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Local history: Jimi's 75th birthday to be marked by Folkestone 'Hendrix Weekend'

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2017 - 11:55 AM

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The 75th anniversary of the birth of World renowned musician Jimi Hendrix is on 27 November 1942 in Seattle, USA.

 

Jimi stayed in the Folkestone area and played at the former Hillside Club, on Dover Road with friend and band member, Folkestone's Noel Redding over the New Year in 1966.



This connection with the iconic musician to Folkestone is being marked a number of events around the town.

Local fan Steve McCarthy; who recently had an exhibition of artwork related to Hendrix at the now closed Googies cafe has been involved with the setting up of several events alongside the 'Folkestone is a Music Town' project.


Steve McCarthy with Hendrix posters  Photo: Ray Duff

The Night Jimi Hendrix blew Folkestone away' Steve MCarthy (2014) Abridged Ray Duff

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played a gig in Folkestone at the Hillside Social Club in Dover Road, by Payers Park, and above the former Empress Ballroom at Christmas 1966. The buildings incidentally were later demolished in the early 1970s forming the Payers Park car park.

 


In his book local musician Noel Redding recalls going to London in September 1966 ostensibly for an audition with Eric Burden who was forming 'The Animals'. The audition didn't go well but he did meet Chas Chandler, whom he knew from touring, and who was looking for musicians to form a new band playing bass.

Having said yes, he was later introduced to Jimi Hendrix and the two became firm friends. Redding though had to return home and actually learn to play 'bass'!

When Mitch Mitchell joined, the power trio was formed. Hendrix wanting a loose format so that he could develop his skills as a virtuoso lead guitarist with controlled backing.

Hendrix himself had been discovered in New York by Linda Richard, Keith Richards and Chas Chandler; playing as a session musician. Chandler asked the self-taught guitarist Hendrix to come to London as he thought he'd be an instant hit.

By early December '66 the newly formed 'Jimi Hendrix Experience' had recorded their first single 'Hey Joe' and made their first appearance on 'Top of the Pops' followed by touring the UK.

As it was Jimi's first UK Christmas and New Year, he wanted to see how the British celebrated. He accepted an invitation to stay with Noel's family at Noel's mother's home in Cliff Road, Seabrook.

This led to a last minute gig to celebrate New Year's Eve and practice a few new songs. Thus Noel arranged for the event at the Hillside Social Club having played their many times before and knew the owner. Further, as Noel turned 21 on Christmas Day 1966 the event was also used to mark this as well.

By all accounts, and despite people's recollections differing; the event was a great success with lots of warmth from the crowd. Many knew Noel from his school days and from playing with such local bands as the 'Lonely Ones' and others with Redding tending to add a few spicy words to other people's songs!

 


As the licensing laws of the day, even on New Years Eve, ended the gig at 1130pm and they were out on the streets soon after. The group returned to Seabrook.

Further, the story goes that Jimi wrote the words to the song 'Fire' at Noel's mother's house that very evening when it was cold. Their dog was called 'Rover'. So the words were penned, 'move over Rover and let Jimi take over, let me stand next to your fire'. Hendrix's long term English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham was also with them.

With the passing of time many local legends have grown up about that New Year's Eve gig.

One of the main stories is that Mitch the drummer spent most of the evening at the bar talking to local girls and drinking. Several local drummers also claimed fame by stating that the played drums with Jimi Hendrix that evening. I am sure that a 16 year old local Roy Adams played with them that evening and joined them on New Years Day for a few beers at the British Lion in the Bayle.

It is certain too that Redding, Hendrix and other members of the band visited the town fairly often thereafter, and there were stories of them playing at various venues. However there is no evidence of such gigs.

The Hillside event has mainly been remembered by locals for the return of Noel Redding, especially as Jimi Hendrix was essentially an unknown at the time.

Epilogue:

However the event is recalled it is surely true that Folkestone was in at the very start of an amazing few years for the Hendrix band.

So successful were they, in just four years, until the untimely death of Jimi in 1970, that their records and songs are still bought, played and enjoyed worldwide in homes, on the radio and on TV.

Events planned

Chambers, Cheriton Place: Launch Party

Thursday 23 November 'Freak Flag' playing 8pm; plus one week exhibition opens.

Space Gallery, 7 Old High St.

Steve McCarthy's 'Rare Hendrix posters' exhibition. From 21-28 November
Friday 24 November: Special Guests talk about Hendrix, plus music.
Sunday 26 November: 'Jim-Jam' event -Free entry

Lime Bar, 46 Tontine St
Saturday November 25th. 6pm Diane Dunn.
8pm Silent Disco - Hey Joes vs Foxy Ladies.

Rum Clinic, 4 West Terrace: Sat 25th November- playing 60's music and serving cocktails.

ARRCC, Tontine St:
Hendrix window art display by members.

Full details are at: www.hendrixweekend.com

and see: www.foundinmusic.com 

Info on: James Marshall (Jimi) Hendrix.

27 November 1942 to 18 September 1970.

Biography, albums and streaming links etc:
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jimi-hendrix-mn0000354105

Fan based discography: http://jimihendrix.wikia.com/wiki/Discography

Info on: Noel Redding

25 December 1945 - 11 May 2003

http://noelredding.net/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noel_Redding

Ray Duff & Steve McCarthy November 2017

 

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© Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2003 - 

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