Midnight Lightning

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Midnight Lightning
Compilation album by Jimi Hendrix
Released November 1975
Length 35:58
Label Polydor, Reprise
Producer Alan Douglas, Tony Bongiovi
Jimi Hendrix chronology
Crash Landing
(1975)
Midnight Lightning
(1975)
Nine to the Universe
(1980)

Midnight Lightning is a posthumous compilation album by American rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix.[1] It was released in November 1975 by Reprise Records in the United States and Polydor Records in the United Kingdom.[2] It was the sixth studio album released after his death and the second to be produced by Alan Douglas and Tony Bongiovi. The songs used on the album consisted of post-Jimi Hendrix Experience recordings that originally featured Billy Cox on bass and either Mitch Mitchell or Buddy Miles on drums.

Background[edit]

Douglas continued his controversial methods he had adopted on Crash Landing and brought in many of the same session musicians to overdub parts of songs. The only original recording (apart from those by Hendrix) was Mitchell's drumming on "Hear My Train a Comin'". In response to the previous outcry from fans and critics, Douglas did not claim co-writer credit for any songs on Midnight Lightning. Despite the fact that the album included staples such as "Hear My Train a Comin'" and "Machine Gun", the album was not as well received as its predecessor, peaking at #43 in the US.[3] and #46 in the UK.[4]

Other appearances of songs[edit]

The first song on the album, "Trashman", was issued in its original full length form on the album Hear My Music. It was also featured as a bonus track on some editions of the Valleys of Neptune album. The original version of the title track, "Midnight Lightning", has not been reissued without the Douglas era overdubs as of 2014. However, there is a solo take of the song on 1997's South Saturn Delta. "Hear My Train a Comin'", without the Douglas-era overdubs appears on Valleys of Neptune. "Gypsy Boy" is similar to the song "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" and was released under the name "Hey Gypsy Boy" on the album People, Hell and Angels without the overdubs that appear on Midnight Lightning.

"Blue Suede Shoes" however has not been reissued since Midnight Lightning. The version from Midnight Lightning is presented as a completed track, whereas on Loose Ends the song fades out shortly after it begins. The heavily overdubbed and edited Midnight Lightning version of the song is over three minutes long. "Machine Gun" has never been issued in an official studio release besides the version on Midnight Lightning. "Once I Had a Woman" was issued in a longer version of this song, with the original musicians (and without the added Douglas era backing singers and musicians) on the 1994 compilation Blues. "Beginnings" is an instrumental composed by Mitchell. A later version of this song with just Hendrix, Cox and Mitchell appeared on the posthumous album War Heroes in 1972. However, the version of the song on Midnight Lightning has never been reissued in any form.

Critical reception[edit]

In a 1981 review, music critic Robert Christgau gave Midnight Lightning a "B+" and said that it was an improvement by Douglas over Crash Landing because of highlight instrumentals such as "Trash Man", overdubbed guitar from Jeff Mironov and Lance Quinn, and "the blues playing — as opposed to singing or writing".[5] AllMusic's Joe Viglione gave it three out of five stars and felt that the enduring quality of Hendrix's music is retained in spite of Douglas's "doctoring and musicians jamming with his art after the fact."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Trash Man"   3:15
2. "Midnight Lightning"   3:49
3. "Hear My Train a Comin'"   5:43
4. "Gypsy Boy"   3:45
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Blue Suede Shoes" (Carl Perkins) 3:29
6. "Machine Gun"   7:36
7. "Once I Had a Woman"   5:20
8. "Beginnings" (Mitch Mitchell) 3:02

Personnel[edit]

Added in 1975[edit]

  • Jeff Mironov – guitar on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8
  • Lance Quinn – guitar on tracks 2, 4, 6 and 7
  • Allan Schwartzberg – drums on tracks 1, 2, 4-8, percussion on tracks 3 and 4
  • Bob Babbittbass guitar
  • Jimmy Maelen – percussion on tracks 2 and 8
  • Maeretha Stewart – backing vocals on tracks 2, 4 and 7
  • Barbara Massey – backing vocals on tracks 2, 4 and 7
  • Vivian Cherry – backing vocals on tracks 2, 4 and 7
  • Buddy Lucasharmonica on track 7

Original recording details and wiped backing musicians[edit]

  • Track 1 recorded at Olmstead Studios in New York City, New York on April 3, 1969. Noel Redding - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums
  • Track 2 recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, New York on July 14, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion
  • Track 3 recorded at Olmstead Studios in New York City, New York on April 7, 1969. Noel Redding - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell's drums were kept
  • Track 4 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on March 18, 1969. Jimi Hendrix - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums
  • Track 5 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on January 23, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Buddy Miles - drums
  • Track 6 is a combination of several takes of "Machine Gun" and "Izabella", recorded at the Hit Factory in New York City, New York on August 29, 1969. Larry Lee - guitar, Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion, Gerrardo Velez - percussion
  • Track 7 recorded at the Record Plant in New York City, New York on January 23, 1970. Billy Cox - bass guitar, Buddy Miles - drums, Don [surname unknown] - harmonica
  • Track 8 recorded at the Hit Factory in New York City, New York on August 28, 1969. Larry Lee - guitar, Billy Cox - bass guitar, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Juma Sultan - percussion, Gerrardo Velez - percussion

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Moskowitz 2010, p. 102.
  2. ^ Moskowitz 2010, p. 165.
  3. ^ Billboard album charts info - Jimi Hendrix Midnight Lightning at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  4. ^ "UK chart history - Jimi Hendrix Midnight Lightning". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Christgau 1981, p. 175.
  6. ^ Viglione, Joe. "Midnight Lightning - Jimi Hendrix". AllMusic. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]