9.23-GYPSY EYES (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix



        Well I realize
        That I've been hypnotized.

        I love your gypsy eyes. (2x)

Way up in my tree I'm sitting by my fire
Wondering where in this world might you be
And knowing all the time you're still roaming in the countryside.
Do you still think about me?

Well I walked right on to your rebel roadside
The one that rambles on for a million miles.
Yes I walk down this road searching for your love and ah my soul too
But when I find ya I ain't gonna let go.

I remember the first time I saw you.
The tears in your eyes look like they was trying to say
Oh little boy you know I could love you
But first I must make my get away.
Two strange men fighting to the death over me today.
I'll try to meet cha by the old highway.


        Well I realize
        That I've been hypnotized,

        I love your gypsy eyes. (4x)


I've been searching so long my feet have made me lose the battle.
Down against the road my weary knees they got me.
Off to the side I fall but I hear a sweet call--
My Gypsy Eyes is coming and I've been saved.
Oh I've been saved! That's why I love you!


Gypsy Eyes was reportedly (according to songfacts) composed for Jimi Hendrix’ mother, and if so, would stand comparison with John Lennon’s Julia written and recorded the same year for the Beatles’ White Album. Though Lennon’s song is more sentimental and poetic (and not psychedelic), both songs make coherent an inchoate yearning for a missing woman who had a child’s complete devotion. In form, Gypsy Eyes also bears comparison with another “field holler” named My Wild Love that was released by the Doors on their 1968 album Waiting for the Sun. The Doors’ song more closely resembles a work song, and is entirely composed of voices as one might hear among laborers out in the field. The effect has nothing to do with psychedelia. Hendrix puts a lot more emphasis on instrumentation, and the manner of the drum beat, so similar to hands clapping or feet stomping, sounds like a “ring shout”. Whereas John Lennon seems to remember his mother as some sort of Venus with “seashell eyes”, Hendrix paints his mother as far more earthy, someone men fight over, and perhaps brag about like Jim Morrison does in My Wild Love. Despite the unruly behavior of Gypsy Eyes, she has the power to save her child from his weary search for love.

In my reading, Gypsy Eyes has often been cited as an example of Jimi Hendrix’ perfectionism. It is reported that he and drummer Mitch Mitchell went through about fifty recordings of the song before Hendrix was satisfied, and that bass player Noel Redding was so put out with the multiple takes he (and the group’s producer Chas Chandler) quit the entire Electric Ladyland project. Hendrix plays the bass himself on Gypsy Eyes, and recruited friends to help him with some of the other cuts. Matthew Greenwald in allmusic describes what is going on in Gypsy Eyes better than I could: “The song is loaded with a collection of riffs, and Hendrix neatly compiles them together in one song. Utilizing the recording studio as an instrument, Hendrix's overdubbing technique reaches an early peak here, as the multiple guitar parts swirl around each other in spectacular fashion. In addition, the flanging/phasing effects are also a part of the arrangement, and by proxy the song itself.”