Thursday, March 18, 2010

Experience Hendrix Concert - Billy Cox and Ernie Isley

I attended the Experience Hendrix concert at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis last night. All in all, it was a great show, although my age is showing in that I wish I had brought ear plugs.

Ernie Isley opened the show with Billy Cox on bass and Chris Layton on drums. BIlly Cox was with Jimi in the Band of Gypsies and was a friend of his going back to their Air Force days. Chris Layton was the drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Ernie Isley was 11 years old when his brothers hired Jimi to be the guitarist in their band, Jimi lived with the family for quite some time, giving Erine time to absorb Jimi's music. I own an old album by the Isley Brothers, released in the 1970's, where Ernie uses what he learned to breath fire into Machine Gun and Ohio.

I saved that LP just for that. Ernie was very impressive and nailed the Hendrix tone and style.

Ernie is not ever mentioned as one of the great guitarists of the 1970's. He should be. He is very underrated for a guy who was one of the fortunate few to spend time learning one-on-one with Jimi Hendrix.

Sadly, Ernie only played these three songs and did not come back on stage for any of the other performances.

It was great to see two of Jimi's friends playing tribute to him and his music. What I would have given to see JImi perform live. I did not really

discover his music until 1974, when I heard his version of "The Star Spangled Banner." That woke me up fast. I had just started to play guitar and quickly bought most of his LPs.

Fortunately, there are plenty of videos of Jimi on YouTube for all of us to enjoy.

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