Jimi Hendrix "Hear My Train A Comin" PBS American Masters & DVD Release Set For Nov. 5, 2013

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published September 7, 2013


The Jimi Hendrix estate is set to release a new two hour documentary called Hear My Train A Comin' as well as a live recording from a 1968 concert. The scheduled date of release is November 5th, which will coincide with the airing of the documentary on PBS American Masters. Earlier this year, Experience Hendrix released a fantastic compilation album of previously unreleased material called People, Hell and Angels that is a must listen for Hendrix fans.

Here is a preview of the "Hear My Train A Comin" documentary:

In an interview with the New York Times, director Bob Smeaton shed some light on the new documentary. Smeaton has previously worked on Hendrix documentaries “Hendrix: Band of Gypsys”, “Jimi Hendrix: The Dick Cavett Show”, “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” and “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” which has influenced his approach on this newest documentary. Here are some interesting highlights from the New York Times piece:

“The biggest challenge,” Mr. Smeaton said in a telephone interview from London, “was that having done a number of Hendrix projects in the past, I had to find a way of getting everything I wanted into the film without having it run six hours, and without having it turn into the same film I did in the past. You’ve got to hit certain points: when he came to London, when he played Monterey, certain albums, Woodstock, building his recording studio. But you also want to get a different take. And that’s the hardest thing – trying to stay fresh.”

“In the past, I’ve interviewed mainly guys,” Mr. Smeaton said. “And with guys, it always comes down to, ‘He was a great guitar player, he looked good on stage, he died too young.’ And that’s all true. But the women offer a different take. They say ‘He was shy,’ or ‘He was gentle.’ The women bring an interesting insight, and maybe for once we know more about him.”

Mr. Smeaton added: “The other things that’s important, when you make a film like this, is that you try to get to the real musicality of the guy, rather than just ‘here we go again, another guitar solo.’ There’s a section where Eddie Kramer, his producer, is sitting at the mixing desk, playing each of the four guitar tracks on ‘Little Wing.’ Each part is different, and when you put them together, it’s orchestral. So you hear about Hendrix playing the guitar with his teeth, or behind his head. But he knew what he was doing. And that sometimes gets overshadowed by the crazy hair and the other stuff.”

Does this sound great, or what??

PBS's American Masters website has this description:

The Hendrix estate has cooperated fully with this film, releasing performance footage of Jimi Hendrix that has never been seen before, as well as an extensive archive of photographs, drawings and family letters. A pioneering electric guitarist, Hendrix had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. Presented as part of a year-long celebration concluding what would have been his 70th year (11/27/1942), this is his definitive story, illustrated by interviews with Hendrix and illuminated with commentary by Paul McCartney, Noel Redding, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, and others. Poignant, protected footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his drug-related death at age 27, concludes the film.

The legacy of Jimi Hendrix is vast and complicated. Although he only released 4 official albums during his lifetime, Hendrix's catalog has yielded a seemingly never ending supply of material. Hendrix was so prolific in large part because he was a true music lover. He loved performing live and he also loved working in recording studios. In the studio, he was fortunate to have worked exclusively with sound engineer Eddie Kramer who is considered among the very best of all time. After his first album became a smash success, the rest of his career was documented in great detail by the people around him.

Check local listings for showtimes.

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