Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mitch Mitchell's Greatest Hits

Mitch Mitchell, drummer for Jimi Hendrix, passed away a few days ago. As I said I would, I have made a list of my favorite performances by Mitch on Jimi's songs. In no particular order . . .

1) Crosstown Traffic (from Electric Ladyland)

Mitch wasn't merely a psychedelic jazz rocker. He could funk it up too, as this groove-based ditty shows.

2) Manic Depression (from Are You Experienced)

This is one of Mitch's greatest. People always comment that this is Mitch's song as much as it is Jimi's. He keeps pounding away and doesn't ever let up.

3) Can You See Me (from Are You Experienced)

Here, Mitch simply attacks you with his drumming. Each hit of the drumstick is like a gunshot exploding.

4) Ain't No Telling (from Axis: Bold As Love)

Mitch's crazy drumming keeps the tempo as high as it can go. Mitch brought the ability to rock just as much as Jimi did.

5) Voodoo Chile (from Electric Ladyland)

This long jam is a feast of amazing musicianship. The guitar squeals, the organ screams, and Mitch Mitchell pounds away like his life depends on it. I don't know how he kept his energy going that long.

6) Up From The Skies (from Axis: Bold As Love)

This is the closest Jimi Hendrix ever got to playing jazz. Mitch brings his jazz background to the foreground here, laying down a silky groove with the brushes.

7) Third Stone From The Sun (from Are You Experienced)

This is another example of Mitch's jazz playing. He mixes it up with jazzier sections and sections that rock. He could do it all.

8) Fire (from Are You Experienced)

Here, Mitch is basically playing lead. The verses feature his strong playing, punctuated by the guitar and bass. This is one of Jimi's best songs, and Mitch's performance makes it happen.

9) Wait Until Tomorrow (from Axis: Bold As Love)

This is some of Mitch's heaviest drumming. It sounds as if he's going to puncture the drums with his sticks at any moment.

10) Catfish Blues (from Blues)

Jimi wails away on guitar, and Mitch keeps up with him every step of the way. Mitch even gets a solo, and puts it to good use.

I would say that Mitch's best drumming album is Axis: Bold As Love. His playing is commanding and spectacular on most of the album's cuts. He played in several different styles on this album, but all of them are pure Mitch Mitchell.

Here's a video - Mitch's solo on "Machine Gun" from the Isle of Wight concert:

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