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Music / Band of Gypsys

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The standard album cover for Band of Gypsys.
The alternate album cover for Band of Gypsys, used in the UK.

Band of Gypsys is the debut live album by American Psychedelic Rock band the Band of Gypsys, released in 1970 through Capitol Records in the US and Track Record in the UK. It is the final album with Jimi Hendrix released during his lifetime. This album consists of songs taken from the first of just two concerts the Band of Gypsys ever held, recorded on New Year's Eve 1969/New Year's Day 1970. Two other live albums under the Band of Gypsys name has since come out - Band of Gypsys 2 in 1986, and Live at the Fillmore East in 1999. Both of these were also taken from the same concert that this album used. The second concert was a disaster and effectively marked the end of the Band of Gypsys. It was during that concert that Hendrix grew increasingly frustrated, and ended up walking off-stage in the middle of the second song. That performance has been widely bootlegged.

Upon release, this album has been received with generally mixed reviews, and continues to do so today. Some people view it as the least essential release with Hendrix from before his death, while others view it as the best live album with Hendrix. Fan favourites include "Machine Gun" and "Who Knows?".


Side One
  1. "Who Knows?" (9:34)
  2. "Machine Gun" (12:38)

Side Two

  1. "Changes" (5:11)
  2. "Power To Love" (6:55)
  3. "Message Of Love" (5:24)
  4. "We Gotta Live Together" (5:51)

Bonus Tracks (1991 Reissue):

  1. "Hear My Train A Comin'" (9:02)
  2. "Foxy Lady" (6:33)
  3. "Stop" (4:47)

Principal Members:

  • Billy Cox - bass, backing and co-lead vocals
  • Jimi Hendrix - lead vocals, guitar
  • Buddy Miles - lead vocals, drums

We Gotta Trope Together:

  • Epic Rocking: Pretty much every song, but in particular "Machine Gun" which goes for 12:38.
  • Face on the Cover: On the standard version, Hendrix playing guitar, shown in close-up.
  • I Am the Band: Despite being presented as a Supergroup it's essentially Hendrix who gets all the credit and attention. To many people Band of Gypsys is therefore a Hendrix album in all but name.
    • Although that doesn't stop Buddy Miles to get as many lead vocals as Hendrix. However, these haven't really been well-received by the fan-base.
  • Live Album: These days often seen as the most essential live album with Jimi Hendrix.
  • One-Word Title: "Changes" and the bonus track "Stop".
  • The Power of Love: "Power To Love", "Message Of Love" and "We Gotta Live Together".
  • Protest Song: During "Machine Gun" Hendrix imitates the sounds of a battlefield, such as helicopters, dropping bombs, explosions, machine guns and screams of people.
  • Questioning Title?: "Who Knows?".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Billy Cox sings co-lead vocals on "We Gotta Live Together".
  • The Svengali: Band manager Mike Jeffery is often accused of ripping Hendrix off of his money and intentionally sabotaging the band in order to get Jimi to reform The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Notably, it is often purported, including by Buddy Miles and Johnny Winter (who was backstage at the time), that Jeffrey intentionally gave Jimi some bad LSD at their ill-fated Madison Square Garden performance in order to humiliate him and break up the band.
  • Time Marches On: When this album was released the Band of Gypsys had already broken up.
    • As of 2015 Billy Cox is the only surviving member of either the Band of Gypsys or The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Having replaced Noel Redding when the Experience reformed in 1970).
  • Vocal Tag Team: On this album, Hendrix and Miles form one.
  • War Is Hell: "Machine Gun" is a protest song, which Hendrix dedicates to "to all the soldiers that are fighting in Chicago and Milwaukee and New York, oh yes, and all the soldiers fighting in Vietnam". This is a reference to the race riots in those US cities and the Vietnam War.