Electric Ladyland Sessions: May 1968
RECORD PLANT, NEW YORK, MAY 1, 1968
1. House Burning Down (3) (alternate mix)
2. House Burning Down (2) (acetate mix)
3. House Burning Down (4) (official mono reduction)
4. House Burning Down (1) (official stereo)
5. Gypsy Eyes (alternate mix, eBay sampler, incomplete)
6. Gypsy Eyes (2) (alternate mix and guitar; includes false start)
7. Gypsy Eyes (13) (boxset alternate mix)
8. Gypsy Eyes (14) (official mono reduction)
9. Gypsy Eyes (1) (official stereo)
RECORD PLANT, NEW YORK, MAY 2, 1968
10. Rock and Roll Jam
11. 3 Little Bears (8) (original drums)
12. 3 Little Bears (3) (more complete, alternate mix)
13. 3 Little Bears (4) / South Saturn Delta
1. 3 Little Bears (5) / South Saturn Delta (alt. mix, vocals high)
2. 3 Little Bears (1) (official Polydor mix)
3. 3 Little Bears (2) (official Reprise mix)
4. South Saturn Delta (1) (original tracks)
5. South Saturn Delta (9) (alt. mix with reverb, different horns)
6. South Saturn Delta (2) (official Lifelines mix, with horns, incomplete)
7. South Saturn Delta (7) (longer alt. EH mix, with horns)
8. Cherokee Mist (1)
9. Cherokee Mist (1) (edited alternate mix)
10. Cherokee Mist (1) (2nd alternate mix)
11. Cherokee Mist (1) (official incomplete mix, "Lifelines")
RECORD PLANT, NEW YORK, MAY 3, 1968
1-7. Voodoo Chile (1-5,8) (full session)
8. Voodoo Chile (2) (alternate mix)
9. Voodoo Chile (6) (official mix of (8))
10. Voodoo Chile (12) (official composite)
1. Voodoo Chile (13) (longer alternate mix of composite)
2-16. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1-21) (full session, mono)
17. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (17) (official alternate mix of (16))
18. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (90) (official mono reduction of (22))
19. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (22) (official stereo mix of (21))
RECORD PLANT, NEW YORK, MAY 1968
20. Yes I Need Someone (mono mix)
21. Let Me Stay (mono mix)
House Burning Down (3) is an alternate mix of the track with different panning.
House Burning Down (2) is the alternate mix from acetate. It’s in much better shape here than on most previous copies, with a lot of manual de-clicking having been done. There’s still a great deal of background noise remaining, but it’s more listenable now. Removing all the noise would likely result in removing all the music too.
House Burning Down (4), Gypsy Eyes (14), and Voodoo Child (SR) (90) are all simple fold-downs of the official stereo mixes. As with most other mono mixes of the ELL tracks, they aren’t studio remixes. The results are often odd-sounding as the stereo mixes weren’t intended to be reduced to mono. These were taken from the Brazilian 1-LP mono release of ELL, and are noisier than I’d like; hard to find in better condition though. They can always be generated in excellent quality from the stereo CD releases, but I wanted to have the original mono sources here.
The short alternate mono mix (1:08) of Gypsy Eyes is from the sampler that was available with an eBay listing from March 2008. It also has some different guitar than appears on the other mixes. Quality is poor; this track came from a lossy file, and there were messy static pops throughout. These were mostly removed but some little bits of noise remain due to the extended nature of the pops. There were also several cuts in the audio near the start; these are still there, although silent gaps have been added at the edit points to preserve the rhythm of the track.
3 Little Bears (8) was listed by Jimpress as an alternate mix of (1) with echo; however, the echo is the least interesting aspect of it. It appears to be the original track before final guitar overdubs, featuring what is probably the original drum track; all other mixes have Mitch’s replacement drum track. I believe the recently released 3rd edition of Ben Franklin mentions these differences also.
The other mixes of this track are all somewhat different, so they are all included.
(4) has lead guitar nearly central in the mix.
(5) is nearly mono, with vocal isolation for the first 4:16.
(3) has the cowbell much more to the front.
The official mixes of this track, Polydor mix (1) and Reprise mix (2), are substantially different. (2) has a few vocals censored, but in fact the entire mix is different; it’s not just a case of removing a few vocal bits. The Polydor mix is much wider stereo, and the rhythm guitar is in different places in the two mixes. Also, (2) fades out whereas (1) comes to a sudden stop, but continues a second or two longer.
South Saturn Delta (2,7,9) add extensive overdubs to the original track (1), including guitar and horns, those overdubs having been recorded the following month. (9) uses different horn and guitar overdubs.
Cherokee Mist is available in several different mixes which aren't indexed separately by Jimpress. The edited mix (6:08) has a section in the middle removed, and has guitar tracks central and to the left, although the guitar to the left splits to both channels at times. The other two mixes are complete. The first of these is similar to the edited mix, but has somewhat louder drums and moves the central guitar part to the right channel. The other complete mix has guitar placement similar to the edited mix, but has drums mixed very loud and very up-front. There are also bursts of amplifier hum during the break between the first and second parts of this track (around the 4-min mark) that are not on the other two mixes.
There are probably other slightly different permutations of this track out there. I know of one that has some of the amplifier hum bursts, but not the loud drums. But it's edited in the middle and is essentially mono, so it's not included.
Finally, there is the very incomplete mix from Lifelines, that is similar to the complete mix with guitars left and right (although with the channels reversed) but has the drums dry, with no reverb added. The two short parts without voiceover are included here, since it's the only official outing. This track is surely destined for official release at some point.
Voodoo Chile (1-5,8) is here in slightly better quality than most previous outings. There are a couple of tape stops near the start of (2), which are not present in the following alternate mix (q.v.). Comparison to that uninterrupted mix shows that these cuts are too long; they were shortened here so that their duration equals the duration of the missing music.
An alternate mix of Voodoo Chile (2) is available from the "Echo Tape". Although missing the start, this lacks some of the cuts present in the other mix. It's also truly a different mix (aside from the added reverb) since the instruments are placed differently and their levels are quite different.
Voodoo Chile (7) is not included on this set. This only appeared on an old Living Legend bootleg from 1989. It’s described by both UV and Jimpress as an alternate mix with hardly any crowd noise. It turns out that it’s identical to the official mix; the only difference is that the start and end of the track are cut, which are the parts that contain most of the crowd noise. The remaining places in the song where the crowd comes up are the same as on the official mix. (The recently released 3rd edition of Ben Franklin has corrected the error by deleting this number.)
Voodoo Chile (12) is the official composite from :Blues. It consists of the first 2:00 from the "broken string" take (4), a short 0:25 vocal piece from the official version, and finally most of the last 6:50 of take (2). It fades out 0:24 before the end of (2).
Voodoo Chile (13) is the same composite as (12), but in a somewhat different mix, with instruments are in different positions. While (12) has guitar right and drums central, (13) has guitar central and drums right, and there's more reverb on (12). (13) also runs complete to the end of take (2) rather than fading early.
Another composite, Voodoo Chile (9), is not included in this set. It's a similar composite to (12) and (13) except that it lacks the short middle 0:25 portion from the official track. It consists of the first 2:08 of (4) and the last 6:43 of (2). The edit between the two parts is crude, and it’s likely that this is just an amateur effort. In addition, the mix is the same as that of the collector's session tape, so it's likely that it was made by just taking parts from that. Since there's nothing new, and it's probably not an official mix, it's not included here.
Voodoo Child (SR) (1-3, 5-16, 18-21) is the full circulating session in a dry mono mix, here in slightly better quality than most previous appearances. (17) is the official mix of (16) taken from "Lifelines".
Finally, there are two tracks by Eire Apparent, taken in their straight mono mixes from the Buddah promo 45. These tracks were included in the TTG collection, and they are generally attributed to those sessions. However, evidence argues for them originating from the May Record Plant sessions. It's interesting to note that these two tracks are essentially mono on the Eire Apparent LP; some fake stereo effects are added, but they are not true stereo. If these tracks were all recorded at TTG, surely they would all appear in stereo mixes on the album.
A critical piece of evidence is more persuasive. This 45 has been found on a radio station playlist from September 1968. This would certainly rule out TTG as the source of these two tracks. What other dates are possible? Photos exist of Jimi and Mick Cox in the Record Plant studios in May 1968 (one of these appears in UniVibes). This makes May a likely date for the recording of these two tracks. This still doesn't explain why the cuts are only available in mono, but the mono does indicate a different history for these two songs and separates them from the other tracks on the album. It's also possible that other songs on the album were recorded earlier than TTG, but lacking evidence of this these are the only two that are included here.