at Capitol who prepared the album, says he has little idea when the material was recorded: "I didn't trust what Chalpin told me, so I didn't put any liner notes on the cover." Most he thinks are "several years" old. By internal evidence (the use of a wah-wah pedal, a device introduced about a year ago), he figured that two tracks ("Hush Now" and "Get That Feeling") were recorded when Hendrix was in New York in May.

Venet makes no claim to the album's quality. Chalpin, he says, hoped four LP's could be made from his 30 tracks, but Venet could find only eight which he thought were salvageable. "We also made to remix and re-record Chalpin's tapes," he said, "We lost some fidelity along the way."

Warner Brothers/Reprise, which is bringing out a real new Hendrix LP in January and to which Jimi is now contracted, is threatening court action to stop sales. The LP, company executives argues, will hurt the sales of their own record and Hendrix's growing reputation.

Shooting Jimi: Photos by Baron Wolman

Capitol, however, says that Hendrix's contract with PPX is still good and that they are on solid legal ground. Neither are they moved by complaints that the record is an unethical and shoddy commercial trick.

"We need not discuss our business with anyone," said one top Capitol executive.

"The record's selling well and nobody is bitching but a few San Francisco types," said Venet, "We're not saying it is all new material and I think it is valuable to have an artist's early work. If people don't like it, they won't buy it."

This story is from the January 20th, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone.


From The Archives Issue 4: January 20, 1968