Friday, July 11, 2008

by Brian Andrew Marek #17

- The Three Hendri -
These days, a saturated market means Elvis impersonators need a gimmick, hence the midget Elvis, the Mexican Elvis, the nudist Elvis - for all I know, there's an Amish Elvis out there. A similar thing happened in the early '70's, when Jimi Hendrix was the dead man everybody wanted to be. Thus, I give you the Female Hendrix, the Hoser Hendrix and the Hendrix with the Pimp Name - collectively, I call them the Three Hendri.

- The Female Hendrix -
- Char Vinnedge of Billy Cox's Nitro Function -
Billy Cox's Nitro Function suffered from Spencer Davis Group syndrome, where the ostensible titular head of the band actually plays more of a support role. In this particular case, it probably seemed necessary to sign and/or market the band, as Mr. Cox was, of course, a long time friend of Jimi Hendrix who participated in the Band of Gypsys and other post-Experience Hendrix projects. The real musical focal point of the group, however, was guitarist/vocalist Char Vinnedge, formerly of the reportedly excellent all-girl Chicago band the Luv'd Ones. Her distaff tones do much to give this album a unique flavor, referencing Jimi without complete apeing him.

"Billy Cox's Nitro Function" 1972

- The Hoser Hendrix -
- Frank Marino of Mahogany Rush -
One day when I'm old and grey and feeble, I'm gonna open one of those cheap roadside attraction museums, and mine is going to be dedicated to the urban legends and tall tales of rock 'n' roll. Somewhere amongst exhibits like The Ham Sandwich That Killed Mama Cass, Morrison's "Little Jim" Live in Miami and The Rod Stewart Stomach Pump will be a mural depicting Frank Marino in a drug-induced coma being taught guitar by the ghost of Jimi Hendrix. To put it another way, this well-worn version of Marino's story is complete balderdash, but it's too imbedded into the rock 'n' roll consciousness to ever really go away.

But even the hard facts are pretty amazing: Canadian drug enthusiast Frank Marino taught himself how to play guitar while in the hospital (but not in a coma) recovering from a bad trip and went on to record the first Mahogany Rush album at the tender age of 16! Marino managed to make a long career out of his Hendrix obsessions, but I give the nod to the debut simply because later offerings were produced far too slickly.

Mahogany Rush "Maxoom" 1973

- The Hendrix with the Pimp Name -
- Velvert Turner of Velvert Turner Group -
"Of the various myths and legends that have sprung up since Jimi Hendrix's death in 1970, one of the most enigmatic and enduring concerns his relationship with Velvert Turner, the New York born axeman who claimed both to be friend and protege of the late guitarist. More evidence comes courtesy of ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd, who not only listened to a lengthy telephone conversation between the pair when the Hendrix was playing in New York, but generally hung out with Turner at the time he was receiving lessons from Hendrix. Commenting on this, Lloyd says "They used to use a large mirror for the lessons because Jimi was left handed and Velvert was not. Velvert used to come to my house after the lessons and show me what Jimi had taught him" Supported by Prescott Niles (later to form The Knack) and Tim McGovern, both of whom cropped up on Randy California's Kapt Kopter album, Turner produced two different musical versions of his album with the same sleeve and catalogue number, distinguishing them only by their matrix numbers. This, then, is the "heavier" version (matrix no. 16741) with crazed, heavy solo guitar overdubs rather than the "soul" version (matrix no. 16951) with the second lead guitar overdubs removed. The Velert Turner album may be just another small piece in the Hendrix jigsaw, but it also happens to be a pretty good guitar album too."

"Velvert Turner Group" 1972



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks interesting, but the link says "bad referrer." Continued thanks for all the good stuff you post here.

13 July, 2008 02:39  
Anonymous Brian Andrew Marek said...

Okay, here's a new link...

I may just start uploading all this stuff myself even if it's already out there. I'm sick of dead links and "protected" links (what is being protected and why?) and password-encoded zip files (again, why all this protection?). I really don't understand some people's behavior in this world of music trading.

13 July, 2008 07:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Char Vinnedge, may you rest in peace my friend.
I was a Booking Agent in the Midwest in the 60’s and 70's and started booking the Luv'd Ones into some weekly Club Gigs. It was evident that Char wasn't really into the whole "Girl Band" image gimmick so I encouraged her to explore her amazing playing, writing and singing talent. Within a few months I helped reshape the band and I renamed her the "Electric Lady" and we started booking her as a one night attraction instead of the normal 5 and 6 nights a week gigs. It wasn't really a Hendrix Tribute show although she did several of his songs to get the audience’s attention which earned her the right to then play more of her originals. I had a dear friend (B.B. Cunningham Jr.) who was now an Engineer in Nashville so I took Char and her Band there and cut a Demo. We then took the Demo to Billy Cox who had been Jimi's bassist. He loved it and put us in contact with Lelan Rogers who was Kenny's brother. He immediately signed her to a Record deal and we went back in the Studio, this time with Billy on Bass and Tarp, a great session Drummer. We cut an entire Album of material in record time. My goal was to "break" her out of England similar to Jimi. We got in contact with PYE Records in the UK who signed her immediately once they heard the Album. It also helped that Billy was extremely popular over there. Since their tour of Europe wouldn't start for about 6 months, I took Char and her regular Band to a small Club in Ohio that was only open on the weekends. The owner allowed us to rehearse all week and then she played on Friday and Saturday. After her new Show was ready, I contacted a friend who worked for the William Morris Agency which at that time was one of the largest in the World. He agreed to sign her and put her on tour opening for B.B. King and Ted Nugent among others. Unfortunately within a few weeks she started to change her Set of Songs around and I started getting complaints from the Agency and the Promoters. When I tried to convince to stay on the path that we had worked our butts off to get going, she felt that she knew better and asked me to let her out of our Management Contract. Even though I had broke her out of the Girl Band nightmare she had been in for years, formed a new Group around her which allowed her to start to demonstrate the great raw talent she had, renamed her the "Electric Lady", paid to cut her Demo, hooked her up with Billy Cox, got her a Record deal with Lelan and PYE, got her signed to William Morris, I stepped aside and allowed her to chart her own course. Unfortunately we lost contact however the as I've heard through the years, everything fell apart and evidently went down hill fast after we parted ways. It was a sad time for me when I later learned about her death. The only bright spot for me is knowing that she is now with one of her Heros. Wow, would I love to hear the Jam Sessions with her and Jimi up there.
Stan Billue

15 October, 2010 10:59  

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