Joni Mitchell Releasing Ottawa Show Recorded By Jimi Hendrix


A big moment in Ottawa music history is being shared with the world.

Joni Mitchell announced Wednesday she is releasing Jimi Hendrix’s recordings of her sets more than 50 years ago at an Ottawa café.

Mitchell was performing at Café Le Hibou on Sussex Drive just north of George Street on March 19, 1968 when Hendrix – fresh from a concert at the Capitol Theatre at the corner of Bank and Queen Streets – showed up.

(The guitar god’s performance at the Capitol earlier that night was recorded and released in 2001 as Live in Ottawa.)

“They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door.’ I went to meet him,” Mitchell, 77, recalled in liner notes for Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), set for release on Oct. 29. “He had a large box. He said to me, ‘My name is Jimi Hendrix. I’m on the same label as you.’ 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.”

Mitchell recalled how Hendrix knelt at the edge of the small stage at Café Le Hibou with a microphone.

“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,” she said. “He beautifully recorded this tape.”

The recording, which was stolen from Hendrix and presumed lost forever, was discovered in a private collection that was donated to Library and Archives Canada and returned to Mitchell.

Hendrix’s recordings of Mitchell at Café Le Hibou include more than 15 tracks, including “Ladies of the Canyon,” “The Pirate of Penance” and “The Dawntreader” (which you can listen to below).

Hendrix wrote about the recordings in his diary. “Went down to the little club to see Joni - fantastic girl with heaven words,” he wrote. “We all go to party … listen to tape and smoked back at hotel.”

On March 20, 1968 he wrote: “We left Ottawa City today - I kissed Joni goodbye.”

Hendrix died 18 months later.

Café Le Hibou closed in 1975 and the Capitol Theatre was demolished in 1970.

Listen to "The Dawntreader" below:

First Set
Night In The City
Come To The Sunshine
Intro to The Pirate Of Penance
The Pirate Of Penance
The Way It Is
Intro to The Dawntreader
The Dawntreader

Second Set
Intro to Nathan La Franeer
Nathan La Franeer
Intro to Dr. Junk
Dr. Junk
Intro to Michael From Mountains
Michael From Mountains
Go Tell The Drummer Man
Intro to I Don’t Know Where I Stand
I Don’t Know Where I Stand
Intro to Sisotowbell Lane
Sisotowbell Lane
Intro to Ladies Of The Canyon
Ladies Of The Canyon

Artist Radio

Listen to music from Joni Mitchell & Jimi Hendrix