Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jimi Hendrix Experience – "If 6 Was 9" (1967)

Now if a 6 turned out to be 9
I don't mind
I don't mind

In an early episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s manager – who is hospitalized due to heart disease – is afraid that if he dies while he’s in the hospital, his wife will find his hidden porn collection.  He asks Larry to go to his house while his wife is at the hospital and take temporary custody of his porn.

Larry David
The manager’s house has an alarm system with a four-digit code.  Larry is afraid he’ll forget the code, so he asks the manager to write it down.  But when Larry gets to the manager’s house and pulls out the paper with the code written on it, he’s not sure if he’s holding it upside down or right side up.  Is the code    9988 . . . or is it 8866?

If Larry enters a 6 and it turns out he should have entered a 9, he will mind because the alarm may go off.

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Was the Jimi Hendrix Experience the greatest power trio of all time?

It’s between them and Cream – there were some other great power trios, but none can compete with Hendrix’s group and Cream.

Redding, Hendrix, Mitchell:
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Drummers and bass players may disagree with this judgment, but I think Cream’s Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce had the edge over Jimi’s drummer (Mitch Mitchell) and bassist (Noel Redding).

But when it comes to each group’s guitarist, Hendrix blows away Eric Clapton.  Clapton was a virtuoso, but the left-handed Hendrix did things with his upside-down and restrung Fender Stratocaster that had never been done before.

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“If 6 Was 9” was the last track on side one of the Experience’s second album, Axis: Bold as Love, which was released in 1967.

I bought a used copy of that album for 50 cents in ’71 or ’72 from a fellow student who was trying to raise some cash.  “It’s a little late to be getting into Hendrix, isn’t it?” he asked me.  (Hendrix had died in the fall of 1970.)  

If you listen closely to “If 6 Was 9,” you may notice that the sound quality isn’t the greatest.  That’s because the song was recorded on a quarter-inch open-reel tape designed for home use – it wasn’t a studio-quality tape.

To make matters worse, the tape had gotten wrinkled from being mishandled.  The story goes that the recording engineer had a use an unplugged clothes iron to remove the wrinkles from the tape so it could be copied to a professional-quality master tape.

Here’s “If 6 Was 9”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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