November 18, 2011 – 4:34 am

Is this still the land of freedom and democracy?

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Protest Songs From Berkeley [Rattlesnake, 1CD]

Soundcheck at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley CA, May 30, 1970. Generally excellent soundboard stereo. The (original) 3CD bootleg has both early and late shows as well.

By 1970, Jimi Hendrix had had enough of the old band. Attempts by manager Mike Jeffrey to reunite the star guitarist with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell for a tour of the USA failed, when Hendrix nixed the idea and invited Billy Cox instead. Then something happened. US guardsmen fired “67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis” at Kent State University on May 4.

What was a rock star to do?

Four days later, Hendrix and his Cry Of Love band took the stage at another university, in Norman, Oklahoma. By all accounts [from an audience recording], it was a furious show. New songs like Machine Gun, Message To Love, Lover Man and the lengthy blues of Hear My Train A Comin’ stole the show. His anti-war interpretation of The Star-Spangled Banner was now staple. At this show and also at the show in Fort Worth, Texas, Jimi wore a black armband with the large white letters “K.S.” in solidarity with the anti-war movement.

The student killings didn’t stop. On the night of May 14 and into the early hours of the next day, at Jackson State College in Mississippi, police opened fire on a group of student demonstrators killing two and wounding 12. One hundred and forty rounds were fired over a period of 28 seconds at a purported “sniper”.

According to Hendrix fan “stpsld”, the Berkeley concert on May 30 was special:

“These two Berkeley concerts were a kind of anniversary of the Peoples Park action in Berkeley a year previous. The unarmed crowd who had spontaneously tried to take back ‘their Park’ by taking down the barriers and re-entering the park, had been stopped violently by the Police (sent in by Ronald Reagan to seal off the park) who attacked the ‘protesters’ and others in the vicinity, shooting many with shotguns, armed with heavier shot than ‘normal’, wounding over a hundred, causing serious permanent injury to several, blinding one, and killing one young man who was watching from a roof. A few police were treated for very minor injuries, some caused from the unorganised, occasional, retaliatory bottles and stones thrown at them.”

When the Cry Of Love band arrived at Berkeley High School, they were followed by a film crew. This concert was recorded. Officially there were two shows on May 30. Only the second show has been released on CD as “Live At Berkeley” and only in 2003, 33 years late. The first show is now up at Wolfgang’s Vault as a for-sale digital download. Still no sign of a physical release.

The Cry Of Love Tour was unique in that Hendrix had tossed out much of his older repertoire and was developing live on stage new songs like Lover Man, Room Full Of Mirrors, Machine Gun, Freedom, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun), Straight Ahead and Ezy Ryder. He was also expanding on older songs like Red House and Voodoo Child (Slight Return). At the time, these tracks had not been released, and it was a challenge as much as it was a drag for Hendrix to keep his audience’s attention.

What’s left unreleased is the soundcheck which was released in 2002 on a bootleg, Protest Songs From Berkeley, with both the first and second Berkeley shows. At the soundcheck, Hendrix expressed himself almost entirely on his new material. Only a loose cover of Blue Suede Shoes breaks the pattern. As much as protestors wanted to stop the war, Hendrix wanted change - to make new music and not rely on his past.

This soundcheck suggested Hendrix would have much preferred to play an entire concert of new songs. Which means what we have here might well be looked upon as a “lost album”. Most of the songs are under three minutes, like a studio recording of the time. Hendrix only jammed on Blue Suede Shoes and Machine Gun.

When Hendrix died four months later, he left behind plenty of unreleased new music. It was left to his minders to figure how to release them, in what sequence, in what stage of completion and with what relevance. If you listen to the Berkeley concerts, clearly Hendrix was angry and in sympathy with the protestors. His songs Machine Gun, Freedom and Hear My Train A Comin’ all wanted to be part of the new radicalism. Yet his posthumous releases hardly reflected that. For example, a studio version of the anti-war song Machine Gun finally made it out of the vault on the 1975 posthumous release, Midnight Lightning. It’s original 12-min length shaved to just 7. The US officially pulled out of Vietnam on August 15, 1973.

To the company, Hendrix releases were meant to earn corporate dollars and nothing more.

Under his breath, we can hear the “fuck you”.
- Professor Red

As far as we can ascertain, the music here has not been officially released in its entirety.

+ + + + +

The Berkeley Concert Transcript

When someone at the CrosstownTraffic website mentioned that Jimi’s onstage dialogue at his Berkeley concert was not clear, a reader, “stpsld”, offered a transcript of the concert.

Click here for the Berkeley Concert Transcript. Thanks “stpsld”.

+ + + + +

These tracks are no longer available for sharing.

Message To Love 4:50 (6.6MB)
Blue Suede Shoes 7:02* (9.6MB)
Hey Baby/Land Of The New Rising Sun 3:57 (5.4MB)
Star Spangled Banner 0:34 (818k)
Earth Blues 4:13 (5.8MB)
Room Full Of Mirrors 1:56 (2.6MB)
Villanova Junction 2:24 (3.3MB)
Midnight Lightning 2:33 (3.5MB)
Freedom 4:59 (6.8MB)
Power Of Soul 1:10 (1.6MB)
Machine Gun 6:22 (8.7MB)
Stone Free 0:48 (1.1MB)

* Officially released on Hendrix In The West but in an edited version (4:28m). This longer bootleg version includes tuning and jamming.

Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Billy Cox - bass
Mitch Mitchell - drums

You can get the first show at Wolfgang’s Vault.

The second show was released in 2003 as Live At Berkeley. Buy it here.

You will need both.

  1. 21 Responses to “BACK IN THE USA”

  2. hey bigo, i rarely download hendrix, but, i have gotten a few shows from you, in the past. i got the denver, cologne, norman,and florida shows. this looks interesting, and no songs are omitted so i’ll get it.


    By Ed Saad on Nov 18, 2011

  3. Hi Ed. Try to get the KPFK 5 CD set of Hendrix, which Big O brings up from time to time. Very informative on all things Hendrix. But at least get the fifth CD of Outtakes, which is all studio with great sound quality and absolutely beautiful achievements with the songs - my favorite being, “Cherokee Mist”. Most are full songs, mostly instrumental. I like listening to it more than any other Hendrix album. He was onto something much more advanced than before.

    By 3yrsnojob on Nov 18, 2011

  4. Sorry, it’s KPFA, and they are all instrumentals. Here’s the Big O info:
    Hendrix For Everyone [ATM, 5CD]
    The Complete Four-Hour KPFA Radio Special
    Vol 5: Outtakes

    KPFA Radio in California had in 1982 broadcast a four-hour radio special on Jimi Hendrix. The following tracks, commonly known as The KPFA Tapes, have been shared among Hendrix fans for some time now. These tracks were said to have been provided by producer Alan Douglas to the station for the show.

    According to the Hendrix Archived Traders’ Material (ATM) group, these outtakes were not featured on the KPFA four-hour radio special.

    For those who enjoyed the Complete KPFA Radio Special, here are the outtakes. Stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibits.
    COMMENT (not mine, but I agree!): How fantastic is this?! Rare, good quality and we get to hear the man himself, musically in this set and verbally in the other 4 volumes. A real treat for those of us who still marvel at the skill of a man whose talent leaves a mark on guitar players today. Magnificent. Thank you. By Julian on Nov 27, 2008.

    Disc 5: Outtakes

    Track 501. Country Blues (11.7MB)
    Track 502. Cherokee Mist (8.4MB)
    Track 503. Cherokee Mist / In From The Storm (8.9MB)
    Track 504. Lord I Sing The Blues (14.6MB)
    Track 505. Drivin’ South Jam [Excerpt from John McLaughlin Jam, New York City, NY 25.03.69] (20.5MB)
    Track 506. Country Blues / Astro Man (14.7MB)
    Track 507. Winter Blues (12.8MB)
    Track 508. Dance (5.3MB)
    Track 509. Valleys Of Neptune (5.4MB)
    Track 510. Freedom (5.5MB)

    By 3yrsnojob on Nov 18, 2011

  5. hey 3yearsnojob, yes, i’ve seen it restarted before and remember when it was first offered.i am still thinking about getting this berkeley soundcheck. i prefer live shows, and i kind of want lou reed & metallica-cologne 11.11.11 more. i’ve seen it on various blogs. i’ve been listening to the widely panned lulu in my car. i like it.


    By Ed Saad on Nov 18, 2011

  6. Hey Bio O, any chance of a temporary link to the KPFA 5 disc 3yrsnojob talks about?
    Thanks for everything,

    By rick on Nov 18, 2011

  7. you guys want to know which Hendrix shows are worthwhile to acquire get hold of Belmo`s book…JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC..
    my copy is ragged I used it so much!

    By sluggo on Nov 19, 2011

  8. I’m pretty sure the US officially pulled out of Vietnam in 1975, not 1973 as stated above.

    Thanks for the Hendrix music.

    By aking on Nov 19, 2011

  9. Thanks Sluggo. Hendrix fans can still purchase my book from Collector’s Guide Publishing. Google them for ordering information.

    By Belmo on Nov 19, 2011

  10. Hey Belmo, Love your book Black Market Beatles.Great information.

    By billh on Nov 19, 2011

  11. Hi aking

    From Wikipedia:

    “U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. The capture of Saigon by the Vietnam People’s Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. ”

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s appreciated.

    By Admin on Nov 20, 2011

  12. Aking, the famous last wirephoto from Saigon when it fell was a last look (by an American embassy guard-military?) while slamming down the door from the inside on the last helicopter that was evacuating out the American embassy staff. There were, of course, many South Vietnamese coworkers left there with no escape. The media called the photo, “Last Man Out”.

    By 3yrsnojob on Nov 20, 2011

  13. Aking, the US had trained the South Vietnamese army and left behind weapons. Nixon, for many months had started a withdrawal to pull out the troops. There were many US troops left behind as prisoners (POW), or behind enemy lines, missing in action (MIA) or killed in action (KIA). There are Veterans and many others still searching for them in Southeast Asia. I’m sure they found the photo title infuriating.

    By 3yrsnojob on Nov 20, 2011

  14. Track 12 is actually Ezy Ryder not Stone Free.
    Thanks for the tracks, always looking for more Jimi.

    By Tim on Nov 21, 2011

  15. Regarding US involvement in Vietnam, I remember it this way:
    1. US troops were still in Vietnam from 1973-1975.
    2. From 1973-1975, there was still a draft in the US, and it was still possible to be drafted to serve in Vietnam, even though the US had started pulling out troops.

    I was old enough to be eligible for the draft from 1973-1975. The draft did not end until sometime in 1975, if I remember correctly. I did not know, or recall, the Case-Church Amendment. I do remember the draft, as would anyone who could be sent overseas to die before he was old enough to buy a beer. Perhaps I confused the end of the draft with the official end of US involvement. Sorry. And thanks for the educational comments from Admin and 3yrsnojob. After nearly 40 years my memory is bound to have some gaps. But the price of forgetting the lessons of the Vietnam War is too high, as we can see now that the US is making the same mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    By aking on Nov 21, 2011

  16. Aking, you and I must be close in age. I was also 1-A for the draft starting in 1973, which meant my number could be pulled anytime. But the US wanted desperately to forget Vietnam, to wipe it from our collective memories, and especially from our children. Just eight years after the war was over,1983, I saw an 18 year old file clerk (American born) ask her Vietnam Vet supervisor, “Oh, I heard about the Vietnam war. What year was that fought?” We both turned to her incredulously and said in near unison “What YEAR? Try what DECADE!” So the average American knows very little about the Vietnam war.

    By 3yrsnojob on Nov 21, 2011

  17. 3yrs, we are likely the same age. When I got around to finishing college, I even took a course on the impact of the Vietnam War. One class period consisted of a talk by guest speaker US Sen. John Kerry, a Vietnam Vet who would later run for president, only to have his military record besmirched by he whose name may not be mentioned. I still have some of the books we were required to read. Clearly, I didn’t memorize them, but I know more about that war than the file clerk you met. Like you, I have had no full time work for 3 years, and no work at all for 2. I have two college degrees and a multitude of job skills at which I am expert, but can’t even get an interview when my resume is a perfect match for the job ad. This is not America.

    By aking on Nov 21, 2011

  18. You’re not the first to put words in Jimi’s mouth.

    By Tony McLean on Nov 22, 2011

  19. thanks, bigO, for a great jimi, and to all the commenteers for their commentions.


    By I-) on Nov 24, 2011

  20. Looks like a great disc. Thanks for sharing.

    By Matt on Dec 23, 2011

  21. Thanks, this bootleg is difficult to achieve, I’m downloading…

    By emerson, lake, palmer & hendrix on May 8, 2014

  22. Machine Gun always makes me cry. Thank you for this screamin’ version.

    By Mr T on Jan 5, 2016

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