Jimi Hendrix – Woke Up This Morning And Found Myself Dead

No Johnny Winter, no Buddy Miles, but certainly a whole lot of Jim Morrison

Of all the thousands of Hendrix bootlegs issued over the years, this would have to be one of the most infamous. Taken from a 2-track tape recording made by Jimi, Woke Up This Morning And Found Myself Dead (there are a myriad of other titles) was compiled from an impromptu jam session at the Scene Club in New York sometime in March 1968 (the exact date is unknown, some sources site the 6th, others the 18th). And while not an official release, i.e. authorised by the Hendrix Estate (despite the original tape being in their possession), it remains one of those recordings that simply won’t go away, mainly due to the presence of Jim Morrison, who took it upon himself to walk on stage uninvited while Hendrix was playing, with the intention of making a few arbitrary contributions of his own.

First of all, the sound quality is pretty rough, not the worst, but not exactly what one would call pristine. But no matter – it’s listenable nonetheless. The performance itself is fairly shambolic, and the sort of thing that must have been far more exciting for those in attendance than for anyone listening to it now, nearly forty years after the fact.

Hendrix’s rendition of “Red House” is unique in that he plays it at a faster tempo than usual. If there’s any reason at all to own this album, then this would be it. However as for the rest of the LP/CD, the whole thing is a bit of a mess. His lengthy cover of Elmore James’ “Bleeding Heart” is another highlight, while the spontaneous title track is engaging, where Hendrix seems to be channelling a little bit of Eric Clapton (usually it was the other way around).

However next are the notoriously naughty bits. “Morison’s Lament,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and “Uranus Rock” are just plain embarrassing, thanks in no small part to Jim Morrison’s drunken wails and obscene verbal outpourings, which at times border on being pornographic. Obviously The Doors’ singer was as high as a kite, and as such really doesn’t add anything at all to the proceedings, except to anyone who enjoys a little bit of profanity every now and then.

But fortunately for Jimi (and the audience), Morrison, following a flurry of inebriated Anglo-Saxon adjectives, collapses on stage, taking Hendrix’s microphone with him.

“Outside Woman Blues” is given an extended airing, followed by Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love,” concluding what one must assume was either an extremely memorable, or somewhat forgettable evening.

Apart from “Red House” and “Bleeding Heart,” there isn’t all that much else worth listening to. Perhaps someday these tracks may appear on an official release, along with proper mastering, but that day seems a long way off.

Woke Up This Morning And Found Myself Dead remains a curiosity at best, and one for Hendrix completists only.