In late 1968 – more or less around the same time the Beatles’ so-called White Album came out – Jimi Hendrix released his iconic album Electric Ladyland. Recorded in New York and London, it ranks 54th on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time.
Hendrix, the shape-shifter par excellence, experimented with a variety of styles on this album but proved once again that creativity-wise, he was light years ahead of his peers.
Voodoo Child actually shows up on the album in two different forms – a 15 minute blues excursion (“Voodoo Chile”) whose personnel included regular drummer Mitch Mitchell, organist Steve Winwood and Airplane bassist Jack Casady.
And a second more well-known version is a song called “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” played by the original Experience. Here ’tis:
I could easily post the excellent Stevie Ray Vaughn version here. But the most casual observer of my site knows I like a little bit of radical reinvention. This video cropped up on, I think, Facebook. It’s a young lady who calls herself Luna and she’s playing an instrument called a gayageum. I had to look that one up.
Wikipedia says it’s a “traditional Korean zither-like string instrument, with 12 strings, though some more recent variants have 21 or other number of strings.” (Imagine restringing that!) Anyway, don’t know much about Luna but she sure plays a mean pinb – er, um, gayageum!
I was kinda stuck for a third version when a savvy friend said Have you never heard the version by Angelique Kidjo? Not only had I never heard of it, I wasn’t all that familiar with her. Hailing from West Africa, turns out she’s quite the influential force. London’s Daily Telegraph calls her the “undisputed queen of African music.”
Here’s her version:
6 thoughts on “One Song/Three Versions – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
Wow! It’s almost comic seeing how a song can be so radically reinvented from culture to culture. Really like that Angelique Kidjo version. I have to say, I’m a bit of a novice on African music, and some of the most critically acclaimed compilations are really hard to get.
BTW, congrats on 100 posts: You’re far more disciplined when it comes to regular posting than me 😉
Thanks. I definitely need to spend more time with African music as well. Of course, so much music we listen to is from Africa so we kind of already do. As to my posting, it may well be more obsessive than disciplined quite frankly.. On a post such as this, I hear these couple of versions I gotta get it out there. I need to slow myself down a little bit. Maybe 2 posts/week, maybe 3.
Fantastic stuff. No one can touch the original IMHO, but if you’re going to attempt it, be original yourself.
Amen to that, brother.
Will check out the other versions. I did a piece on the film ‘Withnail and I’ where they use this song. If you have ever been on a bender and I’m guessing you have, you might relate. It’s perfect music for what’s going on in the guys mind. He is wrecked!.
I’ve been on a bender or two in my time, sure. Not for a while fortunately. The closest I come these days is occasional use of Ambien. One of these (no shit) causes mild hallucinations. So I enjoy that twenty or so minutes before I fall asleep.
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