For newcomers to Jimi's music, here is a quick guide to the BEST albums available today.
The Dagger Records albums are only available by mail order from the official site (see Links).
The deleted albums are quite easy to find second hand.
releases listed here were until recently very widely
available in regular distribution networks.
They can still be found new or second hand on some sites.
I don't encourage or condemn the purchase of these illegal releases. They were in high street shops and
on legitimate web purchase sites, which is why I must detail them in this record guide.
For those already convinced that it is important to build a collection, here are my recommendations:
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE 1966-1969
The greatest and most creative period in Jimi's short career. The ultimate power trio, working in a multitude of styles, with a delicious fusion of blues, rock, R&B, jazz, and pop. Their three brilliant studio albums represent the heart of Jimi's work as a songwriter and revolutionary musician.
Studio albums :
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
The band's debut album, which revolutionised rock music, is perhaps the best first purchase. The current edition includes their first three killer singles "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", and "The Wind Cries Mary" (plus their B-Sides) and not forgetting other standards like "Red House", "Foxy Lady" and "Fire" plus the elaborate "3rd Stone From The Sun", "Love Or Confusion" and the Beatles inspired title track.
AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE
The second album had less innovative punch than the first perhaps, but is full of charm. There are many heavy rock tracks but the album on the whole has a more lyrical and laid-back feel. If there are no hit singles present, there is a cluster of Hendrix classics such as "Little Wing", "If Six Was Nine", "Spanish Castle Magic" and "Castles Made Of Sand" and beauties like "Bold As Love", "Up From The Skies" and "Little Miss Lover".
Jimi's unsurpassed masterpiece. This is one heavy album. Such a rich sound, some superb songs and just beautiful guitar playing. Originally a double vinyl which gave Jimi the chance to indulge in long blues workouts and almost a whole side devoted to the epic journey to Atlantis with "1983". Also present are such classics as "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)", "All Along The Watchtower", "Gypsy Eyes" and "Crosstown Traffic". The greatest rock album of all time.
This double album was so good that it left Jimi little else to say in terms of psychedelic rock. The band split soon after as Jimi veered off towards a funkier R&B feel to his music while pushing towards jazz in parallel.
A superb overview of the bands rich and varied repertoire on these 1967 studio recordings for various BBC radio and television shows.
The best Jimi Hendrix Experience live albums :
LIVE AT THE MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL
An October 2007 re-release remaster of the legendary compact show in the summer of love that trumpeted in the band's US success. A raw energetic sound while Jimi puts on his full stage show, culminating with the famous guitar smasher "Wild Thing".
The concert is also available as part of a various artists 4CD box set (on Rhino/Essential) and was previously available as "Jimi Plays Monterey" and on the unofficial two CD set "No More A Rolling Stone" from Purple Haze records. ).
PARIS 1967 / SAN FRANCISCO 1968 - (Dagger Records)
A single CD with excerpts from two excellent concerts.
LIVE 1968 - Paris/Ottawa - (Dagger)
The Paris show is a great gig, previously seen on "Stages" (see further down). As a bonus there are three songs from the first show at Ottawa.
LIVE IN OTTOWA - (Dagger)
Good raw recording form this Canadien date in early 1968 (2nd show of the night).
MIAMI POP FESTIVAL
The band are on fine form for this classic mid-1968 concert.
San Francisco 1968 and a three night residency at the famous Winterland. The band begin to stretch out on many songs, allowing Jimi to explore his soul through improvisation. This is available as 1CD, 4 CD and 8 LP versions (many tracks were previously issued on "Live At Winterland", "Live At Winterland +3" and "The Jimi Hendrix Concerts").
ALBERT HALL 1969 (Charly - 3 versions & Purple Haze Records) - Unofficial - Deleted
A stunning document of the band in early 1969 at The Royal Albert Hall. Released in many forms over the years, Charly have three versions to choose from: "Experience - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (single CD), "Albert Hall Experience" (double CD) and "The Last Experience" (3 CDs with the entire show and some rather weak bonuses). The unofficial Purple Haze Records also released an excellent double CD with the whole show (plus excellent soundcheck bonuses) as "An Evening With The Jimi Hendrix Experience".
This show is lined up for a top quality Sony CD and a DVD once the legal and production arguments are settled!
THE LA FORUM CONCERT- (Radioactive & Burning Airlines) - Unofficial - Deleted
April 1969, from the final American tour by The Experience.
Also included in the 90's box set"Lifelines" (in fact a radio documentary).
After the whole psychedelic trip of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, an exhausted Hendrix took time off to recover and restructure his life and music with the help of old and new friends, with some good results which are highlighted on these three live albums :
LIVE AT WOODSTOCK
Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, or Jimi on stage with five other musicians (still including Mitch Mitchell of The Experience) in a relaxed and improvisational mood at the close of the famous festival. A bit tatty round the edges but with some impressive moments along the way, including the legendary performance of "The Star Spangled Banner".
A BAND OF GYPSYS
These recordings were selected by Jimi himself, from concerts that were organized in order to settle a legal battle. He kept Billy Cox from the Woodstock band and brought in the ex-Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles. This is perhaps the most untypical Hendrix album, where funky soul meets hard rock. Jimi was on awesome form, notably on the historic "Machine Gun". (More tracks from these Band Of Gypsys concerts are on the following album and the weaker "Live At The Fillmore East").
MACHINE GUN - FIllmore East 31/12/1969
The excellent first set by the short-lived Band Of Gypsys from the two nights at the famous venue. No songs from The Experience's core albums and heavy with blues and R'n'B.
No songs here are from Jimi's own Band Of Gypsys live album.
THE FINAL CHAPTER - 1970
Jimi laboured to complete a new album of his new brand of soul-tinged rock in 1970, but ran out of time.
Studio albums :
CRY OF LOVE - RAINBOW BRIDGE
A number of songs that Jimi had left in the can for his 4th studio album were released shortly after his death on these two superb albums.
A few previously unreleased Experience songs were included for good measure.
The 1969-70 recordings are quite different from the Experience-era studio work, with Jimi leaning away from blues towards R&B with a strong rock base.
Essential purchases (re-released in 2014) which are much better than the the poorly mastered "First Rays Of The Rising Sun" which featured all the "Cry Of Love" tracks and many from "Rainbow Bridge" and the following early 70s album.
WAR HEROES (deleted)
A third collection of superb left-over studio tracks and as essential as the two above releases. The key tracks reappeared spread across "First rays Of The New Rising Sun", "South Saturn Delta" and in the purple box set.
Live albums :
LIVE AT BERKELEY - 2nd Show
The second show of the night, where Jimi sticks close to the old Experience repertoire. The newer songs were still being constructed in the studio and thus less affirmed.
LIVE AT BERKELEY - 1st Show -(Radioactive) - Unofficial - Deleted
The early evening show this time. Some stunning moments here, notably the now legendary versions of "Johnny B. Goode" and "Hear My train a Comin".
OTHER ARCHIVE RECORDINGS
Superb tracks from old deleted releases and from the vault, covering all periods :
NINE TO THE UNIVERSE -(Reprise) - Deleted
This eighties album gathered together some superb jazzy-bluesy studio jams. Some of it turned more recently (unedited) on "Hear My Music"and the somewhat disappointing "West Coast Seattle Boy" rarities box set .
SOUTH SATURN DELTA
After "First Rays", more highly finished left overs (from The Experience epoch also) plus some raw studio outtakes.
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
A superb luxury 4 CD collection of demos, outtakes, alternate mixes, old rarities and live tracks.
A nice thematic collection of acoustic, electric, studio and live recordings covering all periods of his successful years.
MARTIN SCORCESE PRESENTS THE BLUES
A few rarities (some from the above 4 CD set) plus some great oldies on another impressive blues compilation.
HEAR MY MUSIC -(Dagger)
Studio outtakes again, featuring two unedited jams from the legendary (and deleted) "Nine To The Universe" album and some new goodies.
BURNING DESIRE -(Dagger)the
Band Of Gypsys jamming in the studio. More satisfying than the other Dagger releases featuring the band.
The best compilations
THE ESSENTIAL JIMI HENDRIX
Released in the 80s as a double vinyl plus a second single LP, this was a fine collection which came out later as a double CD.
A 1998 remastering of tracks for this neat single CD compilation.
A double CD collection with one CD studio and one live. Some studio tracks are alternate takes and rarities.
See "Compilations" section.
HENDRIX IN THE WEST
This early seventies album is the one to have but the modified/expanded 2011 version is still a great collection of performances from 1969-1970.
SOUND TRACK RECORDINGS FROM THE FILM "JIMI HENDRIX" - Deleted
Another good seventies release (also on CD later) to accompany the cinema release. A double vinyl "best of" live.
THE JIMI HENDRIX CONCERTS - Deleted
Six Winterland tracks here (five of which weren't on "Live At Winterland") alongside other great Experience (and later) performances.
STAGES - Deleted
A four CD box with three Experience concerts (Stockholm 67, Paris 68, San Diego 69) plus Jimi on his comeback tour of the states at the Atlanta Pop Festival in July 1970.
The Paris show was re-released on Dagger in 2008 and the Atlanta show appeared in more complete form in as Freedom in 2015.
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