Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hear my train a comin'

I watched the Jimi Hendrix documentary this evening (Hear my train etc.), it failed in a number of key areas but it's here on iPlayer at least until next Tuesday or whenever.  Hendrix bad is, as John Peel said, always better than most people good. It's funny how so many rock documentaries still fall flat in their retelling of the tale after all these years. Tired out survivors recount familiar stories in a repetitive cut and paste jumble that only just captures the bare story, so you quickly realise a whole lot of depth in everything else is missing and the fact that everybody involved is pretty much dead means this pale version of history is as good as it ever gets.

The cardinal sin for me are the live clips with the wrong soundtrack added in, time and time again we see musicians playing along to a badly cut and edited erroneous sound clip. Jimi's guitar is screaming like a banshee but his fingers are on the second fret, FFS! The only saving grace was a short segment where Eddy Kramer wound up the mixing desk to reveal Hendrix's many layered guitar parts; I'd happily watch 12 hours of that as track pieces are deconstructed and explained by a man who was there at the time. The three brilliant and contrasting rhythm guitar parts in "Little Wing" set out from the mix brought tears to my eyes, this is magnificent material... but it was gone in a few moments...there's a seam of gold in there somewhere but nobody at the BBC has the brains or courage to just dig it out.

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