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Noel Redding- say what?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by catcauphonic, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I saw in another thread awhile back where someone had mentioned Noel Redding & followed it with something to the effect of "despite what some people may think of him". Not sure if they meant as a person or a bassist, but it's been bugging me since in case it's the latter. I mean who could possibly have anything negative to say about him as a bassist??? Of course I can't find the post anymore, and the context gets fuzzier as each day passes. Personally, he's one of the main reasons I picked up the bass in the first place :bassist: Thoughts?
  2. Well, he was a frustrated bass player. Maybe that fit the early Jimi Hendrix Experience sound with busy soundscapes.
  3. I always dug his lines too, catcauphonic. I play bass first and foremost because of the way his lines stood out to me when I listened to the first Experience album as a little kid. His rep on talkbass is tainted because of his (justified) reputation as a guitarist-turned-bass player, as well as the anecdotal reports about Jimi teaching Noel the basslines note-for-note. I accept these as facts, but they in no way detract from my enjoyment and appreciation of his more-than-solid playing on the Experience recordings.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...was never a fan & I definitely prefer Cox w/ Hendrix over Redding.

    That said, I respect Redding's work with The Experience for what it is.
  5. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    Noel Redding went to audition for the New Animals and ended up being offered the job of bassist by Chas Chandler and Jimi Hendrix. He had never played bass before that audition. Redding played most of the "Are You Experienced" album using Chas Chander's bass and didn't even have his own bass until the album had almost been finished.

    I've referred to some of these things on previous posts. But it seems several myths have developed about Noel Redding. For instance, there's the story that the only reason he got the job was because of his hair. It's true Hendrix actually did like Redding's hair. But it would be pretty absurd if Jimi kept him as bassist for three years just because he liked his hair so much. It seems other factors had more prominence. Everyone knew from the beginning that Hendrix himself was the real star. It was, after all called the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As for Noel switching from being a guitarist to a bassist, Chas Chandler told him when he met Noel that after listening to Jimi play, he wouldn't even want to play guitar anymore. That wasn't entirely true. Noel Redding continued to play guitar the rest of his life. But the idea that he was a frustrated guitarist forced to play bass is not based on hard facts at all. In fact, it seems he was glad to have the job of playing bass for Hendrix. To try to prove this, people often point to the fact that Redding played guitar for Fat Mattress as the opening act for the JHE. However, if you examine this further, it does appear Noel looked at playing in Fat Mattress as somewhat of a backup plan. Also, after the JHE and then Fat Mattress broke up, Noel Redding mostly played bass in bands. In fact, before Fat Mattress had even broken up, he was already playing bass for Road. Later on, he played bass on Randy California's Kapt Kopter album under an alias because of contractual obligations. Noel also played bass very briefly for Mountain. He's on the two last songs of the "Mountain Over the Top" album. He is on a few other albums. He is on the "West Cork Tuning" album playing bass to Hendrix songs to some new arrangements (something he said he preferred.) After moving back to Ireland in the early 70s, Noel played for a few years with former Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell in the Noel Redding Band (also known as Clonakilty Cowboys.) I do have to agree with Eric Bell's assessment of the situation. He said that when Noel first approached him about playing, he had assumed it would be something like a blues-rock power trio. Unfortunately, that particular band turned into something quite different. But my main point is Noel Redding was playing bass in all of these bands. If he was such a frustrated guitarist forced to play bass, then why was he playing bass in all these bands? Was it because he wasn't good enough on guitar? Well, I think not. He was just as good on guitar as bass and maybe even better.

    Besides the Hendrix albums, my favorite music with Noel Redding on it has to be the Road albums with Les Sampson on drums and Rod Richards on guitar. Unfortunately, their record company had financial problems and never promoted the band. But this was good (now mostly unknown) music. Well, I should have said Road album rather than albums, since they only recorded one album. Even it only has seven songs, the last being untitled and probably my favorite.

    Time and again, I've seen statements that Noel didn't even play bass at all on the albums, that Hendrix overdubbed the bass. This is simply not true. Noel was playing bass on both the "Are You Experienced" and "Axis: Bold as Love" albums. It wasn't until "Electric Ladyland" that Hendrix started playing bass on albums. Even then, Noel is playing bass on five songs on "Electric Ladyland." I especially like the way he sounds on "Come On (Part One,) and "Burning of the Midnight Lamp." Pretty good bass for a so-called frustrated guitarist.
  6. aprod


    Mar 11, 2008
    Noel Redding was a guitar player who was asked to play bass. He was chosen b/c Jimi dug his hair. I was never impressed with his playing and it was hard to watch his lousy technique. Billy Cox grooved much better with Jimi and/or Buddy Miles and Mitch Mitchell.
  7. I totally disagree.

    There is a precision and timing in Noel's playing that the (great) Billy Cox did not have (IMO).

    Noel and Mitch were 1 single unit. Yes, Mitch had much more freedom than Noel did, but think about this...

    If Jimi told you exactly what to play and when (and from what I can gather, this is the case), then the only thing you have left is your timing and tone and technique. Noel took up the full space of Jimi's limitations, and (IMHO) that made him better than otherwise would have been possible.

    Who is the better bassist? Probably Billy.

    Who defined the tone/rhythm envelope that helped shoot Jimi to the Stars? Most definately Noel.
  8. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    I don't remember the source, but Mitch (who didn't always get along with Noel) even said at one point that Noel's timing was better than his and that Noel was the timekeeper in the band. For those who say keeping time in a band like the JHE would be easy, well I suppose so if you have a really good sense of timing. Noel's timing was superb, as well as the tone and technique which you mentioned. Lately, I've especially enjoyed listening to the 4CD box set "Winterland."
  9. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Wow- thanks for the schooling on Noel's career! I'm definitely going to look up Road, & perhaps some of the other stuff you mentioned if it's not too difficult to find.

    Different strokes for different folks apparently. No matter what the circumstances of the JHE or his technique as a player, I'm still convinced his basslines are stellar ... and his hair is pretty rad too now that I think about it :D
  10. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    For a while, that Road album was hard to find. However, now I think it's readily available. I've listened to it countless times. If you really are serious about hearing more of Noel's bass playing, then you also might want to listen to the Kapt. Kopter and the Fabulous Twirly Birds album by Randy California that I mentioned. Randy had played with Hendrix some before he got famous. Later on, he was in Spirit--"I've Got a Line on You." Noel is just on some of the Kapt Kopter tracks. But if you like early 70s acid rock, it's pretty good, although kind of obscure. Like I said, Noel wasn't using his real name on that album. That album really has its own vibe. If you close your eyes, you'll think it's summer in the 70s.
  11. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I know a dude not too far from here who does all the local record shows & opens his double garage up every summer weekend. It's full of alphabetized boxes of psychedelic, acid, hard, prog, & all other kinds of rock for sale. I haven't been going this year because I've been spending all my spare $$ on bass related stuff, but I bet he'll know a little about those bands, & if he's got any of 'em at least he'll spin them for me. Another one of my ex-record store clerk pals is coming down this week too, so I'll tap the encyclopedic database he's got in his head about them as well. It helps that the stuff is all over YouTube as well :D
  12. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    If you don't find what you want, you can send me a PM and I can probably give you some info on where to look.
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Noel Redding is a perfectly find bass player, and I will always think of him as Bob Dylan's Grandmother.

    If you don't get the reference, you have no business posting on a Noel Redding thread.
  14. Just listened to Hendrix play bass on "All Along the Watchtower" side by side with Redding playing other tunes. Redding walked off during Watchtower, which is how Hendrix ended up playing bass, and wow, he provides the PERFECT complement to Mitchell's drumming. The energy level he envisioned for it requires 2 drummers, and as the vitual 2nd drummer, using the bass as a pitched drum, the momentum builds and builds, and the bass and drum flurries, then the syncopations with Mitchell on the way out, reminiscent of Crosstown Traffic, continues the feeling of a building storm that hangs even after the fade is done. I think this is the best bass line on any Hendrix cut. The tone is very subdued, allowing him to get away with the incessant jackhammering. He definitely understands the bass as its own instrument. We had a bass clarinetist who was struggling with her part on the Rite of Spring, and our conductor, as frustrated as the player, grabbed her horn out of her hands, ripped through the offending lick with ferocious perfection, then handed it back to her, saying "There. That wasn't so hard, was it?" I get that same feeling listening to Hendrix holding down Redding's chair.
  15. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    "For instance, there's the story that the only reason he got the job was because of his hair. It's true Hendrix actually did like Redding's hair. But it would be pretty absurd if Jimi kept him as bassist for three years just because he liked his hair so much."

    "He was chosen b/c Jimi dug his hair."

    Well, that clears THAT up!
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I love his bass playing and I don't care about all of the stories I wasn't there and history branches off in so many different directions with time it's difficult to know what's true? and for those of you who comment on his lousy this and that show some respect unless your career has eclipsed his.
  17. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    FYI: My career hasn't eclipsed Vanilla Ice's(for example) but that doesn't mean I need to show him any respect.
  18. I think you will find showing everybody respect regardless of the accomplishments attached to their name will make life much easier for you.
  19. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    I think Redding had one hand tied behind his back thanks to the equipment of the day. With all the will in the world I doubt many bassists use 100 watt valve amps through shallow seiled 412 cabs. Redding had a horrible grindy tone with no proper bass end. I've heard a lot of Hendrix stuff and Redding was always right up in the guitar space sonically. Not sure how Billy Cox was different in that regard.
  20. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I'm a huge Hendrix fan.
    But as a bassist, Noel never did it for me.
    He never seemed like he was totally into playing bass.
    I seen both Noel and Billy Play with Hendrix live.
    Billy grooved, and his tone was way better than Noel's.

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