Yes folks, it’s that time again! It’s another edition of Patchy’s Inappropriate Instrumentals, where I share covers of great songs done on weird instruments, or things that aren’t even instruments at all.
The most recent instalment featured a fantastic bluegrass cover of AC/DC‘s Thunderstruck by my favourite Finnish bluegrass band, Steve’N’Seagulls. That post is right HERE, but today’s post focuses on the Voodoo Child himself, Jimi Hendrix.
— Guitar World (@GuitarWorld) February 17, 2016
What is there to say about Jimi Hendrix? I mean, I probably can’t tell you much that you don’t already know, unless I were to head to his Uncyclopedia page and spit out some hilarious (but made up) facts about his life… Like how he invented the “full-octave bend” by bending the guitar string off the fretboard, around the neck, and back on to the fretboard. From the looks of it, that little tidbit that I read there years ago is now gone, but this one is there:
“The baby that would grow up to become the guitarist Jimi Hendrix was born to a father who had six fingers on each hand and Jimi would famously have 15 fingers on each hand and a universe on his toe.”
But yes, it’s all fiction. I mean, it’s probably best just to let his music do the talking. The song Voodoo Child (Slight Return) originated when Hendrix was in the studio with Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, as well as Steve Winwood on organ and Jack Casady on bass. As the four jammed, the tapes were rolling, and the result was Voodoo Chile. The next day, with the previous day’s jam fresh in their minds, Hendrix and Mitchell returned to the studio with Experience bassist Noel Redding for the filming of a short documentary. From Professor Wikipedia:
Noel Redding explained, “We learned that song in the studio … They had the cameras rolling on us as we played it”. Hendrix added,
[S]omeone was filming when we started doing [Voodoo Child]. We did that about three times because they wanted to film us in the studio, to make us—’Make it look like you’re recording, boys’—one of them scenes, you know, so, ‘OK, let’s play this in E, a-one, a-two, a-three’, and then we went into ‘Voodoo Child’.
According to Hendrix biographer Steven Roby, eight takes of the song were recorded by Hendrix, Redding, and Mitchell, and the final one was chosen as the master, which appeared on Electric Ladyland.
Just like that – it’s one of those songs that kinda came together at the last minute but went on to almost be a defining hit for the artist – kind of like Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid (which became the title track on its album, though I would argue it’s not as definitive of Sabbath’s sound as Voodoo Child was for Hendrix).
Anyway, even though I’m sure you’ve already heard it plenty of times, here’s the original:
The cover I’m featuring today comes from a South Korean musician by the name of Luna Lee. She plays the Gayageum, a traditional Korean instrument that is very similar to a Zither (though if you don’t know what that is, that comparison means nothing). The way I find easiest to describe it is this: Think of what you’d imagine traditional Asian music sounds like – You’ve probably already got an idea from pop culture references in movies or TV shows or whatever else. The gayageum has pretty much that signature sound. Because it’s meant to be played quietly in a small room, Luna had to redevolp her instrument to
Hell, I can’t really properly explain it, so I’ll just share the video already. You’ll see what I mean, I’m sure.
I could listen to her shred on that gayageum all day! And if you could too, you’re in luck. Her YouTube Channel has TONS of these kinds of covers of contemporary songs done on her ancient instrument… Like this cover of Little Wing, originally a Hendrix song, but in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan:
Until next time, let’s not forget how Hendrix learned guitar in the first place…