Okay, I Have to Admit — I Love/Hate Rock ‘n Roll


really like this recording. Understand, I’ve played the song in question — the long version of Voodoo Chile — hundreds of times, and heard tens of thousands of fans call my name, as I did just what Hendrix did in the song. However, this recording is a really good one.

I liked the song for its simple, but compelling melody, considering that the words were just … ummmm … dumb.

• On the night I was born I swear the moon turned a fire red.
• On the night I was born I swear the moon turned a fire red.

Okay. I’m not sure that anyone ever tried to pretend that the lyrics of the ’60’s  were anything to take seriously.

I’m sorry… perhaps I was too polite there: I should try to restate that: I’m pretty sure that no one on earth, or in the solar system , or in the local cluster of galaxies ever tried to pretend that the flapdoodle that oozed forth from the 1960’s was, generally, anything but worthless, nonsensical balderdash.

To be sure: the night you or I was born had no effect whatsoever on the appearance of the moon here on earth. I hate this kind of ridiculous self-obsessed, pomposity that allows such pretentious codswallop to become part of American lore.

However, I just couldn’t help myself…I like this sound. And from 4:50 to 5:35 is just some really nice quitar-playin’! That entire passage is entirely dependent on feel, and Clapton shows that he is able to feel it, despite my long-time less-than-positive feeling toward him.

The passage from 7:45 to 8:40 is just really nice. And from 9:00 to 9:20 is some nice Clapton guitar playing. It’s nice, therefore it’s kind of surprising. Sorry: he’s not all that good a guitarist. For example: in the stretch from 10:00 to 10:35 you can hear it; a guitarist with any ear at all would recognize that there is only one  note to hit. Clapton doesn’t hit it. At 10:39, he does hit it, but by then, it’s too late. He hits the right note again at 10:53, but I was still disappointed. I am prepared to recognize that it’s nothing more than a live performance combined with less than optimal production values.

This is the same Eric Clapton, whom I’ve met, played with, and never really liked  all that much. In this recording, they’re playing the long version of “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix. Clapton’s playing with Stevie Winwood, whom I’ve never met, never played with, and don’t know as a person.

Grudgingly, I have to admit that Clapton does just a darned good job with this one.

In reality, you don’t have to do much more than solo around “E”  to make it good. From 10:00 to 10:20 Winwood makes this apparent. However, this particular ensemble makes it really good. It’s all feel — anyone can solo around a single key — and these are some veteran instrumentalists who, one would hope, have developed some feel for their instruments by now.

For example, the build-up from 7:45 or so to 8:30 is just delightful … and actually worthy of such a dynamic progression as in a Beethoven composition.

It then dies immediately at 8:35, which requires that something compelling succeed it. Clapton does so with several moments of very good, tasteful guitar playing. Then some vocals. For a Rock ‘N Roll sound — a jam tune — this is really good.

All in all, despite all my quibbles, it’s a very fun tune, that I’ve played many, many dozens of times before. Winwood, Clapton, et al do a very fine job on the same song, if I do say so myself.

— xPraetorius

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