"Woman, child, man and wife, the best love to have is the love of life"
Released 1990 - 1999
LIFELINES - THE JIMI HENDRIX STORY
Released 1990 (Reprise)
Disc 1 - I Don't Live Today (L. A. Forum, Apr 26, 1969), Cherokee Mist (Home Demo, early 1968, NYC), Testify (with Isley Brothers, 1964), Lawdy Miss Clawdy (with Little Richard, 1964), I'm A Man (with Curtis Knight and the Squires, 1964), Like A Rolling Stone (Generation Club, NYC, Apr mid, 1968), Red House (L'Olympia, Paris, Oct 9, 1967), Hey Joe, Hoochie Koochie Man ("Rhythm and Blues" BBC, Oct 17, 1967), Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady ("Saturday Club" BBC, Feb 13, 1967)
Disc 2 - Are You Experienced, Third Stone From The Sun, Rock Me Baby ("Monterey), Mister Bad Luck (Olympic Sound Studios, London, May 4 1967), Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Spanish Castle Magic, Bold As Love, One Rainy Wish (alternate mix), Little Wing, Drivin' South ("Top Gear", Oct 6, 1967), The Things I Used To Do (Record Plant, NYC, May 15, 1969, with Johnny Winter), All Along The Watchtower, Drifter's Escape (alternate mix), Cherokee Mist (Record Plant, NYC, May 2, 1968), Voodoo Chile (Home Demo, early 1968, NYC), Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Take Four), 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) (alternate version)Disc 3 - Voodoo Chile, Come On (part 1) (alternate take), Manic Depression (Winterland Arena, Oct 12, 1968 (2nd show), Machine Gun (Fillmore East, Dec 31, 1969 (2nd show), Room Full Of Mirrors (alternate mix), Angel (Home Demo, early 1968, NYC), Rainy Day Shuffle (Record Plant, NYC, June 10, 1968), Valleys Of Neptune (Electric Lady Studios, NYC, Jan, 1970/Hit Factory, NYC, Sept, 1969), Send My Love To Linda (Electric Lady Studios, NYC, Aug, 1970), South Saturn Delta (Record Plant, NYC, June 14, 1968), Dolly Dagger (Isle Of Wight Festival, Aug 30, 1970), Night Bird Flying, Hear My Train A Comin' (BBC Radio)
Disc 4 - Tax Free / Red House* / Spanish Castle Magic / The Star-Spangled Banner / Purple Haze / I Don't Live Today / Voodoo Chile / Sunshine Of Your Love
The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded live at the L.A. Forum; Los Angeles, CA 4-26-69.
*Previously on "Red House - Variations on a theme"
A re-release of "Live And Unreleased -The Radio Show" (see 80s Studio releases), this mainly studio collection included a rare fourth live CD (with no DJ chat and interviews on this disc) featuring The Experience at the LA Forum 26/04/69. - See "Posthumous Live Releases - 90s" for the review.
As said previously, only the tracks in bold are more or less complete. Pretty well all the songs were re-released in complete form over the years.
The box is all stacked typo with luxury gold leaf and the CDs themselves are decked out with a repeated Golden Gate Park San Francisco 1967 photo again (like on "Radio One"). That photo is out of place on the LA Forum 69 disc - 3/10
This US 10 track promotional sampler CD was distributed to the press and radio stations.
1. Jimi Hendrix Narration
2. Hey Joe (Studio 1966)
3. I'm A Man (Live 1965)
4. Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton Narration/ Red House (Live 1967)
5. Jimi Hendrix Narration/Drivin South (Studio 1967)
6. The Things That I Used To Do (Studio 1969)
7. 1983 ( A Merman I Should Turn To Be) (Studio 1968 Alternate mix)
8. Purple Haze (Live The Forum 1969)
9. Rainy Day Shuffle (studio 1968)
10. Angel (Home Demo 1968)
Released 1991 (Polydor)
Another box set but this time simply a 4 CD re-release pack of "Are You Experienced", "Axis: Bold Of Love", "Electric Ladyland" and "Cry Of Love" (the latter was soon to be axed from the catalogue in favour of the album Voodoo Soup (WTF!!?).
Released at the same time was a sister box titled Footlights (see Live albums 90s section).
> Thanks to Bill for the photo!
"All Along The Watchtower"/"Come On (Part One" (alternate take)/"Star Spangled Banner"
Released 1991 (Polydor France)
This three track CD single appeared in France with an alternate take of "Come On (Part One)" ! It is not the aborted version that appeared on "Lifelines" but a separate complete take of the song. It has not reappeared officially since.
That "Star Spangled Banner" is the studio version which first saw the light of day on "Rainbow Bridge" (the previous year Alan Douglas had included it on the "Cornerstones" compilation and today it resides on the MCA 2000 box set).
< This 1970 French (Barclay) single featured "Come On (Part 1)" on the B-side. It was the same as the Ladyland version but in a slightly different mix (bass more upfront in parts).
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED - Remaster 1
Hey Joe, Stone Free, Purple Haze, 51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary, Highway Chile, Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Red House (Version 2), Can You See Me (Version 2), Love Or Confusion, I Don't Live Today, May This Be Love, Fire, 3rd Stone From The Sun, Remember, Are You Experienced.
AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE - Remaster 1
ELECTRIC LADYLAND - Remaster 1
Re-release 1993 (Polydor/Reprise)
The Alan Douglas supervised remastering (done by Joe Gastwirt) of the holy trinity of Hendrix albums : "Are You Experienced", "Axis: Bold As Love" and "Electric Ladyland". These had flashy new covers using photos by Gerard Mankowitz (the original covers were on the back of the booklets) and they really did freshen up things compared to the first generation of CD releases (or did they ? See below). The first CD release of "Ladyland" for example (with the naked ladies cover) had even got the song sequence wrong ! That was put right here.
As a bonus, "Are You Experienced" opened with the first three British singles (A & B sides) but Alan Douglas decided to use the American "Smash Hits" versions of "Red House" and "Can You See Me", presumably because of they featured a richer sound (thanks to the extra overdubs by Jimi and Chas). He then put the original UK version of"Red House" on the following "Blues" compilation where it remains to this day. A compilation titled "The Ultimate Experience" was released at the same time (see "Compilations" section).
These releases had superb 24 page booklets, which were not lavishly illustrated but featured brilliant notes by Michael Fairchild.
When the Hendrix Estate put out another remastered series (only four years later) on MCA, they claimed that they had remastered "Axis" and "Ladyland" for the very first time from the original tapes. It would seem therefore that duplicate tapes were used for those works in this 1993 series. However, fellow Hendrix fan Luke informs me that this is unclear. While EH has said this, Joe Gastwirt (who did the later Reprise and 1993 discs) said the tapes he used had splices between the songs. EH said their tapes did *not* have splices between songs. Normally, a first generation master tape will have splices between every song, as it is in fact a compilation of all of the individual mixes. That said, it's unclear who is right in this case. Thanks Luke.
See the re-releases below for essential information about the different masterings.
A second remastering was done for the 1997 MCA re-releases. In 2010, Jimi's first two albums were again remastered!
This series of artworks was also the subject of an exhibition at the time. The covers conveyed very well the fact that the recordings had been enhanced. On the "Ladyland" cover, Jimi looks just like how I always imagined him singing "Rainy Day ...". - 8/10
Each volume featured very informative booklets.
< The three albums plus "The Ultimate Experience" compilation were also sold as a complete boxed package.
Released 1994 (Polydor/MCA)
Hear My Train A Comin' (acoustique 1967), Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell), Red House (version 1), Catfish Blues, Voodoo Chile Blues, Manish Boy (Morganfield), Once I Had A Woman, Bleeding Heart (James/Sehorn), Jelly 292, Electric Church Red House, Hear My Train A Comin' (live-Berkeley 1970)
This excellent collection of archive material focuses on Jimi's blues influences. It was put together by Alan Douglas, with some prevoiusly available songs (see below) and new discoveries. At the time it was a very welcome release as we had had nothing new, in terms of studio material, since "Nine To The Universe" of 1980 ! Today, this is the only Alan Douglas project that Experence Hendrix have retained in their catalogue since his departure, being a good indication of its quality and commercial value.
The album features blues numbers from all periods of Jimi's success. From the Experience epoch, we have Jimi solo on 12 string acoustic guitar (recorded in a film studio) as he goes through "Hear My Train A Comin". The original UK released "Red House" is included here because Douglas had chosen to include the American "Smash Hits" version of the song on the otherwise UK track listed "Are You Experienced" re-master (confused ? You will be !).
The great "Catfish Blues" captures the band on top form during a Dutch TV appearance. That song evolved into "Voodoo Chile" and here we get "Voodoo Chile Blues" which was built using outtakes from the "Electric Ladyland" sessions (Jack Casady on bass and Stevie Winwood on keyboards). "Electric Church Red House" comes from a session in October 68 and features the Experience with Lee Michaels on organ (and Buddy Miles briefly at the intro which Alan Douglas edited in from another session).
Then there are four tracks with the Band Of Gypsys line up. The great Elmore James is given hommage on "Bleeding Heart" and this a straight reading of the song, like on the February '69 Albert Hall recording ("Experience") and unlike Jimi's later adaptation of it (as on "South Saturn Delta" and originally "War Heroes"). The Gypsys later played "Bleeding Heart" during their Fillmore concerts. The Hendrix composed "Once I Had A Woman" features a great vocal from Jimi before it climbs into hard rocking finale. "Born Under A Bad Sign" is an instrumental jam around the Albert King song (which was popularised by Cream). "Mannish Boy" is composite of studio jams from April '69 (so only a couple months before The Experience broke up).
With Cox and Mitchell, we hear Jimi at full tilt on "Jelly 292"* (in fact an alternate take of the "Jam 292" seen edited on "Loose Ends and complete on "Hear My Music" from Dagger in 2004). Finally we have "the most perfectly formed and satisfying of all Hendrix blues performances" (as it accurately says in the booklet), the incredible and definitive live version of "Hear My Train A Comin", from Berkeley Community Center in May '70 (first show), previously seen on the now deleted "Rainbow Bridge" album of the 70's. This alone justifies the purchase. Jimi is just stunning on this one, taking the song through it's different passages with such assurance and the magnificent drums from Mitch really underline the degree to which he complimented Jimi's music. For me, this is perhaps Jimi's finest moment.
"Here My Train Comin'" (acoustic) previously on "A film about Jimi Hendrix" soundtrack album (see Live section)
"Here My Train Comin'" (electric) previously on "Rainbow Bridge"
"Red House" previously on the UK "Are You Experienced", and now also on the current Sony edition
"Electric Church Red House" previously on "Variations On A Theme - Red House"
"Catfish Blues" previously on "Calling Long Distance" (Univibes, see end of page).
* "Jelly 292" was retitiled as "Jam 292" on the 2010 Sony Legacy re-release.
A jewel of a CD package. Evidently Alan Douglas' favourite photo of Jimi (used previously on "Crash Landing") melts into a multicoloured collage of blues greats which continues on the back and on the disc itself. Under the disc Jimi plays slide with a beer can. Another very informative booklet. - 10/10
Note : Another Hendrix blues compilation was released in 2003 as part of the "Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues" series - see "Compilations" section
> …and here is the interesting text from the original booklet.
VOODOO SOUP - ???
Released 1995 (MCA)
The New Rising Sun, Belly Button Window, Stepping Stone, Freedom, Angel (remix), Room Full Of Mirrors, Midnight (extended), Night Bird Flying, Drifting, Ezy Ryder, Pali Gap (edited), Message To Love, Peace In Mississippi, In From The Storm
By this time Alan Douglas got round to 20-bit re-mastering the Hendrix catalogue, he put out Jimi's first three studio albums (with new-look covers) and then instead of re-releasing the much anticipated "Cry Of Love", this new compilation of latter day Hendrix material was offered. At the time, it was a great disappointment not to see "Cry Of Love" reappear. The album does contain many great songs but the 20-Bit remastering seemed to have stripped away some of the magic of the original mixes (this reviewer promptly ran out to buy the old CD edition of "The Cry Of Love" before it disappeared from circulation !). Dougles had tried to get Eddie Kramer involved in this project but it didn't happen due to creative differences.
Unfortunately, Douglas reverted to his old overdubbing tricks again. His associate producer Bruce Gary (the drummer with The Knack) plays new drum tracks for "Stepping Stone" and "Room Full Of Mirrors" *. Also "Message To Love" appears to be the same version as on "Crash Landing", with its annoying overdubbed percussion. However, "Peace In Mississippi" (which was also on "Crash Landing") this time features the original Experience tapes and it represented the main attraction of this unfortunately messy disc.
A new instrumental track was included titled "The New Rising Sun", but it proved to be of little interest, simply a meandering exploratory demo by Jimi. Parts of it had already surfaced on "Crash Landing" as part of the silly collage called "Captain Coconut".
Interestingly, "Angel" features a very different mix to the one presented previously on "Cry Of Love". Here, Douglas has Jimi's voice and guitar more up-front and Mitch's drums and the slushy wave sounds way back in the mix. I always felt that those wave effects and cymbals were a little over done (by Mitchell and Kramer after Jimi's demise) so I quite like this sparser version.
Note that "Midnight" is 30 seconds longer than on "War Heroes" (and the later released "South Saturn Delta"). On the bootleg "The Capricorn Tape", there is even an 8 minute "Midnight" but it is unclear if this is a posthumous montage or the unédited tape.
One final thing that was very annoying here was that Alan Douglas edited out the nice slow intro to "Pali Gap" for some strange reason. However the beautiful ending that was way back in the fade-out on "Rainbow Bridge" is kept at the same level as the rest of the track.
I don't know what Douglas was doing here on that mixing desk but all tracks on this collection sound weird. He seems to have decided to play up Jimi's voice to the detriment of some of the finer details in the mix. Many little details that you are waiting for are subdued, muffled, mixed back. Some of the songs sound like rough working mixes because of this. What a mess.
It was surprising that Douglas tripped up hear after such a good run since "Nine To The Universe".
* Douglas summoned Mitch to re-record drum parts for this collection but unfortunatly he didn't feel up to it. This is why Bruce Gary added his drums.
Belly Button Window, Freedom, Angel, Night Bird Flying, Drifting, Ezy Ryder, In From The Storm " - First Rays Of The New Rising Sun and Cry Of Love
Stepping Stone - First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Room Full Of Mirrors - First Rays Of The New Rising Sun and Rainbow Bridge
Pali Gap - South Saturn Delta and Rainbow Bridge
Midnight - South Saturn Delta
Message To Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience purple box set (without the Douglas overdubs)
New Rising Sun - West Coast Seattle Boy
Peace In Mississippi - Coupled with Valleys Of Neptune as a CD single (in 2010, without the Douglas overdubs) - then it was included on the purple box re-release.
The best thing about the album was the superb cover (taken from an old French sleeve for an "Are You Experienced"/"Axis: Bold As Love" double package -see Alternate Sleeves) by the great comic book artist Jean Giraud alias Mobius. He in fact later teamed up with the journalist who had photographed Jimi eating, Jean-Noel Coghe, to publish a lavishly illustrated book about Jimi in the nineties (see my Bibliography). - 10/10
An article about the many Moebius Hendrix illustrations here.
The following MCA editions:
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED - Remaster 2
Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Red House (Version 1), Can You See Me (Version 2), Love Or Confusion, I Don't Live Today, May This Be Love, Fire, 3rd Stone From The Sun, Remember, Are You Experienced
+ Hey Joe, Stone Free, Purple Haze, 51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary, Highway Chile
AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE - Remaster 2
ELECTRIC LADYLAND - Remaster 2
Re-released 1997 (MCA)
After "Voodoo Soup", the handling of the Hendrix estate came into the hands of Jimi's family, and they thankfully brought in Eddie Kramer to manage all new projects on the MCA label. In 1997, the first three albums were again re-mastered, and the original covers were re-introduced. On the UK "Are You Experienced" the first three singles (A & B sides) were tagged on at the end this time, and the original "Red House" was back where it belonged (but the original "Can You See Me" was again substituted by US "Smash Hits" version).
A new compilation titled "Experience Hendrix" was released at the same time.
> Check out this page about The Sound Of Hendrix CDs
Purple Haze, Manic Depression, Hey Joe, Love Or Confusion, May This Be Love, Don't Live Today, The Wind Cries Mary, Fire, Third Stone From The Sun, Foxy Lady, Are You Experienced
+ Stone Free, 51st Anniversary, Highway Chile, Can You See Me (version 2), Remember, Red House (version 2)
I object to the inclusion of the singles as bonus tracks. Jimi's first album, particularly in its European form, was an historic masterpiece and it should really be treated with the respect that it desreves. Look at "Revolver", "Seargent Pepper's", "Disraeli Gears" or "Satanic Majesties Request", no bonus tracks to detract from the artists concise work. The US version has become a 17 track compilation mixing US and UK album tracks and b-sides and it still doesn't use the original"Red House". It is ridiculous that "Axis" and "Ladyland" remain intact and this most important and influential debut album has become a hotch potch collection of tracks.
FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN
Released 1997 (MCA)
Freedom, Izabella, Night Bird Flying, Angel, Room Full of Mirrors, Dolly Dagger, Ezy Ryder, Drifting, Beginning (Mitchell), Stepping Stone, My Friend (Hendrix/Redding), Straight Ahead, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun), Earth Blues, Astro Man, In From the Storm, Belly Button Window
Side 1: Freedom, Izabella, Night Bird Flying, Angel, Room Full Of Mirrors
Side 2: Dolly Dagger, Ezy Ryder, Drifting, Beginnings
Side 3: Stepping Stone, My Friend, Straight Ahead, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
Side 4: Earth Blues, Astro Man, In From The Storm, Belly Button Window
As if the "Voodoo Soup" release of only two years earlier had never existed, this album was an ambitious idea to finally gather together the best of the post Experience material, coming as close as possible to the supposed double vinyl album that Jimi was working on just before he passed away*. That is a little too ambitious really as all they had to go on was a hand-written list or two (and not necessarily in Jimi's hand). We know also that Jimi changed his mind very often about things.
Let it be said straight away that they messed up the sound here with poor mastering. This won't bother people with low-end systems or if you listen to music on your telephone but if "great sound" is your perrogative you would be better off buying the 2014 re-releases of "Cry Of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge", which are excellent (on CD or vinyl).
"First Rays Of The New Rising Sun" was of course one of the working titles for his 1970 album (in August '70 however, a handwritten memo by Jimi named it as "Straight Ahead"!). Jimi had even had the "First Rays" title in mind for an Experience album in early 1969.
In an interview just before the 1970 Isle Of Wight festival, he said that the new album might be out in October, followed by a double album which would be mainly instrumental! So it would seem that a double album like this compilation was not on his agenda.
So this compilation is a sort of expanded version of the (at the time) deleted "Cry Of Love", with all of its tracks included (beginning and ending in the same way also), as well as some essential numbers from two other 70's albums "Rainbow Bridge" and "War Heroes".
It effect, it shows where Jimi went (in terms of "finished product") after "Electric Ladyland" with his music becoming less "psychedelic" and with an earthier R&B base. This is a terrific selection of songs but in my opinion there are a few too many straight rock songs compiled here, which makes for a rather unbalanced "album" as such, especially on the CD version. It must be said that all those rock songs are in fact superb, "Freedom", "Izabella", "Night Bird Flying, "Room Full of Mirrors", "Dolly Dagger", "Ezy Ryder","Stepping Stone","Straight Ahead", "Earth Blues", "Astro Man" and "In From the Storm" … hell, that's alot of rock, talk about overkill ! The double vinyl album does pace things in a much better way whereas the CD just runs and runs, leaving you dizzy.
In contrast to all those rocking numbers, there are a few slower numbers: "Angel" which was inspired by a dream about his Mother, the Dylanesque blues "My Friend" (in fact recorded back in 1968), the spooky solo blues "Belly Button Window", the dreamy 'Drifting" which is similar to "May This Be Love", and the superb "title track", "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)". Unfortunately, the beautiful instrumental "Pali Gap" was left off this compilation (the track had fitted in nicely as an extension of the dreamy "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" theme on "Rainbow Bridge"). Another calm moment on the album would have benefitted it. Some variety is provided by the rocking instrumental "Beginning" however (for which Mitchell gets composer credits).
A nice touch was the release at the same time of a two track CD of "Dolly Dagger"/"Night Bird Flying" which Jimi had planned for a single release just before he died.
Previously released tracks:
Freedom, Drifting, Ezy Ryder, Night Bird Flying, My Friend, Straight Ahead, Astro Man, Angel, In From The Storm, Belly Button Window - previously on "Cry Of Love" (1971)
Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Room Full of Mirrors, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) - previously on "Rainbow Bridge"
Izabella, Beginning, Stepping Stone, - previously on "War Heroes"
The inclusion of "My Friend" (on "Cry Of Love" and "First Rays") has been criticized by many Hendrix fans because it came from a much earlier session. However in the "West Coast Seattle boy" booklet, it says "...When he (Jimi) and Eddie Kramer gathered in late May and early June 1970 to review Jimi's tape library for songs that would be mixed or overhauled at the guitarist's newly opened Electric Lady Studios, Hendrix played the March 1968 Sound Center recording for Kramer. Months later, in the aftermath of Jimi's death, in September 1970, Kramer and Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell were entrusted with preparing "Cry Of Love",... Kramer remembered Hendrix's enthusiasm for the song and included it as part of the album."
*It's not certain that Jimi would have titled his fourth album "First Rays Of The New Rising Sun" (a titled which he'd had in mind for an album since early 1969).
In a memo dating from August 1970, Jimi wrote:
"Songs for the LP "Straight Ahead":
Room Of Mirrors
Earth Blues Today
Valley Of Neptune
Cherokee Mist - that's going to be an instrumental
ELectric Lady - slow
Getting My Heart Back Together Again
Heaven Has No Tomorrow - slow
Sending My Love - slow
This Little Boy
The New Rising Sun"
Plenty of songs in his mind for the album, so one can see that this "First Rays" album is only an approximation of what Jimi might have actually released. He had even considered putting out a triple album of the material to be titled "People, Hell And Angels", though one imagines that his management and record companies would have found that hard to market seeing that the fans had been waiting nearly two years for a new album.
It makes you wonder if the mysterious "Electric Lady - slow" was this in fact "Pali Gap". On the tape box for that stunning instrumental was simply written "slow part".
It could well be, considering the fact that Jimi came back to the piece (which began as a spontaneous jam) and worked on it with various slick overdubs. He obviously knew he had something worthwhile there. It is, I feel, the greatest guitar instrumental ever recorded.
Anyway, in conclusion, I would advise any newcomer to Jimi's music to buy the superb sounding "Cry Of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge" (re-released on CD in 2014) plus and old "War Heroes" album (CD or vinyl) rather than this over-stuffed compilation with its compressed sound on CD (the vinyl was however better).
The album title is quite literally illustrated (with a sunset ?) and an overlayed Jimi seems aptly to ponder what might have been. It does have a luxury feel to it, which matches the richness of the music within. Nice typo also but the whole thing does look more like a good advertisement or film poster rather than an "record sleeve" - 7/10
Here is a run-down of the last mixes that Jimi did with Eddie Kramer and those which were done soon after he died > The fourth album.
>Jimi had also thought of using some of these songs for his "Black Gold" project.
SOUTH SATURN DELTA
Released 1998 (MCA)
Look Over Yonder, Little Wing, Here He Comes (Lover Man), South Saturn Delta, Power Of Soul, Message To The Universe (Message To Love), Tax Free, All Along The Watchtower (Olympic mix) (Dylan), The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice (remix), Midnight, Sweet Angel, Bleeding Heart, Pali Gap, Drifter's Escape (original mix) (Dylan), Midnight Lightning
*My ratings judge the "albums" as a whole, even though here for example, some tracks are five star beauties.
Having used up nearly all the "most finished" post Experience materiel on the previous release, Eddie Kramer was obliged to delve deeper into the archives to complete this collection. The problem again is that the mastering is too harsh.
Like with "Jimi Hendrix :Blues" this is a collection of old and new, with some stunning moments. One drawback is that some demos and alternate mixes are, like on "Voodoo Soup", a bit out of place next to the more polished re-released tracks. Messy compiling. Uneven finish.
That aside, those too young to have known the old albums will discover some fabulous Hendrix here. The blistering rocker from The Experience "Look Over Yonder" just screams along as Jimi punches in some of his greatest rock licks, rising to a shattering, whiplash climax. There are the great Experience studio instrumentals "Tax Free" and "Midnight" which feature some breathtaking guitar. The beautiful, Santana-like, "Pali Gap" is one of Jimi's most moving and accomplished instrumentals. "Bleeding Heart" takes the Elmore James' lyric into new funky rock territory, as good as anything on "First Rays". Other treasures from the vault are another Dylan cover in "Drifter's Escape" and the title track, a quirky jazz experiment from Jimi, complete with a brass arrangement !
A studio version of "Power Of Soul" by the Band Of Gypsys is also included but it is bizarre - at the beginning, tthe mix is all out of sync with the intro guitar parts misaligned and the opening "Yeah, yeah" vocal missing (it is present on an earlier mix as bootlegs reveal). A better mix (by Hendrix/Kramer) appeared on Both Sides Of The Sky in 2018.(1)
Some interesting studio jams are included, "Lover Man" (in fact two takes cleverly edited together) opens with the intro that Jimi usually used for "Killing Floor", then takes off into an awesome display of screeching rock guitar. The essentially rhythmic Little Wing" (that title was written on the tape box) in fact turns out to be "Angel" , in an early instrumental run through with Mitch. "Sweet Angel" (which resembles more the structure of the "Angel" that is now on "First Rays") is another early version with overdubs, where Jimi uses a primitive electronic rhythm box to keep the beat. "Message To The Universe" is a raggedy but interesting live-in-studio run through of "Message To Love" featuring Jimi's ill fated "Woodstock" band (they had played the song at the famous festival). It does sound out of place here though. Finally "Midnight Lightning" is Jimi alone on guitar, tapping the beat with his foot and sounding like an old blues master.(2)
A couple of "alternate mixes" are also included. The early Olympic Studios mix of "Watchtower" is really a bit too close to the "Ladyland" version to merit inclusion on this set (it would have been better placed on the box set which would soon appear) and an exciting remix of "The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice" (originally the B-side of the UK single "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp"). On that track the devastating guitar solo is mixed up front this time, fasten your seat belt !
"Look Over Yonder","Pali Gap" - previously on "Rainbow Bridge"
"Bleeding Heart", "Tax Free", "Midnight" - previously on "War Heroes"
"Drifters Escape" - previously on "Lifelines" and in an different mix on "Loose Ends"
"The Stars That Play " - previously on "Loose Ends"
"Power Of Soul" - previously on "Crash Landing" in a modified form and retitled "With The Power"
"South Saturn Delta" - previously on "Lifelines" in a slightly different form
(1) An earlier, February 1970 mix of "Power Of Soul" (that Jimi made with Bob Hughes) appeared in 2013 on the B-side of the 7" vinyl single of "Somewhere".
The 2018 official collection of outtakes Both Sides Of The Sky features the better mix by Kramer and Hendrix.
(2) A similar solo take od "Midnight Lightning" appeared on the bootled Freakout Blues.
Recording dates:Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice - 19/20 July 1967
Little Wing (Angel) - 14 October 1967
Sweet Angel - 13 November 1967
Tax Free - 1 May 1968
South Saturn Delta - 14 June 1968
All Along the Watchtower - January, June-August 1968
Look Over Yonder - 22 October 1968
Here He Comes (Lover Man) - 29 October 1968
Midnight - 1 & 3 April 1969*
Message To The Universe - 28 August1969
Power Of Soul - 21 January 1970
Midnight Lightning - 21 March 1970
Bleeding Heart - 24 March 1970
Drifter's Escape - 17 June 1970
Pali Gap - 1 July 1970
*An alternate take of Midnight Lightning with differing lyrics had appeared previously on the bootleg Freak Out Blues (a.k.a. Ultra Rare Trax).
A very striking photo of Jimi on a chopper which was a nice surprise. Jimi in fact had dreadful eyesight and was lethal in car, so I dread to think what he would have got up to on a motorbike ! The glossy mirror lettering is a bit too much perhaps but all in all an excellent packaging job - 9/10
- CONCLUSION -
In retrospect, the post "Electric Ladyland" material had again been rather unsatisfactorily compiled. In my humble opinion the re-releasing should have featured a straight "Cry Of Love" re-master (that came about in 2014). That album originally presented Jimi's most finished final works that had been cherry-picked by Kramer and Mitchell in 1971. A short CD one might say, but then so is "Axis" and who's complaining ?) . This could have been followed by another high quality release of these tracks :
Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Pali Gap, Room Full of Mirrors, Look Over Yonder, Hey Baby, Bleeding Heart, Tax Free, Stepping Stone, Midnight, Beginning, Izabella, Drifters Escape.
That would be a compilation of Experience and later Hendrix material but would represent the remaining studio work featuring high quality overdubs by Jimi, proving his own particular interest in the songs.
A more complete collection of Experience "rarities" could then have been built around The Stars That Play(remix)/Red House(version 2)/Star Spangled Banner(studio version)/All Along The Watchtower (Olympic mix)/Here He Comes(Lover Man) etc. This would have still left the opportunity to put out a more honest collection of demos and unfinished ideas, which treated as such, would have also made an interesting album. In fact the MCA box set which was released shortly after, effaced any opportunity to compile another satisfying CD release of studio work.
Released 1998 (MCA)
CD 1: Foxy Lady, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Dylan) , (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon), Driving South (Collins), Fire, Little Miss Lover, The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Catfish Blues (Robert Petway), Stone Free, Love Or Confusion, Hey Joe (Roberts), Hound Dog (Leiber/Stoller), Driving South, Hear My Train A Comin'
CD 2: Purple Haze, Killing Floor (Burnett), Radio One (You're The One For Me), Wait Until Tomorrow, Day Tripper (Lennon/McCartney), Spanish Castle Magic, Jammin', I Was Made To Love Her (Cosby/Hardaway/Moy/Wonder), Foxy Lady, Hey Joe, Manic Depression, Driving South, Hear My Train A Comin' , Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Hey Joe, Sunshine Of Your Love
In fact a re-release of the deleted 80s album "Radio One" with thirteen (!) extra tracks. See my review of that album for the original songs. Among the new additions is the famous 1969 Lulu TV show live performance where, after performing "Voodoo Child", Jimi aborts "Hey Joe" only to rip into a tribute to Cream with "Sunshine Of Your Love". There are also a couple of superb jams with Stevie Wonder on drums, one titles simply "Jammin" and another built around the singer's hit song "I Was Made To Love Her". Jimi puts in some great soloing here. After that jam Stevie in fact led the band into "Ain't To Proud To Beg" which is omitted here as it didn't come to much.
Also included from the BBC vaults are "Little Miss Lover", "Manic Depression" (live TV appearance) and some alternate takes which are very interesting for the improvisations on "Drivin South" and "Hear My Train", less so for "Hey Joe" (2nd version incomplete) and "Foxy Lady" (2nd falls apart).
The real scoop was yet another Hendrix cover of a Dylan song "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window ?". Needless to say, he was a big Zimmerman fan, even his revolutionary afro hair style was inspired by Dylan's 1966 hairdo (see "Blonde On Blonde"). Noel already had frizzy hair so Mitch soon permed his, to complete the band's pop image (see album cover).
This album includes lots of rare studio versions of songs from the band's rich repertoire. All this makes for a superb double CD and it is great source material to make oneself a 4th Experience studio album:
(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
I Was Made To Love her
Gettin' My Heart Back Together
The 2010 re-release on Sony featured an extra track : "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" from one of his many BBC Top Of The Pops appearances. Unfortunately it has only a live vocal over the singles backing track.
FAKE STEREO: this album does not represent the original mono recordings (which are circulating among collectors as "At The Beeb").
Fascinating trivia: this release revealed that just before going into "Day Tripper", Jimi toyed with the opening riff to "I Want To Tell You" (a George Harrison song from "Revolver").
The guys photographed in London's Hyde Park I think, on a windy day, making Jimi's hair part rather awkwardly. Not a shot I would have chosen but a nice honest cover anyway - 7/10
This US 9 track promotional sampler CD was distributed to the press and radio stations.
1. Introducing The Experience
2. Foxey Lady
3. Hey Joe
4. Love Or Confusion
5. Little Miss Lover
6. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
7. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
8. Day Tripper
9. Voodoo Child - Slight Return
MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Released 1999 (MCA)
Little Drummer Boy (Traditional)/ Silent Night Auld Lang Syne (Traditional) / Three Little Bears / Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night Auld Lang Syne (Extended Version)
These novelty tracks featuring The Band Of Gypsys in rehearsal for their New Years concerts at Baggys Studios which were originally pressed in the seventies as a 7" single titled "..and a Happy New Year", a Reprise "business-to-business" gift (see "Alternate Sleeves"). Here, there is also an "extended version" and a bonus,"Three Little Bears" , which is a long lost fun track from the Ladyland sessions (previously seen on "War Heroes"). Completists only !
Jimi disguised as Santa Clause? A photomontage ? No, it is taken from a promo shot that Jimi did for the release of "Axis" in December 1967. What was it Jimi once sang ? "...they might even try to wrap me in cellophane and sell me..." - 5/10
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