Why Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Red House’ Was Cut From U.S. Editions of ‘Are You Experienced’
When Jon Landau weighed in on the debut Jimi Hendrix album in Rolling Stone, he couldn’t praise “Red House” highly enough. Apart from some glowing words for “Hey Joe” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” Landau above all wanted more from where “Red House” came.
“On ‘Red House,’ the only straight blues he has recorded, [Hendrix] establishes himself as an absolute master of that musical form,” Landau wrote in Rolling Stone in November ’67. “This simple little blues is the most exciting cut he’s yet recorded.”
American buyers of Are Your Experienced might not have had any idea what Landau was writing about. On U.S. editions of the album, “Red House” didn’t appear among the 11 tracks. That genuinely rankled Hendrix. Reprise, his U.S. distributor, preferred to include other tracks instead.
Reprise cut signature Jimi Hendrix blues ‘Red House’ in favor of singles
The U.S. and U.K. releases of Are You Experienced had a number of differences, starting with their release dates. Hendrix’s debut LP reached overseas audiences first in May ’67, before the Experience had made its splash in America at Monterey Pop.
But Reprise waited until months after Monterey to release Are You Experienced. The U.S. edition of the album finally hit record stores in the fourth week of August ’67. By then, rock fans paying attention had heard (and/or owned) two Hendrix singles and another two B-sides.
Yet Reprise wasn’t betting on that, and the company ignored the U.K. practice of keeping singles as singles and album tracks as album tracks. So while the Experience’s U.K. label (Track) issued Are You Experienced without “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” Reprise included all three songs on the LP.
That meant Reprise needed to cut other tracks. So the label nixed “Remember,” “Can You See Me,” and “Red House.” That last omission stung Hendrix. He’d developed “Red House” before he’d even launched his solo career in England. Then it didn’t make his debut album.
‘Red House’ remained in Hendrix live sets until the end
While “Red House” predated almost all of Hendrix’s compositions, it also predated most of his recordings. The Experience first tackled the track in late ’66, though Hendrix kept tinkering with the tune into the early months of ’67.
After learning his craft listening to (and playing songs by) the great bluesmen, Hendrix wanted to start strong with his first original in the form. He certainly achieved that with “Red House,” a 12-bar in the traditional blues style. And Hendrix never stopped playing the tune.
If you check the setlist for his final show (September ’70), you find “Red House” in the second half of he performance. U.S. listeners had just seen the track land stateside the previous year. If they hadn’t located a U.K. edition of Are You Experienced, they had to buy Reprise’s Smash Hits (1969) to get their hands on “Red House.”