View Full Version : Crosstown Traffic Live

09-16-09, 11:02 PM
I've always wondered if Jimi ever did Crosstown Traffic live, and if so, is it available somewhere. Also, are there tapes available in circulation of the studio sessions for Crosstown Traffic? Seems like it could have been a staple concert tune...why didn't he play it live? I also wonder if there are any different versions or extended versions of the tune.


purple jim
09-17-09, 06:54 AM
No live performance of the song ever mentioned, as far as I know. No outtakes or work-in-progress versions either.
There was a another version on Reclamation's "In The Studio - Volume 10" but it was just a very slightly altered mix and of no interest.

09-17-09, 08:25 AM
My guess is that some songs he either had no interest in playing.. or thought the listeners had no interest in hearing.. or maybe he simply didnt like them.. Whatever the reason, it would be nice to know there`s a `Remember` or a `Castles made of sand` or `Crosstown traffic` out there just waiting to reach my ears...

09-17-09, 10:16 AM
Alot of songs were just too layered to be played live
with a 3 piece band. That's one of the reasons the
whole Gypsy, Sun & Rainbows band came about, Jimi
had all the sounds in his head and was limited by the
Bass, Drum, Guitar combo. The really showed on the
concerts he played in 1970 with the "Cry Of Love' band
he was trying to perform songs with 2 or 3 guitar parts
and layers of harmony vocals and they didn't quite come
across as good as the studio versions. I'm not to say they
were not good just different.

Peace & Love,
Ras Freeman

09-17-09, 11:02 AM
I know that it was heavily layered but, man, what a cool song. It could have been done live and sounded great even with a three piece. Soulive has done it. Of course, their version comes nowhere near what Jimi would do with it.

It's really weird to me that I haven't found a whole lot of information about the song, other than the little fun facts dribbled out like Dave Mason singing at the session, comb playing, layers and layers of sound, etc. Black Gold has only 2 sentences about it! Rereading it, I did learn today that the sessions for the song stretched over two days. Hopefully, someone has a shoebox full of tapes from the sessions that created it. I'd love to hear one of the first versions Jimi did.

Come on, Janie....come on thieves that robbed his apartment....come on lovers and friends that received musical letters from Jimi....come on studios that are hording the stuff that only Jimi freaks would really appreciate. Let's not make this a Mozart thing, where songs are uncovered centuries later. I just cannot live that long!

09-17-09, 11:06 AM
Ras Freeman: you are correct. There was too much production on those songs to do them justice in a live performance. It is exactly the same reason The Beatles stopped performing live. The technology was not available at the time to recreate their songs on stage.

09-17-09, 11:36 AM
Certainly, that's true that it would be impossible for Jimi to reproduce the studio version live, particularly with only a 3 piece. I guess I'm thinking he would have done the song as a different, live version. But I guess the name of the game when touring back then was to perform the songs as close as possible to what was on the record. No special acoustic versions which is strange as no-no because, on the other hand, some artists would include 15 minute drum solos that never appeared on the records. Really sucks as I would have liked to hear Jimi jam on Crosstown for an hour. Too many pedestrian fans back then wanting to hear exactly what they could hear every day and every night over and over and over on their phonographs at home.

Speaking of pedestrian "fans", let's face it, some of the dopes in the audience would be talking when Jimi was doing extended jams in concert. And I'm not considering dialogue like "wow, this cat is cool"; no, I'm talking about the morons that are chatting about what they ate that day or the latest gossip about their friends. Why is it that the genius so often gets treated like crap by the masses? For example, on some of the live performances by Thelonious Monk I can hear bastards in the audience jabbering and clinking their glasses of alcohol like he's a background lounge player. I remember a famous Elvis Costello bootleg (not that he's a genius, just a great performer/composer IMHO) that sounded fantastic except for the jackass yipping like a drunkin' cowboy in the front row. Some of the coolest recordings are marred by these idiots. Reminds me of a Steely Dan show I once attended where the teenyboppers were next to me were singing along to the songs LOUDLY and POORLY. Jeez...do that crap in the shower.

09-17-09, 12:41 PM
I think jimi could of played ANY song he had written, live, with a three piece. Of course it would be different as in `All along the watch tower` for example, its Dave mason acoustic rhythm guitar studio version was reworked for one guitar and sounds great live.. thats just one example. He didnt mind playing AYE? occasionally after all, with its all its studio freakiness.. he just changed it to make it playable in a live context.

Crosstown Traffic is not that complex a track to play or adjust for one guitar...

Especially for Jimi Hendrix, a man who could play both rhythm and lead at the same time!

09-17-09, 04:45 PM
Billy said he wanted to play it but never got around to rehearsing it with Jimi and Mitch. from EH's Encyclopedia.

The Earth Blues
09-17-09, 10:09 PM
Crosstown Traffic is not that complex a track to play or adjust for one guitar...

Especially for Jimi Hendrix, a man who could play both rhythm and lead at the same time!
This. I think Jimi simply just didn't want to play it or thought people didn't want to hear it.

Not to mention the complexity of songs like Ezy Ryder and he still played that live....Are You Experienced, etc.

purple jim
09-18-09, 12:55 AM
Yes, "Room Full Of Mirrors" also. It came over well as a sort of free form jam at the Albert Hall but later, with Billy and Mitch, the faster update of the song could only be sketched out on stage.