From the 1995 Jimi Hendrix compilation album, Voodoo Soup, I learned the back story behind the recording session where vibraphonist, Buzzy Linhart, accompanied Hendrix (posthumously) on his beautiful ballad, “Drifting,” recorded at Electric Lady in July 1970 and originally released February 1971 on the Cry of Love album:
“Everything had been completed, remembers Linhart [who had been brought in by drummer, Mitch Mitchell] “except Jimi didn’t know whether he was going to add another rhythm guitar track or a set of vibes. I remember being on the other side of the glass from Mitch and Eddie [Kramer, engineer]. It was just the three of us. It was very poignant, man, it was like Jimi was still in the room. I was alone in there. I remember at the time being really happy that he was doing some of his backward guitar solos on that. There were no charts written out, and it was not an easy part to play, there’s this chromatic movement that happens. On piano every chord is a totally different position. With vibes, it’s four mallets, and you gotta hit it. It’s real hard. I wanted them to let me take a tape home, and they were worried that someone would make a copy and bootleg it. So I wasn’t allowed to take it home. I did ‘Drifting’ in one day, in one hour! I wanted another hour with it or go to lunch and come back, because I had just learned the thing. By the time it was over, I was just getting used to the form of the song. I think it is one of the most beautiful things he’d ever written. The lyrics alone, how can people miss what a poet this guy was?”
Anyway, I forever associated that story with Buzzy Linhart and mistakenly assumed he must have been some sort of jazz session player – only to obtain a copy of his 1974 Atco LP, Pussycats Can Go Far, and discover how pop/rock-oriented Linhart’s own music leaned. One snappy tune that caught my ear, “You Don’t Have to Tell Me Goodbye,” was categorized by the Classic 45s website as “power pop” – would you agree?
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to play “You Don’t Have to Tell Me Goodbye” by Buzzy Linhart.]