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View Full Version : Midnight Lightning - three incarnations of the song



Makkinen
11-02-09, 04:37 PM
Someone mentioned this track in another thread so
felt compelled to write a few words about this song
that has been developing for 2 years and was
recorded as an "Electric Delta Blues" on solo guitar,
as a 'Pop Blues' in full band arrangement and finally
as a live extravaganza, in one of those rare moments
when Jimi was in total focus like on Villanova Junction
(Woodstock), Little Wing (RAH), Machine Gun (Fillmore)
or Slow Blues (last track on Purple Box-set) etc...

All versions of this song are special but the one recorded
at the Isle of Wight is IMO the most remarkable.

Unfortunately Jimi starts with the guitar a little out of tune
but he soon manages to compensate with his fenomenal bends
(and tuning while he plays?).
Instrumental beginning is intimate, as is his singing but he
builds the long and constant crescendo, improvising the music
and lyrics. First part of the song culminates with "LOOOOVE"
scream after which it calms down again.
At 3.04 starts a wonderful solo in chords, At 3.40 we hear first
hint of the 'double time' (just around 4 bars).
At 4.30 the song comes to a fake end which is in fact just a
beginning of one beautiful instrumental part.
At 4.48-5.00 you can hear the guitar moan while Mitch is
accompanying it with some "walk-to-the-gallows" drum rolls.
Double time starts at 5.13, and the feel of desperation and
anger comes back, his guitar screams until he finally looses his
strength and returns to the main riff/theme at 5.54 and gives
up with few melancoly guitar lines. Song quietens down and
ends with Jimi's famous guitar 'thank you'











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backfromthestorm
11-02-09, 04:49 PM
Agreed.. this isnt in responce to someone saying its outa tune though is it? Lots of his live performances had a tunin issue now and then.. His tuners were as freespirited as the man himself.. Thats something which adds to the character of his sound. Hey Baby at Atlanta`s a step and a half too far though methinks. Agreed its a great version and we`re lucky he played it. I also feel the lyrics say a lot about how he felt..

`Got run over by public opinion in the past, and her dog Rover!` etc

univibs
11-02-09, 05:13 PM
Someone mentioned this track in another thread so
felt compelled to write a few words about this song
that has been developing for 2 years and was
recorded as an "Electric Delta Blues" on solo guitar,
as a 'Pop Blues' in full band arrangement and finally
as a live extravaganza, in one of those rare moments
when Jimi was in total focus like on Villanova Junction
(Woodstock), Little Wing (RAH), Machine Gun (Fillmore)
or Slow Blues (last track on Purple Box-set) etc...

All versions of this song are special but the one recorded
at the Isle of Wight is IMO the most remarkable.

Unfortunately Jimi starts with the guitar a little out of tune
but he soon manages to compensate with his fenomenal bends
(and tuning while he plays?).
Instrumental beginning is intimate, as is his singing but he
builds the long and constant crescendo, improvising the music
and lyrics. First part of the song culminates with "LOOOOVE"
scream after which it calms down again.
At 3.04 starts a wonderful solo in chords, At 3.40 we hear first
hint of the 'double time' (just around 4 bars).
At 4.30 the song comes to a fake end which is in fact just a
beginning of one beautiful instrumental part.
At 4.48-5.00 you can hear the guitar moan while Mitch is
accompanying it with some "walk-to-the-gallows" drum rolls.
Double time starts at 5.13, and the feel of desperation and
anger comes back, his guitar screams until he finally looses his
strength and returns to the main riff/theme at 5.54 and gives
up with few melancoly guitar lines. Song quietens down and
ends with Jimi's famous guitar 'thank you'











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very intimate song, loved that song from the first time I listened to it (back in the early 90's)




`Got run over by public opinion, and her dog Rover!` etc
'..... public opinion in the past '

Makkinen
11-02-09, 11:16 PM
I heard this song first on the Polydor's 'Europe-only' Isle of Wight LP from the early '70s. At the time, there were only two and 3/4 of the official live Hendrix LPs around (IMAGINE THAT!): Hendrix In The West, Isle of Wight, Otis Redding/The Jimi Hendrix Experience live at Monterey LP (with Jimi on one side only) and Woodstock 3LPs (with Jimi having only the 12 minutes on the last LP).
At the time I was playing bass guitar in the band who's repertoire was mainly Jimi's covers. Isle of Wight was our favorite album. We played Foxy Lady, Lover Man,
Freedon and All Along The Watchtower, all in arrangements ispired by that album's performances. IOW sound was 'The Ultimate Sound' for us.
Still today I think IOW is largely underrated as a concert. Maybe, as a whole, it wasn't a big success but several songs perforemed that evening are among the best live versions we have.
Let me mention few of them.

Machine Gun
For decades only available on the Soundtrack Recording from the Film JH.
Those first 7 minutes that were available on that album were all we had for decades
(except for those who had IOW Vol.1 & Vol.2 UK LP boots). Nevertheless, it's amazing 7 minutes and IMO stands among best Jimi's live performances ever.

Freedom - certainly better sounding and more inspiring than the unfinished and badly produced version from the Cry of Love.

In from the Storm - simply GREAT from start to finish!

Foxy Lady - loose, with the long break (apparently Eric Barett also plays few notes on this rendition) but still mind blowing.

Midnight Lightning - nothing to add to my previous entry.

Lover Man - very good version, not as god as Berkeley but not too far from it..

All Along the Watchtower - except for some wah-wah squeeks, and tension in Jimi's vocal this is fantastic playing from start to finish.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - just the manner he manages to tune his guitar while playing is remarkable. However, when he finally 'makes his way' to tuned guitar we hear a wild interpretation.
Check the edited version (available on this tracker on the 'If 6 Was 9' torrent)
but I'm posting it here again anyway: