Music: Jimi Hendrix
Original Artist: Band of Gypsys
Original Album: Band of Gypsys (1970)
Historian: Kazimierz O. Wrzeszczynski
Last Update: 2013-03-18
"Who Knows" is best known as the first track on the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys. The Band of Gypsys trio was made up of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, and other than a short benefit performance later in January of 1970, Band of Gypsys made its only public appearances over a four-show debut at the Fillmore East on Dec. 31, 1969 and Jan. 1, 1970. The history and recordings of those New Year’s Eve performances have been ideally preserved and can be relived with two wonderful recent releases, the remastered original Band of Gypsys in 1997, and Live at the Fillmore East in 1999. “Who Knows” was played a couple of times over those performances but its identity comes from the nine-minute, Buddy Miles-improvised scat version that is found on the album Band of Gypsys. Trey reveals his love for the Band of Gypsys album and how it's influenced his sound in a wonderful interview describing his rig.
This familiar version of “Who Knows” emerges out of Phish’s opening number “Chalk Dust Torture” on 8/9/93 in Toronto. In the middle of the “Chalk Dust” jam Trey begins to play the opening chords of “Who Knows,” and instead of teasing around this melody Fish slows the drum beat and we hear Trey singing the so-called first verse of “You don’t know, like I know.” The very quick rendition finishes up with Trey exactly mimicking the Buddy Miles unique “Who Knows” scat and Fish yelling out his support and approval in the background. The “Who Knows” jam was played as the second set opener during the well circulated 10/26/89 Wetlands, New York City appearance, and even though the song is often mislabeled as “Good Morning Little School Girl” you can hear a faint Trey yelling “I Don’t Know” in the background almost out of the microphone’s range. Also be sure to check the “Who Knows” tease in the 7/6/94 “Tweezer.”