When Joni Mitchell performed a set at Le Hibou Coffee House in Ottawa, Ontario on 19 March, 1968, there was a notable musician watching in the audience. And recording her; no less than Jimi Hendrix. Now the two-set tape Jimi recording has been recovered and will be released as part of the Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) collection later this year.
Hendrix was in the city to play at the Capitol theatre and had met the Canadian singer-songwriter earlier on the day of her set. "Talked with Joni Mitchell on the phone," he wrote in his diary. "I think I’ll record her tonight with my excellent tape recorder (knock on wood) ... hmmm ... can’t find any wood ... everything’s plastic.”
After finishing his own show, Hendrix kept to his word and brought his reel-to-reel recorder to Mitchell's late night performance – taking place shortly before the release of her debut album, Song To A Seagull. He was understandably impressed by her performance, writing that she was “fantastic girl with heaven words.”
“They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door,'" Mitchell recalls in the liner notes for Archives Vol. 2. "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."
The tapes were stolen shortly after the performance and believed to be lost until they were unexpectedly donated from a private collection to the Library And Archives Of Canada. They were then returned to Mitchell. You can hear The Dawntreader performance Hendrix recorded above.