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The Jimi Hendrix Experience - The Complete 2nd Royal Albert Hall Show 1969 [Prof. Stoned 2020]

01. Intro
02. Lover Man
03. Stone Free
04. Hear My Train A Comin'
05. I Don't Live Today
06. Red House
07. Foxy Lady
08. Sunshine Of Your Love
09. Bleeding Heart
10. Fire
11. Little Wing
12. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
13. Room Full of Mirrors
14. Purple Haze
15. Wild Thing
16. Star Spangled Banner
17. Outro

Time: 01:45:53

All Tracks are Stereo

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Recorded by Glyn Johns on 24 February, 1969, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
Remastered by PS

v1.0: 18-07-2020
v2.0: 21-07-2020 (replaced ATM source with Feather Records source, they are identical except the former has digital glitches; used correct mastering setting on 05-09 -mistake on v1- and Tr 10 now taken from first source instead of second) 

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Sources: 

- Royal Albert Hall (2xCDR) Feather Records #025 USA 1998 Tr. 01-10	
- Albert Hall Experience ‎(2xCD, RM) Charly Records SNAF 822 CD UK 2001 Tr. 11-17	

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Note:

Much has been written about this concert. It was recorded for the purpose of being part of a film about the JHE which was never released (save for one public screening in 2019). The audio of the show, however, has been well-circulated. The original producers of the film, Jerry Goldstein and Steve Gold, had an accountant working for them called Bernhard Solomon who obtained a copy of the second half of the concert in 1970 (from Tr. 08 on). He licensed excerpts of this tape to various record labels and managed to convince them he was the sole rightsholder and owner of the material, a claim for which he had no evidence. The man must have had some nerve because until shortly before his death in 2007, while battling both the Hendrix estate and Jerry Goldstein in court, his versions of the Albert Hall recording where *still* in print on various labels. 

Supposedly, the recording we have here is a rough mix that was made during the show for the Nagra video cameras which got a mono feed directly from the control room. Years later in 1982, Alan Douglas used the mono video soundtrack for two selections on the "Concerts' compilation, presumably because he was unable to locate the 4-track tapes. Jerry Goldstein also owned a recording of the Nagra mix, except his version was in stereo and this is the recording that Solomon managed to copy. He was not the only one; Eric Burdon also had a copy of the complete Goldstein tape and he began to distribute the complete set on 2 CDRs through mail-order in 1998, crediting himself as the producer. This was quickly stopped by a cease and desist letter from EH's lawyers. Bernhard Solomon then took the opportunity to release the complete set by combining Burdon's tape with his own, most notably on a Charly Records 3CD set from 2002.

Burdon's and Solomon's tapes are quite similar but the sound on Burdon's tape deteriorates badly at the end. Both are likely sourced from a cassette tape or consumer reel-to-reel; there are dropouts due to signal overload, high-end loss/saturation and the azimuth varies throughout. Still, considering that only five songs have ever been released on official Hendrix product so far, it's quite pleasant to have access to this material. And even when EH finally will be able to put this out, they will most certainly clean up both the sound and performance to make it consumable by modern standards. Understandable, of course, but here you can hear how it really went down that night. And in quite excellent vintage stereo sound.

I have attempted to make this the best version yet by combining the best sources, correcting speed issues, fixing dropouts, restoring the wavering stereo image and mastering the different parts for optimal coherence. It's still a bootleg but a pretty darn good one, especially after the first two or three songs. For decades, Hendrix fans have longed for an official version of this show and its status has grown into near-mythical proportions. Truth is, this was a spirited but also somewhat unfocused performance overall. But when it's good, it's really good: the definitive live versions of 'Little Wing' and 'Voodoo Chile' are in here, along with a few other superb performances. 

PS (July, 2020)

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Glyn Johns wrote the following in his auto bio from 2015:

"This was a complete disaster. The Albert Hall was originally designed for classical music and not in any way for loud rock and roll. I had recorded The Rolling Stones there a few years earlier but that was in the days when you could not hear a note of music for the wall of screaming teenage girls, and the amplifiers were considerably smaller, therefore not nearly as loud, so the acoustics were not so much of an issue. The acoustics have been improved dramatically in recent years but in 1969 it may have been the worst venue in the UK for Hendrix to play. It sounded like an enormous indoor swimming pool.

I spoke to Jimi after the soundcheck, suggesting that if he wanted anyone in the audience to hear a single note of what he played that he and Noel Redding, the bass player, should use much smaller amps and for them to play at a much quieter level than they were used to. I knew I was wasting my time, but I also knew that the recording would be useless if he did not make some kind of compromise. He was charming and said he understood the problem and would consider what I had said. When the show began, as I expected, he completely ignored my suggestion. If anything, he turned up and the net result was an unusable cacophony of sound. I was set up in a dressing room backstage, and as soon as I realized how bad it was I decided not to waste my time, and having told the assistant engineer to change reels when necessary, I went home. 

The following morning I got an extremely irate call from Mike Jeffery, Jimi’s manager, asking where the hell I was when they went backstage to listen to a playback after the concert. I politely told him that as Jimi had decided not to take my advice, which was entirely his prerogative, the recording was completely useless. Therefore there was little point in me sitting there all evening listening to the racket going onstage. This may well have been the last conversation I had with Mike and I was never to see Jimi again."

Note by PS: 

Glyn Johns' credentials definitely make him something of a legend, but he appears to think of himself as more important than the artist he worked with here, which is of course a complete overestimation of his abilities. It doesn't seem likely that he "walked out" of the concert, more like something he wished he could have done. His job was not only to capture the concert on 4-track but also to produce a separate live-mix for the cameras, both of which required attentive monitoring throughout the show. 

As suggested by notes by Hendrix from February 1969, a trusted engineer was to be selected for the occasion because Hendrix thought this was "very important". The two shows in the Albert Hall were to be recorded properly and Johns was hired by Goldstein (not Michael Jeffrey) to do the job on both occasions, as written in this court document: <tinyurl.com/yb5q3mev> 
In other words, this project was a big deal. The document does not mention someone else taking over after the 18th, although Hendrix is heard mentioning not playing as loud because "we really care for your ears" during the 24th show.