“My Dinner with Jimi”

I stumbled across this Rhino Films effort in the public library a few years ago and was fortunate enough to find it again on some free streaming channel recently. If you are a fan of Sixties Rock, it is a must see! The story was written by Howard Kaylan of Turtles fame and takes viewers on a point of view ride through a swingin’ scene. It’s a fun film. It starts on the Sunset Strip where The Doors are opening for The Turtles. Before they leave America, though, Kaylan deals with his draft card and rubs elbows with other musicians like Frank Zappa, Mama Cass, and more.

The film centers around The Turtles’ trip to London, England. (I’ve never really explored that band, but they had some hits like “Happy Together.” I mean you have to give them some credit — especially when you think about who else was in the charts. ) When they finally get to London Town they start by hanging out with Graham Nash and Donovan, then bump into none other than The Beatles in a local hot spot. This was the day before the release of the epic Sgt. Pepper album.

As the evening progresses, the band mingles with a couple of The Moody Blues and Kaylan meets Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. Jones introduces him to Jimi Hendrix and, as the title implies, they have dinner and wrap about playing music, enlightenment, and beautiful women. What’s interesting to me about this film is it sucks you in and puts you right in the middle of all that groovy-ness. Not only that, but the conversations just feel real to me. A couple of familiar actors appear in this film including George Wendt and John Corbett. An actor named Royale Watkins plays Jimi Hendrix and I think he does a good of capturing Hendrix’s speech patterns. I’ve seen a lot of films about different bands and documentaries about Sixties rock, but this is the only film I can recall about that is anecdotal. Basically, it’s not the same ole news footage and clips of Monterey Pop.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

Most Beautiful Song Ever

It might surprise some people to learn the guy who wrote and rocked out to “Purple Haze” also wrote, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful combinations of lyrics and music ever recorded. “Little Wing” is a fantastic, ethereal song which soars both musically and lyrically. There are some great covers of the song out there, but the original Jimi Hendrix-penned version is my favorite. One of the distinctive sounds on the original track is the use of the glockenspiel — pretty atypical for a power trio like The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Unfortunately, copyright issues seem to make the original version unavailable on YouTube. Booo! I’ll share a recent cover recorded by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.

One of the most unique covers of the ballad was released by Irish band The Corrs on their Unplugged album.

I never thought I’d have a conversation about Jimi Hendrix with my father, but someone turned him on to this Celtic version and we did discuss it. Another popular version of the ballad was released by Hendrix aficionado Stevie Ray Vaughan. You could think of this version as one “guitar god” paying tribute to another.

I’m sure the SRV version is a favorite for many, but I miss hearing the lyrics and, of course, the glockenspiel.

There are easily over 100 versions of “Little Wing” out there. From what I’ve read, the original Hendrix version was inspired by the “vibe” of the Monterey Pop Festival. The song is an interesting combo of fairy tale and Native American imagery along with astonishingly good guitar.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

What do Oasis, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Lee Lewis have in common?

Rod Stewart is one of those artists people tend to love or hate. It just seems like there isn’t much middle ground. Maybe it’s the hair? I don’t know. I went to Catholic school and had a teacher absolutely go nuts about the apparent evil intentions of the song “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (I can only describe it as similar to a Berserker Rage.) I mean give the guy some credit, he played with guitarists Ron Wood AND Jeff Beck!

However, I would have to put myself in that middle category. I enjoy his classic rock catalog like a lot of people. Speaking of catalogs, he’s recorded damn near everything, which brings me to Rod’s covers of other artists’ material. First and foremost, Rod Stewart and Ron Wood have some great country-flavored songs they’ve done together, but I LOVE the fact that he recorded “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me). ” It’s a song associated with Jerry Lee Lewis and, according to Wikipedia, it was written by Glenn Sutton.

Ironically, Stewart released this single with another cover — “Angel” by Jimi Hendrix on the flip side. The Seventies were an interesting time!

Fast forward to the Britpop Nineties and Rod recorded an Oasis tune called “Cigarettes and Alcohol.” I wasn’t really into Britpop or Oasis, but this song caught my ear the first time I heard it.

I think this song rocks and don’t think I would have heard the original without Rod’s take on it. (After living through the Seventies and Eighties, Rod probably knew a few things about cigarettes and alcohol.)

Going back to Rod Stewart’s enormous catalog of recordings. The Mercury Anthology is a great reference for his cover songs. While I don’t love the entire record, his take on Sam Cooke’s “Twistin’ the Night Away” is one of my favorites.

Rod Stewart will never be remembered as a songwriter, but more as a singer and interpreter of other people’s work. The list of his cover song recordings goes on and on, but I feel obligated to mention two more things. First, he recorded a Paul McCartney composition called “Mine for Me”, which was supposedly written specifically for Rod. The McCartney demo is hard to find if memory serves me correctly. Second, he also recorded an old song called “Dirty Old Town”. It was written by Ewan MacColl and popularized by The Dubliners. It’s got a folk feel to it. Both songs are worth seeking out. I may have to re-visit Rod’s covers again some day.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!