I went to party in the biggest house I’d ever seen when I was sixteen and had a fantastic night doing things sixteen year old kids aren’t supposed to do. In the small hours while most of the house was sleeping I was creeping through the huge living room to go to the kitchen when I passed a day room with the TV still on. There were still some party people awake and they were watching an imported VHS cassette of A Film About Jimi Hendrix. It was what I have now come to recognise as Joe Boyd’s definitive Hendrix documentary.
Not to get too techy but due to some formatting issues between UK and European Video technology the film only played in black and white and the image was skittish, but the sound was crystal clear.
I joined the other long haired layabouts in the room and marveled at the footage of Jimi sat on a high chair in his big hat with feathers in, sitting contrast against a white background playing on an acoustic guitar. The song I already knew but not in this format.
Hear My Train A Coming is one of my favourite Hendrix tunes because of this night. The one guy who’s party it was may have been showing off a little. And yet he held the room in the palm of his hand with this imported VHS and the clear crisp sound of Jimi just laying it down. I made fast friends that night with the group of slightly worse for wear music fans slumped on our around that sofa room listening to a recording made when our parents were teenagers that blew our tired socks off.