Happy Birthday Jack Casady: Recording ‘Voodoo Chile’ With Jimi Hendrix

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Bassist Jack Casady was born on this date in Washington D.C. in 1944. Celebrating his 72nd birthday, he remains active alongside his Jefferson Airplane band mate Jorma Kaukonen performing regularly as a member of Hot Tuna. Casady’s distinct tone helped solidify the early psychedelic rock created by Jefferson Airplane in the early 1960s, but it’s another recording the master bassist was part of in 1968 that’s being examined in honor of his birthday today.

Late legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix was recording what would become the acclaimed Electric Ladyland album at the Record Plant recording studios in New York City in May 1968. After a night out in NYC going to a nearby club, Hendrix rounded up several musicians to accompany him back to the studio for an unplanned jam session. Hendrix had brought Casady to play bass as well as Steve Winwood of Traffic to play organ and with guitarist Larry Coryell and regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell also contributing. After a (disputed) number of takes, the result was the 15-minute “Voodoo Chile” which helped anchor the iconic album.

Below is a video of behind-the-scenes footage from the “Voodoo Chile” recording in 1968 featuring Casady alongside Hendrix and the all-star ensemble. The discussion regarding Casady’s contribution starts around the 3:00 mark in the clip that also touches on the follow-up song “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” watch:

Here’s the final recording as it appears on Electric Ladyland followed by an alternative version, dubbed “Voodoo Chile Blues,” culled from the memorable recording session:

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