Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was developed from Voodoo Chile, recorded May 2, 1968, during a studio jam with Steve Winwood on organ and Jack Casady on bass.
The next day, Hendrix returned to the studio with Redding and Mitchell for the filming of a short documentary by ABC television. Noel Redding explained, “We learned that song in the studio … They had the cameras rolling on us as we played it”. Hendrix added,
Someone was filming when we started doing [Voodoo Child]. We did that about three times because they wanted to film us in the studio, to make us—’Make it look like you’re recording, boys’—one of them scenes, you know, so, ‘OK, let’s play this in E, a-one, a-two, a-three’, and then we went into ‘Voodoo Child’.
According to Hendrix biographer Steven Roby, eight takes of the song were recorded by Hendrix, Redding, and Mitchell, and the final one was chosen as the master, which appeared on Electric Ladyland. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) became a staple of Hendrix’s concert performances and would vary in length from seven to eighteen minutes. Recordings from the Winterland Ballroom, Royal Albert Hall, Woodstock, and the Fillmore East were later released on The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Hendrix in the West, Woodstock, and Live at the Fillmore East. Many more recordings have also been issued.
In an AllMusic song review, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was described as a perfect example of how Hendrix took the Delta blues form and not only psychedelicized it, but cast an even more powerful spell by delivering the lyric in the voice of a voodoo priest. Also noted is Hendrix’s guitar work: Opening with a simple riff on the wah-wah pedal, the song explodes into full sonic force, the guitarist hitting the crunching chords and taking the astral-inspired leads for which he became infamous. The real guitar explorations happen midway through the song, while the basic, thundering riff is unrelenting. Rolling Stone magazine included the song at number 102 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.