Skip to main content

Benji Kirkpatrick – Hendrix Songs

Jimi’s back catalogue, reimagined for the banjo.

He may be carrying on the family tradition as a folk musician, but Benji Kirkpatrick (son of John) has a Hendrix itch that he needs to scratch. And while the world is not exactly short of Hendrix covers, his bring a fresh perspective to that overworked catalogue.

Kirkpatrick does this by eschewing guitars. Instead he plays bouzouki, banjo and mandolin in his own style, which takes the songs out of their context and allows him to explore Hendrix’s melodic skills. This side of Hendrix was always apparent on ballads like Angel and The Wind Cries Mary, but the way that Kirkpatrick deconstructs Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Crosstown Traffic and Purple Haze is revealing and his plaintive vocals cast the lyrics in a different light – most notably on Foxy Lady, transformed from a sexually-charged rampage to a bedsit seduction.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.