Shortly before leaving for England to appear at the Isle of Wight Festival, Jimi and the Allen Twins were in Electric Lady Studios working on Hendrixs next studio album. But Heathrow Airport was a long way from West 8th Street in Greenwich Village and the state-of-the-art recording studios Jimi had built (in partnership with Michael Jeffery, who owned 50%) on the site of the Generation club. Jimi spent a fortune transforming the former nightclub into a studio containing the most advanced equipment and now it was his favourite place to record.
Albert Allen (TaharQa Aleem) and Arthur Allen (Tunde Ra Aleem), collectively known as The Twins or The Ghetto Fighters, were old friends from days long before Jimis first transatlantic flight in 1966 and rise to stardom. Since then The Twins were frequently his companions on evening adventures around the Big Apple. They also provided backup vocals on a number of Hendrix classics such as Dolly Dagger and Freedom.
One particular evening (likely on 1 July 1970 or 14 August 1970) while they were working with Jimi on Dolly Dagger, Jimi suggested that they turn their attention to the Mojo Man track and The Twins couldnt have been happier. It had been over a year since they had played it for him in Los Angeles and since time had passed without Jimi mentioning it again, his idea, apparently from out of the blue, might have seemed an unusual one. But The Twins were accustomed to being amazed by Jimi and his abilities to manifest the extraordinary.
A year previously, sometime in mid 1969, The Twins had recorded the basic instrumental tracks for Mojo Man at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with a group of resident studio musicians. They had journeyed there to prepare some tracks they hoped Jimi would like and which would then be included on The Ghetto Fighters album they wanted to put out. Now that Jimi wished to add his guitar solo to the Mojo Man track, its inclusion on The Ghetto Fighters album was assured.
But on 27 August 1970 Jimi left for Europe, met up with his destiny nearly a month later, and thus severed his earthly ties with The Ghetto Fighters project. The Twins felt that without Jimi, The Ghetto Fighters projects direction would have to be re-evaluated and they wisely placed the master tapes in the vault where they remained until 1995. When the rights to Jimis estate were returned to the Hendrix family the Twins sensed it was the right moment to take Mojo Man out of the vault and they remastered it.
At one time the plan was to include Mojo Man on the Power Of Soul tribute CD (released in 2004), but that idea eventually got shelved. So, for the past 35 years Albert and Arthur Allen preserved Mojo Man knowing that one day it would right to release it. Presently they think that now might just be the right time and who would argue with that?!
S1596: Mojo Man Albert Allen (vo), unknown (rhythm gi), unknown (ba), unknown (pi), unknown (dr), unknown (horns), unknown (ta) Jimi (lead gi). Comp: Albert Allen & Arthur Allen. Rec: Fame Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, mid 1969 (basic track); ELL, likely 01-07-70 or 14-08-70 (Jimis lead gi). Engi: unknown (Fame Studios); Eddie (ELL). NOTES: This is an unreleased sample (1:23) of the complete song (3:47). This excerpt was kindly made available to us courtesy of the Aleems and White Jack. Enjoy! NB With thanks to Jess Hansen. PS Due to space restrictions: the sample was removed from our www site, but the full song is supposed to be released on 27 November 2011....
In [June] 1969 Jimi was working on a new group... I was in New York and he was in LA and called me and invited me out. He wanted me to meet this brother by the name of Billy Cox who would eventually be his new bass player.
When I arrived they was doing an interview with Rolling Stone magazine [conducted by Jerry Hopkins on 8 June 1969]. In between the interview, I played a couple of tunes that my brother and I did while we was in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. One was called Jet Set and the other was called Mojo Man. Jimi said he liked them but that was the end of that.
We went back to New York to work on Jimis album down at Electric Lady Studio. We was working on this tune called Dolly Dagger. My brother and I were doing the background vocals. In between the takes, Jimi reminded me of the tune Mojo Man. He said, Remember that song Mojo Man that you played for me when I was out in LA. Can you get it for me? I got some ideas I want to lay down on it.
I said sure, you know. I told him but I dont have the master tape I only have a cassette. He said, Thats okay. We can make a new master, Eddie knows how to do that. Eddie Kramer was working on Dolly Dagger. So I went home, I got the tape and I brought it back. Jimi laid down some fantastic guitar licks on it. And from that point on we called it the New Mojo Man.
Musical Analysis of the Mojo Man [S1596] Excerpt
by Joel. J. Brattin
The structure of the Mojo Man excerpt is simple: after two measures of drums, establishing the rhythm, we hear an eight-measure introduction played by the full band, with rhythm guitar, piano, bass, drums, a horn section (two saxes and trumpet), and tambourine; three eight-bar vocal verses follow. The 1:23 excerpt lacks the last two and a half beats of the third verse; the whole song is 3:47 long. Lead guitar fills by Jimi Hendrix are audible in the places marked with three asterisks.
1st verse: Things***see, electric things yall***
They are burnin all over***all over me***
2nd verse: Voodoo, voodoo***thats what they call it now***yeah***
And you best better***go on and let it be***
3rd verse: But I always been***a gamblin man***
So you know Im gonna***gonna, gonna***gonna take a chance***
Mojo Man is in the key of G. The instrumental introduction and the three vocal verses are each eight measures long, and each eight-bar section is comprised of four two-bar phrases. The two-bar phrases are both statements of the G chord; the third and fourth beats in the first measure of each phrase in the introduction emphasize F, which can be understood either as the root of an F chord or as the 7th of a G7 chord.
Rhythmically, the excerpt shows connections with funk, soul, and R&B; its similar to some of the work Hendrix helped Buddy Miles produce on the Buddy Miles Express Electric Church (Mercury; 1969) album, recorded in early 1969.
Jimis tasteful lead guitar during Mojo Man, heard only in the gaps between vocal phrases, derives from the pentatonic minor blues scale (G, Bb, C, D, F), and was added to the backing track in the summer of 1970. Jimis guitar tone is distorted, but the distortion probably comes from Hendrixs overdriven amplifier; no electronic effects are obvious here.