Joni Mitchell‘s previously unreleased live performance of ‘The Dawntreader’, recorded by Jimi Hendrix in 1968, has been unearthed. The track will appear on the upcoming compilation box set Joni Mitchell Archives Vol.2: The Repise Years (1968-71), which is out October 29 on Rhino. Listen to the performance below.
The recording is taken from one of two sets Joni Mitchell played at Café Le Hibou in Ottawa on March 19, 1968. Not long before Mitchell was about to take the stage, Hendrix was just finishing his second sold-out show of the night at the Capitol Theater. In his diary, Hendrix wrote, “Talked with Joni Mitchell on the phone. I think I’ll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood)… hmmm… can’t find any wood… everything’s plastic.” He did end up capturing Mitchell’s set on his reel-to-reel recorder, kneeling at the front of the stage, unnoticed by most. In a subsequent diary entry, he called Mitchell a “fantastic girl with heaven words.”
In the LP’s liner notes, Mitchell recalls: “They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door.’ I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, ‘My name is Jimi Hendrix. I’m on the same label as you. Reprise Records.’ We were both signed about the same time. He said, ‘I’d like to record your show. Do you mind?’ I said, ‘no, not at all.’ There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box.”
She continued: “The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet. All during the show, he kept twisting knobs. He was engineering it, I don’t know what he was controlling, volume? He was watching the needles or something, messing with knobs. He beautifully recorded this tape. Of course I played part of the show to him. He was right below me.”