Previously Unreleased Jimi Hendrix Recording, “Somewhere,” with Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills

Because it’s Fri­day, we have a treat for you: a recent­ly unearthed take of Jimi Hen­drix rip­ping through a song called “Some­where,” with Band of Gyp­sies drum­mer Bud­dy Miles and Stephen Stills (of CSNY) on bass. Released last Novem­ber to mark the 70th anniver­sary of Hendrix’s birth, this track will be includ­ed on a 12-song album of pre­vi­ous­ly unre­leased Hen­drix record­ings from 1968–69 called Peo­ple, Hell & Angels, com­ing in ear­ly March.

“Some­where” has appeared before, on the 2000 box-set mon­ey­mak­er The Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence and a hit-and-miss 2003 dou­ble-disc of cuts called Axis Out­takes (culled from the Axis: Bold as Love Ses­sions). The pre­vi­ous release, how­ev­er, was a dif­fer­ent take, a blues-rock demo made pri­or to Elec­tric Lady­land. Record­ed ear­ly in 1968, with Mitch Mitchell adding drums in ’71, two years after Hendrix’s death, the oth­er ver­sion is noth­ing to write home about, frankly, with a def­i­nite demo feel—exploratory, but some­what unin­spir­ing pro­duc­tion, although the ideas are there (lis­ten to it here).

The ver­sion above is anoth­er ani­mal: it bursts out of the gate in full break­down, then the drums recede, Hen­drix rides the descend­ing rhythm line in a long, expec­tant pause, and when the rhythm kicks back in, he wails and wahs his way into a tight verse, punc­tu­at­ed with bursts of his blues fills and Miles’s con­fi­dent snare cracks. Stephen Stills’ bass play­ing holds up to any­thing Noel Red­ding or Bil­ly Cox con­tributed to Hendrix’s ensem­bles. Between each verse, Hen­drix explodes into the wild solo runs he’s known for. It’s a real gem, and the lyri­cal con­tent per­fect­ly cap­tures the street-lev­el, and South­east Asia-ground-lev­el, hos­til­i­ty, fear, and frus­tra­tion of the late six­ties:

Oh uh,
I see fin­gers, hands and shades of faces,
Reachin up and not quite touch­in the promised land,
I hear pleas and prayers and a des­per­ate whis­per sayin,
 Whoa Lord, please give us a helpin hand,
Yeah yeah

Way down in the back­ground,
I can see frus­trat­ed souls of cities burnin,
And all across the water vapor,
I see weapons barkin out the stamp of death,
And up in the clouds I can imag­ine UFO’s jumpin them­selves,
Laugh­in they sayin,
Those peo­ple so uptight, they sure know how to make a mess

Back in the saloon my tears mix and mildew with my drink,
I can’t real­ly tell my feet from the stones on the floor,
But as far as I know, they may even try to wrap me up in cel­lo­phane and sell me
Broth­ers help me, and dont wor­ry about lookin at the storm
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Hen­drix was right. They did wrap him up and sell him.

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian. He recent­ly com­plet­ed a dis­ser­ta­tion on land, lit­er­a­ture, and labor.

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Comments (12)
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  • This made my day. Thank you!

  • patrick murphy says:

    Excel­lent. Best Jimi I’ve heard in a long time… I was already think­ing of repeat­ing it and repeat­ing it before I hit the end of the first verse…

  • Alexov says:

    A lot of peo­ple still bang on about Jimi being the great­est, etc etc, and I’ll be the first to admit that his “sound” was new and orig­i­nal. But just yes­ter­day, I learned of a gui­tarist, born in a lit­tle town in Italy, just like some oth­er more famous Ital­ians of cen­turies gone by, who uses the name Dr Viossy. My guess is that he does, in fact, have a doc­tor­ate in music. If you look up Viossy moon­light sonata on youtube, you’ll get to a clip that is 6.16 min­utes long and it’s him play­ing a note-for-note tran­scrip­tion of the last move­ment of that famous piece of music by Beethoven. He plays rock music usu­al­ly but the fact that he can actu­al­ly play that “clas­si­cal” music, and fast and fault­less­ly, on a gui­tar, well, you be the judge. I was astound­ed, utter­ly. No one who has seen it will rave about Hen­drix in future!

    • HardwareLust says:

      Tech­ni­cal abil­i­ty does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly make one a “musi­cian”. Yng­wie Malm­steen, for one exam­ple, is as tech­ni­cal­ly pro­fi­cient (or bet­ter) as this “Dr Viossy” per­son is, yet I would­n’t spend more than a few min­utes will­ing­ly lis­ten­ing to either one of them, except per­haps to use them as a exam­ple of how tech­ni­cal abil­i­ty on the gui­tar does not equate to musi­cian­ship. I’d take Hen­drix on an out-of-tune ukulele over either one of these guys, any­day.

  • Jeff Shad says:

    Jimi will always be raved about. Not for being the best. For being the only. For being Jimi.

  • Droy says:

    Sounds like a slowed down ver­sion with dif­fer­ent lyrics of Earth Blues.

  • Rudolph Gartner says:

    His fin­gers were fly­ing, and I was hear­ing some scales, or por­tions of scales, and modes, or com­bi­na­tions there­of, that I’m not sure I ever heard before. The man’s musi­cal ener­gy was tak­ing off in this take, even if the orga­ni­za­tion and some of the tun­ing or accom­pa­ny­ing chords weren’t total­ly tight. Jimi was a phe­nom­e­non, a genius, and he was just get­ting start­ed. What a shame to lose him when we did.

  • Anne says:

    Jimi was the sin­gle most artis­ti­cal­ly inspi­ra­tional per­son that the Unit­ed States has ever pro­duced, in my opin­ion. He was unabashed­ly and beau­ti­ful­ly exact­ly who he was meant to be. No black, no white, just a peace-lov­ing, free­dom-lov­ing, love lov­ing, music-lov­ing man… He epit­o­mized the Amer­i­can renais­sance, in my mind. He taught so many how to wave their freak flags… This new music is so wel­come… and incred­i­ble. I’m not con­vinced that all of the lyrics above are accu­rate, though…someone might want to edit those. Thanks for post­ing this!! Made my day!!!

  • Leonardo Herrera says:

    Jimi was a vir­tu­oso. But he was, also, some­thing else — he had a qual­i­ty, a vibe, some­thing from a dif­fer­ent world. He’s not my favorite gui­tar play­er (that would be Clap­ton) but even I know he’s some­thing else. I would say he was the most cre­ative gui­tar play­er ever.

    (Oth­er guy that I love because of this same trait is Jack White.)

  • Leonardo Herrera says:

    By the way, went to check out that Vios­si guy — he’s just an insane­ly skilled ses­sion musi­cian. Why kids mis­take vir­tu­os­i­ty by artistry these days?

  • Taylor says:

    Jimi is the best for his cre­ativ­i­ty. Any­body can prac­tice some­thing and get it down- and I’m speak­ing as a gui­tar play­er myself. Not every­one can write orig­i­nals that are any good, and nobody under­stands the gui­tar as did Hen­drix

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