Spanish Castle Magic
|"Spanish Castle Magic"|
|Song by the Jimi Hendrix Experience|
|from the album Axis: Bold as Love|
|Released||December 1, 1967|
|Recorded||October 27 & 28, 1967|
"Spanish Castle Magic" is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Produced by Chas Chandler, it is the third track from the album Axis: Bold as Love. The lyrics refer to a club near Seattle, where Hendrix sometimes played early in his career. The song was a staple of live shows. Several live recordings were released after Hendrix's death.
The lyrics were inspired by Hendrix's high school years (roughly 1958-1961), when he regularly visited a roadhouse called "The Spanish Castle". The club was south of Seattle in what was then unincorporated King County (now the city of Des Moines, Washington). It was built in the 1930s to avoid Seattle's then restrictive nightclub laws. By 1959, the club began featuring top local rock groups such as The Fabulous Wailers and occasional touring stars. Events were hosted by Pat O'Day, Seattle's best known disc jockey of the era.
Hendrix performed at the Spanish Castle on several occasions. He later described his frustration getting to the club: "[The bass player] in the band had this beat-up car, and it would break down every other block, on the way there and back".[This quote needs a citation] This is referenced in the line "Takes 'bout a half a day to get there". The Spanish Castle was demolished in April 1968. According to rock critic Dave Marsh, "Once you know the legend of the Wailers at the Castle and the facts of Jimi’s attendance there, the lyrics of his 'Spanish Castle Magic' seem haunted by homesick nostalgia: 'It’s very far away, it takes about half a day to get there if we travel by my...uh...dragonfly,' he sings, in the voice of a kid stranded a couple continents from home".[This quote needs a citation]
The song features Noel Redding playing an eight-string Hagstrom bass routed through an Octavia effects unit, which Hendrix later overdubbed using the same bass. Hendrix also overdubbed some jazz chords on piano, which he had heard sound engineer Eddie Kramer playing. Hendrix biographer Harry Shapiro commented on the song's instrumentation: "[The] guitar and bass in unison has the immediate effect of locking up a song in a strong rhythmic voice ... [Hendrix uses] some unusual chord progressions and a large number of bend in the solo ending up with a crazy double-stop." AllMusic's Matthew Greenwald calls the progression "proto-heavy metal" and compares it to the earlier Experience song, "Foxy Lady".
"Spanish Castle Magic" is one of the few songs from Axis: Bold as Love that Hendrix regularly performed in concert. Live recordings of the song are found on BBC Sessions, Live at the Oakland Coliseum, Stages, Live in Ottawa, Live at Woodstock, Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight, Winterland, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set.
Other versions of the song
- Carlos Santana
- Hay and Stone
- Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Trial by Fire
- MDC – Millions of Dead Cops/More Dead Cops
- Spin Doctors – Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix
- Hiram Bullock – World of Collision
- Fly – FLY
- Ace Frehley - Origins, Vol. 1
- Prince and The New Power Generation played the song at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2009
- Eric Johnson played the song at Austin City Limits Music Festival in 1984
- Greenwald, Matthew. "Jimi Hendrix/The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Spanish Castle Magic". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- McDermott, John; Kramer, Eddie; Cox, Billy (2009). Ultimate Hendrix. Backbeat Books. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-87930-938-5.
- Shapiro, Harry; Glebbeek, Cesar (1990). Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy. St. Martin's Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-312-05861-6.
- Shadwick, Keith (2003). Jimi Hendrix: Musician. Backbeat Books. p. 129. ISBN 0-87930-764-1.
- "Jimi Hendrix: Spanish Castle Magic – Appears On". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved August 20, 2014.