George Starostin's Reviews

JIMI HENDRIX

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Introduction

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (07.09.99)

No doubt a great guitarist and good songwriter and performer, but come on a 4? 3 maybe. I have electric ladyland and I can safely say apart from 'all along the watchtower' (sent by god - Dylan) and 'cross town traffic' this album is tedious to listen to. A good act made into something he was not by his untimely death. Sad, but true.

<Huntr3@aol.com> (21.11.99)

George, George, George... I must disagree with your review on Jimi. I feel that Jimi Hendrix IS the absolute greatest guitarist in the history of the 6-stringed instrument. You were right on when you said it was like the guitar was an extension of his body. He could play the guitar, and i DO mean play the guitar, anyway he wanted to. Left and right handed, upside down, behind his back, strung upside down, under his legs, with his teeth, with his elbows.....i could go on. And you only give him a 4-star rating? I feel that the undisputed greatest guitarist ever should atleast get a 5. Its true that his band members were not the greatest. Mitch Mitchell WAS quite good, however. Noel Redding wasnt anything to write home about on bass. Billy Cox would have been pumping gas at a gas station somewhere if he hadnt served with Jimi as a paratrooper. And Larry Lee...well... i wont even go into Larry Lee. I also disagree with your statement of "......he was a next to none songwriter." Jimi Hendrix wrote BEAUTIFUL songs. "Little Wing" was amazing. "Bold As Love" and "Casltes Made of Sand" were amazing too. He also made previously written songs better. Look at 'Voodoo Child'. He added a 'Slight Return' to it and made it "The New American Anthem." Come on man. Now, i know Jimi could NOT sing. Neither could Bob Dylan, for that matter. Jimi coudlnt remember lyrics either, unless he wrote them. On the BBC album he forgets the words to "Watchtower" and completely stops the song to do a tribute to Cream. What a nice guy, aye? Well,keep up the good work.

[Special author note: all right, guys! Let us compromise! Take my 4-star rating and deem it as an average between Simon's three and 'Huntr3's five!]

Bob <tsivinp@limm.mgimo.ru> (16.02.2000)

Yeah, George, you may think what you want, and I shall also. For me, Jimi is THE GREATEST. Not, "The God", of course. But - first of all, a five-star artist because of "The Wind Cries Mary", "Bold As Love", "1983" and "Angel".

<Quarrymn@aol.com> (22.03.2000)

I dont need to say a whole lot...because reading what others have already said, you dont need anymore of a tongue lashing! But, I can tell you obviously are not much a Hendrix fan, especially if you can't for some reason or another figure out that not only was he the greatest guitarist ever, but a hell of a songwriter. Sometimes you just have to think, George. Think about who he had to work with, with the exception of Mitch Mitchell(one of the greatest drummers) all of those GREAT songs he came up with was basically all by his lonesome self. Also, seeing as how you only picked a few of his songs to be good enough, well, obviously you havent heard much, because I could go on and on. One other thing, I perfectly understand you choosing Clapton as your fav. over Hendrix, but to make the excuse that Hendrix was so great that you couldnt even talk about him in the same category as others or whatever is bullshit. Shouldnt that prove that he is the greatest! Ya know there isnt anything wrong with naming a second greatest guitarist, which is where you can put Clapton.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (27.03.2000)

Just a couple of thoughts wrt some of the comments from others here.

1. Yes, Jimi wrote a few FABULOUS songs. But even as soon as EL, which was only his third album, for crying out loud, the filler level starts to _really_ take over (though I'm not talking about all of the short songs - also, I adore 'Voodoo Child'). I think there's no question that the main heart of Jimi is not in his writing, but in his guitar playing. No man has ever been able to make a stronger claim to being "the complete guitarist" than Jimi, which leads me to my second point.

2. Saying that Jimi is the greatest guitarist ever is akin to saying that God is the most powerful guy in the universe. Well DUH. Jimi's abilities were so far beyond the comprehension of mere mortal men that it seems almost silly (and completely unfair) to merely place him at the top of the guitarist list. And in that sense, I can understand why you place Clapton at the top.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (02.04.2000)

Unlike a lot of hard-core music lovers, for the longest time I had no affinity whatsoever for Jimi Hendrix's catalogue, barring "All Along The Watchtower" and maybe "Crosstown Traffic." My native disposition tends much more towards music like Bowie's Station To Station and Low, or The Who's Quadrophenia, than "Purple Haze," and in fact I'm still not set on fire by that particular song, even though I know I should be. Nevertheless, after several years of experience I have most definitely grown to love Hendrix, and I listen to his music these days more than ever, even if my love is more intellectual than instinctual.

Why was he so damn good? Aw cripes, can I actually add anything new to this? You know what? I don't give two guitar picks about Hendrix's axe technique and where it ranks among the guitarists of the world, and that's not because he wasn't the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth (yeah, he probably was). It's because what I really love about Hendrix is his ability to ROCK. And The Experience, especially Mitch Mitchell, is an important part of this - no group so defined the future sound of hard rock as The Experience's drums/guitar/bass noise did, not even The Who. There's a reason Are You Experienced? still sounds modern today, and it's 'cause nobody's really added to a formula that Hendrix and Mitchell (and to a lesser extent Redding) helped create. There's more I could say, but I'll get to it in the reviews.

Before that, however, I'd like to say a word about the series of Hendrix reissues. The CDs currently available on the market are the "Experience Hendrix" Hendrix Family Edition releases. Prior to the release of these, MCA had ALREADY reissued the CDs two years earlier with new covers (something which rightfully pissed a lot of fans off, although the original covers can be found on the back of the liner notes), remastered sound, and (most importantly) EXQUISITE liner notes, so thorough and comprehensive that reading them was an experience in and of itself. By all means, if you can find these versions of Hendrix's CDs (Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, and :Blues) buy them, even if you have to pay a little more than normal price (you probably won't, as the only real place you're going to find them now is in used CD stores). The liner notes completely make them worthwhile - even if you know little to nothing about Hendrix prior to buying his music, you'll be a real expert afterwards, which is great. They even have bibliographies! Furthermore, the NEW liner notes on the Hendrix Family reissues are quite inadequate - the best of them is Dave Marsh's essay on Are You Experienced? while the worst of them is Derek Taylor's useless notes for Ladyland. God rest the man's soul, he was a wonderful fellow and he gave 60's rock PR a half-decent name by his talents alone, but he dropped the ball on this one. Actually, come to think of it the worst one is :Blues - the great original liner notes were chock full of interviews with bluesmen and old legends and lore about the music, but the new notes are sparse and a pale shadow of the original (worst is the fact that it's almost impossible to determine which CD is the old Alan Douglas MCA one and which is the new Hendrix Family version - check the spine; if it reads "Experience Hendrix" it's the new version, which you should pass on). This is nitpicking, to be sure, but I think it might be useful to folks poking around in the CD racks looking at two different versions of the same CD and wondering which one to get, since the sound quality on both sets of releases is (despite what you might have heard) identical.

Ed Schumann <edschumann@home.com> (08.04.2000)

I'm experiencing some confusion as to the reasons you seemed to toss away Jimi's songwriting abilities. I actually think of him as a genuinely creative and clever songwriter, with interesting melodic ideas to boot with brilliant and layered guitar work full of intricate and expressive lines. He's actually a very capable and idiosyncratic composer and I think you're being a bit crass in your judgement. Also, you may think me ignorant for saying this, but I really enjoy Jimi's display of lyricism. There's a profound Dylan influence on him, but I don't think he comes off as aping him as much as he's realizing his spirit. Listen to the lyrics of "The Wind Cries Mary", or "Castles Made of Sand", and you'll realize the genuine poetic merit of his words and unique expressions.Also, you called Are you Experienced? the first hard rock album and then give the same title to Beggar's Banquet by the Rolling Stones which came out a year later? Well, which one is it? And I also think that describing Jimi's music as hard rock is a bit of pigeon-holing him,but you have your own interpretatons.

jpcs <jpcs@xtra.co.nz> (15.06.2000)

Yeah,"3rd Stone From The Sun" probably does offer a hint about Jimi's origins, seeing as how the 3rd planet from the sun is this one we're sitting on.duh. ---

King Booben <booben1@online.ru> (02.08.2000)

Well, George, to me Jimi will always be the greatest artist and, first of all, improvisator. The guitar world is full of talented players with highly developed manner and technique of performin' , but none of them gives this feeling of something supernatural, wich flies much higher than ordinary playing - for the soul has been put into the music of Hendrix.

mjcarney <mjcarney@netzero.net> (23.08.2000)

Sure, Hendrix is always remembered for his excellent guitarwork--and believe me on guitar he cannot be beat. However still, playing guitar really well doesn't necessarily make for a brilliant overall rock artist. Jimi on the other hand was capable of writing and performing some amazing songs. His greatest are well known--"Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", "Voodoo Child(Slight Return)", "Crosstown Traffic", "Little Wing" etc. etc. However, many of the not-so-big Hendrix songs are subpar to say the least. He really only made one masterpiece of an album--Are You Experienced--and he then started slipping, never fully able to repeat his first triumph. That is not to say his later material is too bad, some of it far surpasses that of AYE, but also some of it is far worse than anything on his debut. Also, Hendrix had a really poor voicewhich makeshispoor songs--like a good third of Electric Ladyland for instance--such a chore to listen too. I know that it is almost a crime to put down the holy Hendrix, and I can fully understand his importance in rock and roll history. He virtually reinvented theguitar in rock and roll, he was a master innovator continually trying new and more experimental things,he was a tremedous live performer, and a great blues player. However,I still feel that Hendrix wrote only about 25-30 great songs. These songs are nearly untouchable by any artist.Yet, it remains that too much of his work is poor (not horrible but poor)--and would never be listened too if it weren't for his tremendous guitar. I wholeheartedly agree with you George that Hendrix wasn't much of a songwriter and if you look over his catalogue, this becomes blatantly obvious.Hendrix is much like Jeff Beck--a superb guitarist who should have remained in a band to add his talent rather than tryhis own luck as asolo artist. The only difference is that Hendrix is a much better guitarist than Beck, or Townshend, or Clapton, etc.Butguitar playing in rock, is only about 40% of the necessary ingredients--20% goes to bass and drums, 10% goes to voice, and 30% goes to good songwriting in my book and especially with Hendrix's style of music. Hendrix's grades are afull 40% on theguitar, his band supplied a strong 17% on the bass and drums, his voice is rather poor (much worse than Dylan's) so there he gets a 3%, and for songwriting/arranging I would rate his a 20%. Overall that would be about an 80% of a possible 100. So therefore I agree with your 4/5 overall rating. He was a tremendous artist, but giving him a 5 is getting a little carried away.

<SkylerFlash@aol.com> (29.08.2000)

Jimi Hendrix cannot sing. Singing in a rock song is very important (just ask Meatloaf who lost 15 years of his career due to a lost voice). If only Jimmy would have only become a guitarist and not tried to be lead singer also, I may have actually become a fan. I cannot get past his voice. I've never liked rock songs without words as I feel they limit the expression of the artist. Jimi was a unique and gifted instrumental genius, but hell, so is Kenny G. HE CANNOT SING and if he acknowledged it, why the hell can't his critics. Had he lived he would have quickly lost popularity and ended up a "Poor man's Chuck Berry." Be honest, death glorifies things, and youthful death distorts and enhances one's reputation to the point of absurdity! (Are you listening Janis?) Had Michael Jackson died in the 80's he would probably have an Elvis like aura about him. Hendrix is very good, but he punishes the listener with his voice.PLAY IT DON'T SAY IT!! Clapton can actually sing a little bit, Jimi couldn't!! FACT, FACT, FACT!! I'll never be a fan, but then I'm not a guitarist either. Jimi, you died do to your own actions, and I will judge you based on the pleasure of your creations. To all his loyal fans, I must apologize. No denying his guitar playing, just couldn't get past his voice.

Spyridon Merianos <silverknight72@hotmail.com> (01.10.2000)

My name is Spyridon from Corfu Island -Greece and I would like to say just this:

God (which must be someone up there to care for us) was good enough to send some people just to show us the way to heaven (where heaven is the contact between soul and mind,that perfect balance) Jimmy,as with people like J.S.Bach or Vivaldi was a perfect teacher of how a simple man can touch (and feel by that) the inner self that we have locked up,deep as it gets.Dont stay at the songs,the music forms and all that (after all that E7#9 was his musical id) but try to feel the way he was feeling the songs the time that he was on stage..

improvisation is just a word but when you hear the sounds of war at the "machine gun" you walk the way a warrior walks and when you sing the "Voodoo child" you talk the way a god can talk "..I was standing next to a mountain,and I chop it down,with the edge of my hand.."

Music is nothing more than just an empty word without that special touch that only if we look deep inside us and bring out all our fears and hopes we can -finally- have.A true and unique blessing.

ps.an advise :don't compare,music is not a competition.

Thomas M. Silvestri <cc3000@earthlink.net> (18.10.2000)

There are some very intelligent remarks here and the subject of Hendrix could and invariably does take up volumes, so I only want to add a few things. First of all, for people really interested in the unique way Hendrix heard and created sounds, I highly recommend David Henderson's 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, the most musically sophisticated book on Hendrix. Secondly, I don't know how anyone could ever say Hendrix was not a great rock songwriter. For one thing, the kind of "songs" he wrote completely blew the pop world out of the orbit of the Tin Pan Alley tradition, not surprisingly considering his enthusiasm for Dylan, who took a huge first step in this direction only a few years before. Only a very few "songs" like the Byrds "Eight Miles High" had even hinted before Hendrix at the kind of more complex compositions rock musicians could offer. Suffice it to say that without Hendrix, there would be no "heavy metal" or "progressive rock," no Houses of the Holy without Axis: Bold as Love, no Dark Side of the Moon without Electric Ladyland -- at the very least, progressive rock would've come into its own many years later than it did without Hendrix. The man's influence is clearly seen as unparalled when you can hear everyone from Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull raving about him. Finally, if we're talking along the lines of people like Astrid Gilberto, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe, Sinead O'Connor, or even Freddie Mercury, no, Hendrix did not have a technically "good" voice. But if we're talking about classic rock 'n' roll singers, singers who come largely out of the American blues and R&B tradition, white singers like Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and Lennon and McCartney and Jagger and Winwood and Rod Stewart and Jim Morrison and Gary Brooker, guys who grew up almost completely in awe of the music of African-Americans, Hendrix was a giant as a vocalist. A simple exercise offers proof: Listen to Dylan's vocal on his seminal "Like A Rolling Stone" (the song that Joni Mitchell says told her that American pop music had "finally grown up") and Hendrix's on his live version at Monterey. The two tracks are of course totally different and totally enjoyable in their own ways, but it's phenomenal how Hendrix effortlessly infuses this seemingly uniquely personal, impossible-to-cover song with an utterly cool, bluesy authenticity rooted in over a hundred years of American black music. And P.S. on those notes to the original Hendrix Blues album: they also offer great testimony from leading bluesmen on Hendrix's monstrous gifts in that department. (The only two copies of Hendrix records in a famous blues museum were donated by B.B. King! And it's quite fascinating to hear the once-so obviously envious Clapton, who derided Hendrix as a guitar player so foolishly in the 1973 documentary A Film About Jimi Hendrix, basically admitting twenty years later that he's never been anything but a Chicago blues-mimicking nostalgia artist when compared to Hendrix. To Clapton's credit, he recently said in an American radio interview that "Sunshine of Your Love" was directly the result of Clapton taking Jack Bruce to see Hendrix live for the first time, with Bruce rushing home to write something like Hendrix's heavier stuff and coming up with the famous "Sunshine..." riff.) P.P.S. For those who've bought into a lot of slanderous crap about Hendrix throwing away live shows, I saw the guy five times in four different venues and he was brilliant in a different way each time.

[Special author note: I would just like to note that I am in no way disrespecting Hendrix's HUGE influence on subsequent rock (and not only rock) music - I am taking this for granted. But one mustn't confuse influence with the actual quality of the material. The basic structures of Jimi's songs are actually quite simple, not a bit more complex than whatever the Beatles or any other bands with an experimental edge were making at the time. It's when we speak of Jimi's skills as a guitar technician, arranger and "soundmaster" that his talents come to light. It's one thing to discuss the basic melody of 'When The Wind Cries Mary' or 'Crosstown Traffic', which are very basic and even rudimentary, and another thing to discuss the way they are actually arranged and performed. Also, I'd like to defend Clapton: I've seen that Hendrix movie, but I don't remember Eric actually ridiculizing the guy - they were good friends and took a lot from each other.]

Thomas M. Silvestri <cc3000@earthlink.net> (20.10.2000)

Respectful response to George: I'm thinking more of tracks like "Manic Depression," "Third Stone From the Sun," "I Don't Live Today," "Up From the Skies," If Six Was Nine," "Bold as Love," "1983," "Rainy Day, Dream Away," "House Burning Down," "Freedom," and "In From the Storm" when I argue for Hendrix's skills as a songwriter. All of these songs feature really advanced (especially for their era) chords, rhythms, and time and meter changes, particularly the ones with the more pronounced jazz leanings. As for Clapton in that movie, I'm referring specifically to his ludicrous claim near the opening of the film that "he [Hendrix] wasn't that great a guitarist, he really wasn't." (I haven't watched it in awhile, but I believe that's an exact quote.) While Clapton's point that there was much more to Hendrix (charisma, vision, humor, kindness, style, showmanship) than pure playing ability is undeniable, this nevertheless bizarre remark is especially curious coming from a guy who's somehow managed to spend almost forty years in the music limelight without ever playing a jazz chord. (On that score, Moby Grape's Jerry Miller experimented more boldly and successfully on that band's first album than Clapton has done in his whole career.)

George Starostin (20.10.2000)

Okay, since a discussion is obviously brewing on here, I might as well step off the tiny font and present myself as a true commenter. Yes, it's true that Hendrix brought the jazzy trimmings into rock (which explains why so many of his songs sound so messy), but that wasn't his sole merit - Frank Zappa did it before, and while Clapton really isn't much of a jazz musician, Jack Bruce certainly is, and the whole style of Cream was based on the opposition of Clapton's bluesy guitar and Jack's jazzy bass. As for the above-mentioned songs, none of them strike me as particularly well-written, apart from a couple or so; these rhythms seem to merely provide a launching pad for Jimi's amazing playing style, and many of their rhythms could have easily been interchanged. True, they are jazzy, and they're based more on a unique improvising style and a deeply felt sense of rhythm than a sense of self-sufficient melodism.

Re the Hendrix/Clapton battle again - experimentation in music cannot be reduced to stating whether a certain musician has borrowed a lot from jazz or not, and statements like the one about the Moby Grape album are obvious exaggerations. Books have been written about Clapton's musical innovations on the Sixties scene, and I'm not going to bring up the topic here, especially since I would never argue that Clapton ever was a bigger innovator than Jimi, or even comparable. I'm not also arguing that Clapton was a better songwriter, as the general tendency is that great guitarists are rarely great songwriters. I'm not even comparing the two of them: as I said, Jimi's guitar abilities are out of the question. It's like trying to determine the best rock group and leaving out the Beatles as a separate phenomenon on a level of its own. But I'm sick of people dissing Clapton for wiredrawn crap like 'too boring' and 'too simple' and 'too derivative', etc. Eric has explored more guitar styles and playing techniques in his life than any Chicago bluesman, adding an amazing playing technique and an ability to emotionally draw in more people than Chicago bluesmen ever had. For some reason, many people prefer to judge him exclusively by his work of the last ten years, during which he was already semi-retired and playing exclusively for self-contentment, rather than his Sixties and Seventies work, which is just as important for understanding rock music as Hendrix' output.

P.S. I can't verify that Clapton quote now since my VCR is malfunctioning, but I seem to remember Eric expressing his relative disgust with Jimi's showmanship rather than his playing (the guitar-breaking thing, 'the teeth-picking', etc.). It would be a most foolish thing for Eric to say that Jimi wasn't a great guitarist in a movie dedicated to Jimi. What I do know for sure is that Hendrix agreed Chas Chandler to take him to England only on condition that Chandler would introduce Jimi to Clapton. Thus, it's rather futile to try to deride one of the two great guitarists based on the acts of the other, as there are always numerous counterarguments to be held.

Brian Adkins <badkins@mail.calltech.com> (09.11.2000)

Cmon man, you gotta give Hendrix a five. He was most certainly one of the top three guitar players, songwriters, live performers and practically perfected the speaker to speaker effect in the studio. What more can a man possibly do??? In my opinion, I dont know much about actually making music but I listen to some damn good bands (Cream, The Who, Stones, Zeppelin and some other bands you talk about) and I prefer listening to Mitchell play drums over Baker, Moon whom I think is way overrated, and Bonham. He may not be a better drummer but just playing with Hendrix at the crazy energy level he plays at, Mitchell grabs my attention and keeps it. His Woodstock performance and Ladyland alone place him in the top three drummers for me. I also like the bass playing by Noel Redding, everyone says they like Billy Cox better but if I'm not mistaken Redding plays bass on three studio albums from Exp. to Ladyland and the bass sounds great to me. As I said before I'm not a muscian and dont know excatly how guys make the sounds they make with their respective instruments but the Hendrix Experience is the only band I have listened to and could not find a song I just wanted to play again as soon as I heard it. I know its all personal preference but this is by far my favorite band and live performers. The only person I like more than Hendrix as an individual is Dylan whom I just love. Well with all that said I must say I love your website and its by far the best classic rock site I have ever visited. I would love to listen to the majority of the albums you review in my life. I am only 19 so I dont have near the record collection as you but I have a few albums by a few of these bands you talk about and I must say you are one of the most knowledgable people I have read about on the net when it comes to classic rock. Well I would just like to say thanks for all the info about so many classic rock bands and HENDRIX DESERVES A FIVE.

Javier Rodriguez <javier@interactiveedge.com> (04.12.2000)

Not only do you have no understanding of Jimi's musical ability, I can guarantee you (even if you are Eric Clapton) that you are in no way as talented as Jimi, s why knock his shit??? Jimi was doing something that few artist save for Morrison and Miles were doing and that is pushing their music in spite of themselves. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to crank out 'Voodoo Chile 1 , 2, 3' but instead he tried to explore his roots. Oh and by the way Electric Ladyland is the best Hendrix Album ever, spiritual funky and cool, just like Morrisoon and Miles

<Sabbath246@aol.com> (15.12.2000)

I disagree with your comment that this was "the first ever hard rock album". The first ever hard rock album was The Doors' debut, released just four months before this. While the impact of this album is obvious, it's just not as influential and mystical as The Doors. Jimi was, of course, a guitar mastermind, but I can think of two players who could bury him without hesitation: Carlos Santana and Floyd's Dave Gilmour, in my mind the two greatest and most emotional players ever to walk the Earth. Anyway, this album is still f.cking great. Aside from the over-rated tunes "Hey Joe", "Foxy Lady", the title track, and "Purple Haze" (the psychedelic anthem that defined a generation), there's killer cuts like "Manic Depression", "Red House", "Highway Child" and "The Wind Cries Mary". This album is great, but if you want to hear Jimi at his absolute best, get Live At Woodstock. It'll knock u on yer ass!!!

Travis Rogers <travisr@nwark.net> (25.12.2000)

I can agree with your overall rating of Hendrix as a 4. My only question would be who is a 5? Certainly not Clapton. Believe me I am a Clapton fan, but how could you possibly rate Clapton, or anyone else, above Hendrix? Who has had more of an influence on rock music to this date? That is any ONE person. Sure Jimi had a band, but without Jimi who would've ever heard of Mitch Mitchell or Noel Redding? Let me say foremost that Jimi was a blues guitarists as was Eric. Jimi broke out of the main stream shell of popular rock in the sixties more than Clapton did. To even consider anything that Clapton has done since late 1970 really isn't fair is it? After all, who knows what Jimi might have recorded for us? So with that as a frame or scope of comparison, who was the most influential? I believe the proof lies in the fact that you even have this web page and so many people are taking part in this discussion 30 years later.

[Special author note: FYI, I actually gave Clapton a three, not a five. Solo Clapton, at least - Cream gets the same rating as Hendrix, and it's actually hard to determine who's been more influential, Cream or Jimi. Led Zeppelin, for instance, obviously were more influenced by Cream, and we all know how influential Led Zeppelin were. But basically, I never rated Clapton above Hendrix. Read carefully, please.]

<YANKIES96@aol.com> (11.01.2001)

To say Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist every to live i think is unfair. There are to many people out there who have been hitting that six string from the day they where old enough to walk. To many people you may never know, or hear about. However in my mind Jimi Hendrix is undoubtable the most influential guitarist to ever live. He was in a world of his own and, i really disagree with comparing him to Pete Townshend. I have nothing against the Who, but come on Pete Townshend. I mean Jimi Hendrix was godly the way he played that thing.

Erik Crimmin <ecrimmin@crai.com> (08.02.2001)

While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, let's talk about what Eric Clapton thought of Jimmy Hendrix. The first time he saw him play with his band, Clapton was shell shocked: he "couldn't believe what Hendrix could do with the guitar" and wondered why he himself played guitar when someone like Hendrix had so obviously mastered the instrument through raw genius. Clapton understood the gap between his and Hendrix' skills spanned far beyond what lifetimes of practicing or inspiration could fill. Genius, like perfect balance or athletic intuition, has no substitute.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (18.04.2001)

Jimi Hendrix was great and he was also a big influential factor, he was a VERY BIG influential factor! He could make such a fantastic tricks with his guitar! You're right when you say, that Jimi treated guitar like the part of his body. Yes, he was marvellous!!! It comes to mind hearing even only one of his compositions, for example "Purple Haze". He released such masterpieces like Are You Experienced? and Electric Ladyland, it's obvious, that he's great! And I think, that it's not fair to compare the guitarists (although comparision of great guitarists hardly can not be), it's better not to do it, because the greatest guitarists have the unique styles of their own and....in short, there's no need to compare the guitarists, although it's often difficult to manage without it. I like both Hendrix and Clapton and a lot of people like both Hendrix and Clapton, so why do we need to compare them? Let's better better talk about their guitar skills separately. They both are magnificent! It's not the appeal to you, George(youdo it right discussing Jimi separately and I completely agree with you on that), but to many narrow-minded critics. Jimi Hendix was one of the most significant musicians ever and his name will beeternal not only in music history, but in a whole history. And his guitar isthe unique wonderful incomprehensible fantastic phenomenon, that hardly can be repeated ever by definition.

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (30.07.2001)

Certainly a legendary guitar player. What tone, style, and creative licks from this guy. He was quite an underrated singer too. Maybe not as powerful technically but he certainly laid his emotions on the table. Not a bad songwriter either. 'Little Wing', 'Purple Haze', 'Foxey Lady', 'Fire', etc.. are simple in structure but when combined with Jimiís flashy guitar style are elevated to great heights. Whereas I only have the Smash Hits compilations from my record collecting days, I can certainly foresee an upgrade to a good all-inclusive Box Set. Collecting a bunch of the records does not seem like my style, as Jimiís overall style is a bit limited to guitar heroics. But oh what a guitar!

Eric Benac <benac@voyager.net> (10.05.2002)

i agree with you. jimi was shit when it came to writing songs. i have the three experience albums, and i can tell you the reason why the songs that are the best known on each album are the best known: they're the best he did. i guess though he still has that amazing guitar squaling ability. but is he THE GREATEST GUITARIST EVER? i don't know. his solos are emotional, and his riffs great, but on a technical ability, is he as good as clapton? i don't think so. he's even beat out by guitar shredders like van halen and randy rhoads. of course, i'm talking only on a technical level. i also think his originiality is over rated. pete townshend was doing the feedback squalls (and better in my opinion) before hendrix was, and jeff beck was fucking around, almost making hard rock. people then may point to sound things like third rock from the sun, and are you experienced? and say that these songs are very original and experimental. well, not really. pink floyd was doing this kind of stuff before he was. his guitar playing ability is the only reason to get into him. his song writing is poor, his singing is grating, and he wasn't nearly as original as people give him credit for. i think a four is very fair, that's probably what i would give him to. and i think mitch mitchell and noel redding were very important as well. in fact, mitch mitchell is one of my favorite drummers.

<Crazyandrew7@aol.com> (16.07.2002)

i have just bought a jimi hendrix dvd. live at WoodStock. its fuckin awsome. jimi hendrix at his best. i believe that jimi is the greatest guitarist of all time. his music never gets old. and still today, people are fascinated with his music. no guitarist no and days are even near his league of guitar playing. but in the past there has been several guitarist that have been good but not close to jimi.

Pete Schlenker <peteschl@yahoo.com> (07.08.2002)

Since there seems to be a LOT of controversy over the Hendrix vs Clapton thing (which I'm sure to, metaphorically speaking, dump a gallon of gasoline on, since I seem to land on the side opposite the our webmaster here) let me mention a couple Hendrix notes.

1) Band Of Gypses is my favorite album of all time. I am not kidding. Maybe it's cause I love funk and soul, and so hearing the best (IMHO) rock guitar player pound out some borderline funk, it's pretty damn cool. And plus I adore "Who Knows", although no one else seems to.

2) A Hendrix album I think like 10 people own was put out by Rykodisc in like 1987, called Live at Winterland, in which not only does Jack Cassady show up and play an almost dualing bass on 'Killing Floor', but the Expierence cover, wha hee!, 'Sunshine of Your Love'. And yes, it's better than the original version. As I've said before on this site, I'm an absolute sucker for live music (it tends to sound, um, less sterile, than studio music) and to hear Hendrix play the "classic" Cream song is great. I would like to know if anyone else has heard of this album, and what they think about it.

Of course, if they side that Clapton was better than Hendrix, I think I will stab myself in the leg in frustration.

Matt Amedeo <MA815@aol.com> (28.09.2002)

This is short and to the point - Jini Hendrix was the best guitar player ever and Are You Experienced was the best hard rock album ever. Enough said !!

anlormarechal <anlormarechal@wanadoo.fr> (20.10.2002)

I won't discuss about Hendrix's overall evaluation of 4. After all it is justified (though a 5 would be justified too). But there's one thing I don't understand : why did you put only 2/5 about diversity ???

Jimi could rock hard when he wanted to rock, he could make sounds that no one else could with his guitar, but he also could play the blues like a true bluesman (in fact he WAS a true bluesman before he discovered rock and begun to play rock), he could make sweet ballads, and sometimes he went into jazz improvisation. You know, some modern heavy metal guitarists still consider Hendrix as a model ; well-known bluesmen (BB King, Albert King, Albert Collins... and youngers, like Stevie Ray Vaughan) say he was a great blues guitarist, and Miles Davis and Gil Evans acknowledged he was a great composer (Evans would play 1 or 2 Hendrix compositions during his concerts)...

Can you give me an album that holds more different styles of music than Electric Ladyland ? there are classic rock (Crosstown Traffic), hard rock (Voodoo Chile SR), epic blues (Voodoo Chile), some pop songs (Burning of the midnight lamp), jazzy tunes (Rainy Day), psychedelic experiments (And the gods made love, 1983), R'n'B (Come on)... in the same album ! and you dare to say that Hendrix lacked of diversity ?!

<DNHSKH@aol.com> (30.07.2003)

JIMI HAD SKILL TO A NEW LEVEL AND COULD TURN FEEDBACK INTO SOMETHIG AMAZING HE NEVER REALLY HAD ANY COMPITITION WITH HIS STAGE PRESANCE AND GREAT MUSIC HES BYFAR THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME AND 1967 PREFORMANCE OF WILD THING DONT GET ME STARTED AND 4 YOU JIMI HATERS IF HE AINT GREAT WHY DID STEVIE RAY VAUGHN IMMATATE HIM JIMI AND HIS MUSIC WILL ALWAYS INSPIAR GENERATION AFTER GENERATION.............................

Brian Adkins <Brian.Adkins@Enerwise.com> (23.09.2003)

I used to read your reviews all the time and have now had time to listen to some of the albums that I read about before actually hearing the album. You always have great points in your reviews and once again I thank you for helping me spend my money on albums that have talent present within them. Even if I did have to listen to some of them seemingly a hundred times before getting what you're saying. With Jimi, again you explain him better than anyone else I've seen review him, except Pete Townsend of course. I love how you can call someone the greatest without saying they're better than everyone else, very clever : )  Have you seen a recent copy of the magazine Rolling Stone where they list the 100 greatest guitarists of all time? I would certainly like you to write them a letter and set them straight, Duane Allman the second greatest of all time behind Jimi, say what? But anyway, one thing I did like about it was that Pete Townsend wrote the review on Jimi. He made the quote that he felt sorry for Eric Clapton because Clapton actually thought he could be as good as Jimi. To me, Jimi's guitar is extremely uhh, I guess you could say soulful. When he bends a string, he bends it farther than it's ever been bent before. It just grabs me down inside and puts "goose-bumps" all over my arms and back. He has tons of sounds that I could go on and on about but as you've mentioned, everyone else has already did that so I'll try to refrain. If you're reading, just listen to the notes on the song "Are You Experienced" and you'll see what I mean about the "goose-bumps". I also think that Jimi's early death actually helped his reviews more than it hurts them. Morrison dying on The Doors was about the only band that I think were truly getting better when the death occurred. Joplin, Hendrix, Lennon, Cream (even though no member died) and about any other tragic death I can think of all where getting worse when they died. By no means do I think it was the drugs making the music worse, I just think Jimi released too many of his good ideas on his original album and couldn't find a way to top them. I mean if you would take some of the songs from these first three albums and transpose them, it would've seemed like he was, as the Beatles say "Getting Better All The Time".  For example, if he released his "Wait Until Tomorrow" type songs first, then experimented with the "Cross-Town Traffic" kind of stuff then went into his "Are You Experienced" (the song) kind of playing, I would probably feel much differently. But he didn't and this tells me that he was probably pressured into being better than EVERYONE right off the bat as soon as his skills were realized. Damn Chas Chandler for loving money more than music! But Jimi is awesome, he just didn't put out enough albums to be as good as The Beatles, The Stones and The Who. Yes, I didn't mention Dylan, his musical/writing talents are just like Jimi playing guitar, no one can even be compared. But with all this said, I did not find anyone of Jimi's three albums that I own (ARE YOU EXPERIENCED, AXIS, ELECTRIC LADY LAND) to be disappointing. I also adore the two live albums I have (WOODSTOCK and BBC) so definitely get these albums if you don't already. Jimi is certainly one of the most unique, well-respected musicians of all time, and with good reason. But please don't call Jimi the greatest musician of all time, he didn't really play long enough or put out enough albums to prove that, just adore him for what he was.

James Clyne <J.Clyne@psych.york.ac.uk> (13.02.2004)

The following is my attempt to argue for why Hendrix is the greatest guitar player ever.

I wonder how many of the comments are from actual guitarists? This is not to diminish the importance of those who appreciate good music (they are the life blood) and on the whole the Hendrix catalogue, to them, delivers - this is not to say that there are not fillers in there. Yet, on this point, all bands have fillers, it is a fact of the recording / record release process. So Hendrix has some, all that shows is that he recorded music. Have a listen to the Beatles, album by album, there are some desperate fillers but they are still the greatest pop band ever. Why? Because it is not about the lows, nor the mediocre it is about the highs. Which bring me back to my first inquiry. I wonder how many of the comments are from actual guitarists?

The reason for this question is that it highlights why Jimi is so revered and is regarded to be the greatest guitarist of all time. It is all about the highs and from a guitarist point of view this means: how influential they are and just how damn hard they are to play. Sure, 'Voodoo Chile (slight return)' is a an e flat blues, twelve bar, nice riff, piece and there are thousands like it. Yet, have you tried playing it the way Jimi played it? This is the distinct difference.

In Jimi's playing we have a rhythm and blues basis - he was a jobbing rhythm player for many a year. On top of this we have the standard blues / rock soloing - the T-bone licks, pull offs, hammer ons, and the such like, indulgent noodling aplenty. On top of this we have the Jazz octaves, diminished ... well actually we have all the chord forms and scales you can think of, obscure time signature; such is the nature of Jazz. On top of that we have the classical element (the most overlooked element of Jimi's playing) there are arpeggios, short stops, trill, accented chords, harmonics, etc - if you listen hard, mid chordal progression tapping can also be found. On top of this we have the confidence and familiarity with the instrument - his guitar. This is not a mythical symbiosis. As every biography about Hendrix will tell you he was nigh on inseparable from his guitar. He practiced a phenomenal amount. On top of this you have the soulful other. This is that other all musicians bring to their music.

Now all guitarist have some of the above to some degree. Most good guitairst have one to a good degree. The great ones have a couple and usually one to an exceptional degree - think Stevie Ray Vaughn or Clapton for blues, Satriani, Vai or Howe for rock / classical, Townsend for rock / soulful. Of course there are many others. What is different about Hendrix is he had all, in exceptional abundance. Yeah, we can say 'it's not as clean as Clapton' or 'but is it proper blues?' and many other comments but this is to miss the point. Hendrix did all of the above and in most cases, in any direction, as well as any of those for whom it was their area of expertise - Miles Davis was obsessed with Machine Gun calling a 'genius piece of free form jazz'. Hendrix was not a one or two dimensional player, he was an holistic player: if it was right, it was in - his ability allowed him that level of creativity.

A point that brings me again back to my question, 'have you ever tried playing like Jimi?' For what makes Jimi stand out is this effortless melding of all of these things. And then on top of that he added, feel. Now this is not to be confused with soulfulness; that is to do with direction, decisions made in the writing stage. Feel is what you do when you are performing and none come close. This is why Hendrix is so damn hard to transcribe. Here I make the obvious point that we are not talking about the off nights (Morrison dribbling on the microphone in accompaniment et al.) we are talking about, as George rightly points out, 'Woodstock' or 'Berkley' or 'Winterland' (which for my money is the best live version of Voodoo Chile). The moments when all other guitarist realize they could not do that. They could do parts but not all of it. 'Sure', I hear you cry, 'but I have heard ..................... (fill as applicable) do this, that or the other and it sounded better and they even played it faster'. But is that the point? Hendrix did it first, he changed the world of guitar playing (and not just rock) and also I have never heard anyone match a set like 'Voodoo Chile' to 'Villanova Junction' or even come close. It is the grail of guitar playing. Yeah, we all have our heroes, as Hendrix had his, but when it comes to talking about the greatest you have to say the most complete and the one with the most influence. Who else are you going to offer up? There is no point my listing names because none of them can hit such a criteria. Few could even play that set if you gave them as long as they wanted to practice and beyond that what level of feel would they achieve. The greatest is about having it all and that is Hendrix, and then he had the cheek, sometimes, to make the listener realize that fact. And this is where the catalogue steps in. It lets the listener live the magic of what getting it right, absolutely right, is about.

Sure, criticize the sloppy playing at times, the poor song writing at times, the plethora of lows but never deny the highs: Hendrix at his most ecclectic, expressive, and technical best is far and above anyone else. He is the greatest guitar player ever for that reason. To separate him out under the guise of being 'too different' is misguided. He is the greatest because he did it all, not his own thing, he did all their things and did them exceptionally.


ALBUMS
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (25.10.99)

I'm reading your review of Are You Experienced, and am absolutely flabbergasted; there were actually versions of this LP without 'Hey Joe,' 'Purple Haze,' and 'Wind Cries Mary'? Damn the record company indeed!!

Otherwise, yeah, fantastic. The only Hendrix I own (I'll probably get EL and A:BaL eventually, though), but it's fine enough for me. I'd be shocked if any of his other albums could possibly be better than this one.

Nick Karn <glassmoondt@yahoo.com> (25.10.99)

The first significant revolution in electric guitar playing - what can I say about this one? Here's something: if there was ever a studio record (and this is a debut!) that can come close to resembling a greatest hits collection. it's gotta be Are You Experienced?. Before I heard this record and looked at the track listing, I was stunned by how many of the songs I already knew either from radio airplay or cover versions - EIGHT out of eleven tracks.

I gotta agree with you that "Purple Haze" (later badly bludgeoned, hardly 'covered' by Winger) is the top song on this album - amazingly distinctive riff that proves your point, like all the other tracks do, that his main strength was indeed creating memorable riffs. "Manic Depression" (later covered by King's X) also has fine playing (especially from Mitch Mitchell, a highly underappreciated player in my opinion) and lyrics as well - they may be a bit too derived from Dylan, but are still FAR from fluff like so many other hard songs from the late 60s on). "Hey Joe" (later re-covered by The Offspring) is an awesome cover version with lots of fire, and it also shows his shy nature in the studio at the time. "Love And Confusion" and "May This Be Love" are two great lesser tracks (the former with a haunting atmosphere, and the latter actually one of my favorite tracks on the album with beautiful guitar textures and colorful imagery). "I Don't Live Today" (later covered by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), meanwhile, succeeds on its' frantic nature (especially at the end).

The second half opener "The Wind Cries Mary" is just beautiful, expressive and just as memorable as the more electrifying cuts, while "Fire" (later covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) has amazing sexual energy and is an outstanding example of Jimi's chemistry with the experience. "Third Stone From The Sun" is trippy, weird, and certainly interesting, "Foxey Lady" is sexually energized yet again with an appropriate riff for the occasion, while the title track is the most obviously trippy and psychedelic, and is another one of my personal favorites because of it - great year, 1967. As for this album, one of the easiest 10's I've ever given out, and one of the few releases I've heard that's generally perfect straight through.

<TheManticoreKing@aol.com> (28.01.2000)

Strange is may seem 'Fire' is not about sex. According to a compliation I have, with a brief biography in the liner notes, He enetered a home after remaining in the cold. I forget who the person was, I think a relative of one of the memebers of the Experience. He was freezing and pleaded the resident, "Please, let me stand next to your fire" but there dog remained perched there and refused to move. Yes, I know it sounds dumb but that's how the story goes...

[Special author note: hmmm... sounds rather fishy to me. Wouldn't that be a myth, like that story about Phil Collins and the drowned guy? Not to mention that the rest of the lyrics hardly confirms this hypothesis...]

Hunter Smith <Huntr3@aol.com> (11.02.2000)

Actually, i think he might be right about "Fire." Noel Redding claims that they were in England in December, i believe, and they stopped by Redding's mother's house. Jimi was cold. He asked if he could stand by the fire. The pooch was in the way. I know that this doesnt explain the "You dont care for me, i dont care about that" part or the "You say your momma ain't home, that ain't my concern" part either, but it does take care of the "Move over, Rover... and let Jimi take over." Of course it doesnt make sense. JIMI himself didnt make too much sense. But thats the story according to Noel Redding, and he seems to be a pretty serious chap, so......

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (17.03.2000)

The Hendrix family have done a really good job remastering Jimi's catalogue. And the Experience's debut album is really price-worthy, I mean; how can an album with "Foxy Lady", "Fire", "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze" and "The Wind Cries Mary" miss? It just can't. Particulary when you have hidden gems like the excellent "Highway Chile", which easily could have been a hit with that riff. This is *the* Hendrix album and it perfectly explains Hendrix's act and why he was so successful.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (02.04.2000)

Don't expect me to try to be different and say something bad about Are You Experienced?, 'cause you'll get no such thing out of me. However, I would like to write this review from the point of view of a Saul who has converted to a Paul - I must honestly say that when I first bought this album it really didn't appeal to me. I mean, I respected it immensely (can anyone with a proper sense of history NOT?), but I didn't really enjoy it, truth be told, because my basic musical predilections are towards melody (a la The Beatles) or ambient sounds (a la Eno and Bowie), neither of which this album has in abundance. Only after being floored by Electric Ladyland (my metaphorical road to Damascus) could I come back and appreciate the stripped-down fury of this album. Yes, I just described the album as "stripped-down," despite all the fancy effects and geegaws Hendrix puts on his guitar, because despite Hendrix's showy guitar, this music is as basic and unprententious as it gets, hippie lyrics aside. I'm sure it must have seemed quite the opposite to contemporary audiences: what on EARTH was the precedent for this in rock music? What even gave a hint of the music Hendrix would make prior to his arrival? The closest I think you can get is The Who on My Generation (yet not on A Quick One), but that's a pale shadow of AYE?'s impact. It must've been like dropping a 10-ton boulder into a lake: the immediate result was a tidal wave, the ripples were felt by everybody, and even after 30+ years, we're still catching the aftershocks.

But if the best case I could make for Are You Experienced? was a historical one, I would probably still hold it at the respectful distance I did when I first bought it. No, this album might be a historical document, but it's also a perfect rock 'n' roll record (and not "rock," but "rock 'n' roll," - I'd agree with Dylan that there's an important difference between the two, and the "roll" aspect of rock has sadly gone by the wayside in recent years in favor of dull plodding). I mean, it's amazing; I have something like 900 CDs and 27 boxed sets, which means I try not to obsess on any one band too much at a time (because I want to listen to as much stuff as possible), and yet I find myself listening to this for 60 minutes, and immediately wanting to go back and hear it again. So many records I love have aged, become a little less exciting with repeated listenings (like Who's Next, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, or Bowie's Scary Monsters (And Supercreeps), to name but a few major ones) but this one doesn't get boring. And that's an achievement of the first order considering the fact that I'm not naturally disposed to Hendrix in the first place.

It's almost silly to review the individual songs, since every one is a stone cold classic. I'd just like to say that "Purple Haze" does nothing special for me whatsoever; I insist that the only reason it's held in higher regard than say, "Manic Depression" is because it was released first. Not to say that it ain't great, but that everything else here is just as good (bar perhaps "Remember," which is the ONE song that is noticeably less inspired than the others). Like "Love Or Confusion," for example. That's my personal favorite on the album. Can anybody give me one good reason why every rock fan hasn't commited this song to memory? It's just riff after riff of amazing music, powered by those drums. Speaking of drums, I'd also like to say that the secret weapon of Jimi Hendrix is Mitch Mitchell. I guarantee you that this album would not have been half as good as it is were it not for Mitch Mitchell's absolutely amazing work on the trapset. Noel Redding's a good anchor on bass, but Mitchell is absolutely spectacular, perhaps the best drummer of the Sixties after a certain Mr. Moon. Mitchell's drumming on this album deserved to win the Nobel Prize - in physics. A 10/10, of course, and there's so much more I could say. And really, George, this is where your "artist rating" system kind of breaks down; how on earth could this album rationally deserve anything but a 15/15? But it can only get a 14 the way you've set it up. C'mon, man, it's one of the most important albums of the last half-century!

In fact, here's one more thing: try to find the MCA remaster of this album rather than the Hendrix family version, not only because of the liner notes (which I mentioned above), but because of the much more logical (and faithful) track listing. This is the somewhat confusing story: way back in 1967, this album was released in the U.K. before it was in the U.S., chiefly because us Americans are racist bastards. Prior to its release, Hendrix released three singles, perhaps you've heard of them?: "Hey Joe"/"Stone Free" (released December 1966), "Purple Haze"/"51st Anniversary" (released March 1967), and "The Wind Cries Mary"/"Highway Chile" (released May 1967, concurrently with Are You Experienced?). Hard as it may be for some Americans to believe, these songs were NOT on the UK version of the album (they were put onto the US version, and "Red House, "Can You See Me?," and "Remember" were dropped), and the MCA remaster did right in placing the singles/B-sides at the front of the disc and then giving the album in its original, UK running order. Because let's put American snobbishness aside (unlike Dave Marsh in his liner notes for the new Hendrix Family version of the album) and admit that the UK version is the authentic one, just like the British Revolver or Rubber Soul are the authentic versions of those albums. If you want to set up your Hendrix Family disc to play in the original running order (I always do), here's how you program it (I've thrown so much useless information into this review, why not this too?): (singles/B-sides) 3, 12, 1, 13, 7, 14, (UK AYE? album) 10, 2, 17, 15, 4, 6, 5, 8, 9, 16, 11. Have fun.

Oh, and one final thing: after listening to "Hey Joe," I think we can all safely say we know where Jimmy Page REALLY stole the "Whole Lotta Love" riff from.

Joel Larsson <joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (16.01.2001)

This one is a little overrated, I think. The first hard rock album, yes, but a 10? I'll rather give it a strong 9, with the reason that there are too many bad songs on here. Well, let me see... 'Foxy lady', 'manic depression', 'red house' 'hey Joe', 'highway Chile', 'purple haze', 'love or confusion','the wind cries Mary' and 'third stone from the sun' are all very good, a couple of them even amazing, but then we have the rest with songs like 'remember' and '51st anniversary' which are Hendrix, sure, but only fantasyless Hendrix, and those fantasyless songs, grr... I hate them! 'Fire'... everybody seem to like that onebut "peep" if I do! That song and several of its type doesn't have more than a trace of a good melody. But I'll probably live my life without sharing that opinion with anyone else!

Federico Marcon <federicomarcon@libero.it> (10.02.2001)

Oh, what can I say about this album?Peraphs it is the best Hendrix album,mainly because,unlike Axis: Bold As Love or Band Of Gipsies,here there is not boring song (I agree with you about Hendrix as songwriter) exept for "Remember" or "51 Anniversary".The album greatly starts with the pumping funk-soul sound of "Foxy Lady",continuing with the brainstorming "Manic Depression" (one of the first,and best too, chaotic and feedback-based song,a thousand miles away from things like "European Son" bythe Velvet Underground -a pathetic stuff according to me- );one of the best thing here is the genial use of crash and ride by Mitchell (this guy truly created a waterfall of sound!).And now the first gem:"Red House", a 12/8 blues that show the ability of this guy to play this kind of music;only a complain here:the bass:Redding is not Entwistle, but he could surely play a richer bass line.I found an interesting interpretation of this song in an Hendrix biography by...I can't remember.The author says that Hendrix was inspired by "The Book Of Hopi",written in the early ' 60 by an American guy who had collected Indian legends and mythes.According to this book in the ancient Mexico existed a mysterious town called "Red Town Of South";this town was a religious center, also called "Palatkwapi", a term that can be translated in English with "Red House" (I' m looking for more informations about this book for sending them to you).In the town there was a pyramid, with 4 levels,used for religious ceremonies.Here the men were trained in occult by strange creatures, called "Kachina".After a long training someone could acced to the fourth level and know all about the planets,the stars and life by speaking with the Creator.But someone could deviate from this way : so he' d lose the ability of speaking to the Creator.Maybe Hendrix, who read this book (as other biographies say), was thinking about this when he wrote the song (expecially for the verses "...the key doesn' t look the door...":Jimi can 't return where he wants,the fourth level,peraphs).

I want to focus your attention on "Third Stone From The Sun"; as you said, one of the best melody Jimi ever wrote.It ' s possible that this song could have been inspired by "Ain' t Nobody Here But Us Chickens",written by Louis Jordan,a blues song with some sax in it.The fantascentific elements in lyric are used by Hendrix to inlustrate the desperation of the human condition when man has no spiritual values.This stellar and spiritual music has a lot of common points with jazz, expecially for the influence of Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane on guitar style and for the "duel" between Hendrix and Mitchell that reminds to me the duels between Coltrane and Elvin Jones.Another important element of this song is that here you may listen to the finest example of controlled feedback by Hendrix .

And what about the other songs?The anthem "Are You Experienced" can be seen as the introducing act to the psychedelic era,with his innovative wall of sounds made with a lot of guitar and feedback overdubs,"The Wind Cries Mary",a great ballad sure ,but not very original for the lyrics (Jimi imitated Dylan) and for music (it' s a generic blues)exept for the beautiful solo... but you have already made a lot of appreciations on these songs , I agree with you for the most of your rewiew, so, for the sake of originality, I want to speak about some bad things of this album.

I think that Mitchell is a very underrated player : with his jazzing , dirty sound ( you may say psychedelic, as well) and his "continual shaking", he adds a lot to the Hendrix sound.But sometimes , according to me,he has to be clearer and more precise : I can' t stand his drums on "Stone Free", expecially on the choruses: they become confused, not very strong (fast,sure,but not strong,without the necessary groove: to understand what I want to say, check out ,on "Disraeli Gears",the sublime drum work by Baker in "Swlabr").It would be better a sound like the Buddy Miles' s one,for instance (listen to "Stone Free" in the "Live At Fillmore East" or the beginning drums in "Machine Gun").On the other side ,here Redding is fantastic;a question here is unavoidable:why these guys BOTHnever write a good arrangment for their own instruments?.About drums ,"I Don' T Live Today" suffers the same problem of "Stone Free",but here the fascinating drum-solo intro dissolves all the criticisms. And now :Noel Redding;what 's wrong with this guy?Not so bad,I admit,try to listen to other ' 60 bass players,like P. Quaife,R. Waters or B. Wyman (NO, forget the last name!).

Peraphs the main problem on this albumis not the little ability of Hendrix as songwriter (here the songs are all good,sometimes so-so,but never bad) but the lyrics:except for "Manic Depression","Purple Haze","Are You Experienced" and "The Wind Cries Mary" that create,expecially the first three amisty and suggestive atmosphere,they are too generic ("Can You See Me ?" and "Remember") or , like "51st Anniversary" and "Foxy Lady", full of common places and without originality.

There' s anybody still saying that YOU George writes long rewiews?Thanks to all able to stand me until this point;hi George and keep up the good work!

PS. The book of Indian legends I was talking about in my comment of Are You Experienced is: WATERS FRANK, "Book Of The Hopi", Ballantine ed,1963.

arnaud.serriere <ar.serriere@infonie.fr> (18.09.2001)

Following are my comments about Are you experienced? by Jimi Hendrix. I hope my poor english is understandable. I congratulate for your amazing web site.

Unfortunately, the CD I own does not contain the six bonus tracks. However the eleven other tracks are made of such terrific musical material that I enjoy Are you experienced? very much.

First Jimi Hendrix shows that he can play very different styles of music : ballads with 'the wind cries Mary', stunning rocks with 'Purple haze', psychedelic songs with 'Third stone from the sun' . That is why this album is so very different from Electric Ladyland, which is much more homogeneous. Are you experienced? is Jimi Hendrix' "Quintessential album" and Electric Ladyland Jimi Hendrix' "best album".

What attracts me in this album is the simplicity of the songs (simplicity is not synonymous of poorness). There is nothing to add about classics like 'Purple Haze', 'Hey Joe' or 'Foxy Lady'. Compared to them the other songs do not look weak at all. Take for example 'I don't live today' which begins with a amazing "drums riff"; in a second part, there is an energetic "guitar riff" in response and the song ends with a kind of psychedelic improvisation. Of course, 'May this be love' is not very interesting. 'Third stone from the sun' is a bit boring but it is a first step to beautiful instrumental parts in Electric Ladyland.

A good summary for this album is the eponymous song : a hear-catching introduction, a superb guitar solo with an inimitable sound, Jimi Hendrix ' warm voice between speaking and singing and drums to make all of it stick together.

Joe H <jcjh@home.com> (14.11.2001)

Great record. All 11 songs are absolutely ace if you ask me, including the title track, which is just a really great psychadelic song. My favorites on here are either "May this be love" (just a beautiful ballad with some evocative solos at the end) and/or "Manic Depression", which is about "a cat who wishes he could make love to music". Think that "cat" is Jimi himself? Perhaps. And of course "Purple Haze", "Foxy Lady", "Fire", "Hey Joe" and "Wind Cries Mary" are all classic songs i hear lots of times on the classic rock station (i usually never hear any "classic rock" songs on that station prior to those so i suppose this is the first "Classic rock" album, or like George said, simply The first hard rock record). I agree with the rating (or 10/10 at prindles site). Ohh, and those extra songs songs on my CD are inferior to the classic 11 tracks, but still good (i think "Remember", "Red House" and "Highway Chile" are the highlights out of those).

Ryan Maffei <chaucer@ix.netcom.com> (30.03.2002)

I unabashedly love Jimi Hendrix's work. And this is the recording that best exemplifies his worthiness and appeal. The world owes leagues to Animals bassist/producer Chas Chandler. At the hands of this man, all at once, Jimi plugged in his instrument, and revolutionized hard-rock, guitar mastery, and gritty psychedelia. This record, which is in fact, as George states, the very first hard-rock album of all time, is truly a breathtaking experience, with each of the great cuts possessing as much potency as they did back in '67. With the stellar rhythm combo of Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass, Jimi tears through such pulsating now-standards as the powerful opening tune, "Purple Haze", the stunning blues track "Hey Joe" (the point at which the album picks up on the US Version), the sonically and texturally innovative "Love or Confusion", the beautiful "May this Be Love" and "The Wind Cries Mary", the bludgeoning hard-rock "Foxey Lady", and the maddening closing title track, each possessing more impact in themselves than an entire Zeppelin or Sabbath record. You've never heard a guy more equally equipped with soul, swagger, and prowess--seriously. I've never heard anything like it, anyway. This is truly a landmark recording, and one which everyone must own (that is, at least, the US version-the UK version differs greatly, and inexplicably omits "Hey Joe" and "The Wind Cries Mary" in favor of the weak "Remember" and "Can You Hear Me?". However, the inclusion of "Red House" as a UK only track is certainly a merit to that version, As well as an annoyance to US buyers. This is all info that's in my opinion...can't say I've had much experience with the Russian version).


LIVE AT MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (13.03.99)

I've got this one as part of the Monterey box set, which includes Hendrix's whole set. "Killing Floor" and "Rock Me" smokes of course. I also like all album and single cuts; can you ever get enough of live "Purple Haze"s? I think "Hey Joe" is great, too. I don't know, maybe that's because The Byrds does an awful cover of it on the previous disc of the box set. On a side note, Crosby introduces their "Hey Joe" by dedicating it to "a cat whose gonna perform here tonight - Jimi Hendrix". The crowd didn't make a sound, of course, they had no idea who he was; but the next day, they would know. Ah, well - I like the cover of "Like A Rolling Stone", actually. Perhaps because it's totally unpredictable. The original is superior of course, but I have heard worse covers of it, I tell you. He seems so self-assured on that one; perfectly in control of the song ("yes, I know I missed a verse; don't worry"). I think he catches some of the charm and power of the song, but just some. Just one question; why does he keep refering to Bob Dylan's grand-mother? He does it, like, three times during the set. Seems to come right out of the blue. Well, Jimi's completely unpredictable - like when he seemingly launches into "Strangers In The Night" during "Wild Thing". The guitar burning and smashing during the same number is of course also unpredictable, but should be seen on film. All in all, I think Jimi's Monterey show is far more than historical importance.

Andy Hagg <notthecrust@hotmail.com> (31.12.2001)

Hello!

My name is Andy and I would first like to say that I really enjoy your website. It is very truthful and very concise. I've only read a few reviews but I do enjoy the ones I've read.

I only want to comment on one quote.

"This means one thing: you don't really need any live Hendrix albums if you're not a complete fan"

I disagree with this statment. I know you probably get emails from fans all around stating people's "true" opinions about their favorite bands. But.... I have to say that this statement is misguided. You take this show that you are reviewing and compare it to just about every live show Jimi has done. You did mention the Woodstock performance worth watching.

The only reason why I am criticizing your criticism is because Jimi was fantastic at all of his shows even when he was in terrible form. His live material is worth listening to above and beyond his studio material because it was so different. The songs that were recorded in the studio with overdubs and numerous guitar solos was imitated on stage with only 3 musicians. Why do you think that there are so many people trading his live shows through the net? Each show is just as brilliant as the next.

Jimi was the best 'guitarist' ever, what instrument do you think he was playing?

Clapton couldn't be the best guitarist ever, he ripped off just about every big hit he had by the man named J.J. Cale. He even ripped off Marley. Why not some other guitarist like John McLaughlin or Randy Rhoads or Peter Green or any other great guitarist. I love Clapton and think he was definitely one of the greatest, but not THE greatest.

Thanks for listenin' and I'll keep reading what you write!


AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (02.04.2000)

I've got to admit, For the longest time I never really understood Axis: Bold As Love. Recently it's begun to improve in my estimation, but it's still gruesomely overrated. I see some people inexplicably rating it as Hendrix's finest album (pace Wilson & Alroy), but all I see is a really good but not great album which has been elevated to immortality by the Hendrix Myth. You know that myth: it's the one which says that everything he released while he was alive was brilliant, perfect, and touched with divine genius. And, as folks like George and Mark Prindle have calmly pointed out, it's just that - a myth. Well okay, Mark said it funnier, but he always does. Now both of them call it a myth for different reasons; the album they like to downplay is Electric Ladyland, which I maintain is Hendrix's magnum opus, but it might as well apply to Axis.

Of all the Experience albums, this is the most subdued, flying under radar almost the entire time - the first ten times I listened to it, I would have had trouble telling you much about ANY of the tracks bar "EXP" (which I don't really mind: what's wrong with sound experiments? It's not a great one, this I'll admit, but it's one of the first, and that should surely count for something) and "Little Wing," which actually isn't super memorable but I had known it before. In fact, none of the songs here except "If 6 Was 9" are immediately memorable in the way that the reversed drum patterns of "Are You Experienced" or the galumphing swingstep of "Manic Depression" are. But here's the twist: just 'cause they're not as immediately grabbing as the tracks on Are You Experienced? doesn't mean they're not great. The byword for Axis is subtlety. Subtle like the supercool brushes and wah-wah pedal on "Up From The Skies," which I really dig for its laid-back groove. Subtle like the heart-wrenching guitarwork and classy glockenspiel on "Little Wing" or the (good) "Wind Cries Mary" remake of "Castles Made Of Sand." There's exactly ONE AYE?-style rocker on this album, and it's "Spanish Castle Magic": catchy like anything else from that album, but somewhat out-of-place. The other up-tempo numbers ("You Got Me Floatin'," Redding's decent "She's So Fine") are more pop than rock, while "Little Miss Lover" betrays a heavy R&B influence that would come to the fore on Ladyland.

So the album is certainly good, and very thoughtfully produced, but that thoughtful production is so painstaking precisely because it masks the fact that Jimi isn't really progressing much as a musician or as a writer. There's nothing really original on this album like there is on AYE? and Ladyland, nothing except very professionally done power trio rock. Perhaps that's why some people say it's Hendrix's most consistent album - unlike AYE? which, while brilliant all the way through, was produced in such a way that each track sounds separated from the next and disunited. Axis doesn't really stumble anywhere (although I for one don't care for "Bold As Love," phasing or no phasing), but it doesn't really soar, either. There isn't a "Love Or Confusion" here, no "House Burning Down," not even a thoroughly beautiful ballad like "Angel" (although that song DID begin its life at the sessions for this album, as anyone who owns South Saturn Delta will know). I'll give it a 7/10 and perhaps it will grow on me even further.

Joel Larsson <joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (16.01.2001)

Better than Are you experienced, that's fer sure. This time, he made a real hard-rocker in 'Spanish castle magic', which have been played by nearly all self-proclaimed guitar heroes in newer times. Man, that one rocks! And we also got two beautiful ballads in 'Little wing' and 'Bold as love'. The carillon in 'Little wing' makes it awesome! And the guitar solo in the end of 'Bold as love' is the whole song. We also have 'Castles made of sand', 'She's so fine', 'Golden rose', 'Wait until tomorrow' and 'Ain't no telling', all very good songs. The worst on Axisare 'If 6 was 9', which nobody can like, and 'Little miss lover' which is this album's Fantasyless Hendrix song.

Federico Marcon <federicomarcon@libero.it> (12.04.2001)

You areabsolutely right about this album : most of the songs sound very, too, similar each to other and as result we have the album sounds not very diverse.Axis : Bold As Love is the album in which Hendrix' s lack of songwriting ability reach its climax and this is an objective fact : it seems he can' t achieve originality, often the musical movement is too limited ( unlike in "Eletric Ladyland" ) and other times songs are built on repetitive chords.You perfectly pointed out that here Jimi seems more relaxed.I think this is a transitional ( does this word exist ? ) album in which Hendrix is much more concentrated on lyrics, he' s setting the things for the perfect fusion of music and words of EL.But this album is remarkable not for the song but because this may be the only album created by the entire Experience : all members contribute not only with their instruments but also with their musical ideas, this is why the album sound more pop.Also the lyrics are quite interesting, and I' m not talking about "If 6 was 9" ( I' m not a fan ofits lyrics, what does a phrase like "Mr bussinessman you can' t dress like me" mean?Well, I can stand it only because it is among the first songs with this kind of words ) but about the delicious and delicate portraits of daily tragedies of "Castles Made Of Sand" and the interesting personification of human feelings with the colours in the title track ( he' s trying to do with the music the same thing that was experimented by some painters of the ' 800, but I can' t assure you if he managed or not ).Oh, by the way, what' s wrong with the title track, it provides to one of the best solo by Jimi or at least one of the best buildt, Mitchell rolls here and there and, as I already said, the lyrics are quite interesting.I love it and my love is more intellectual than instinctual ( and based on how this song is objectively good ), so I' d have tought you like it, butmine can be the "ultra-subjective factor" so return to the album...With "Axis", apart for the value of the songs, Hendrix shows he' s really became a master of rock guitar, using it in very innovative ways ( we have jazz on "Up From The Skies", blues and hard rock on "Spanish Castle Magic" ) and his sound is completed by the best heard Mitchell and Redding' s jazzy bass.Only a last thing : you presented this album talking about Hendrix as "Guru of psychedelia" ; apart for the original cover ( the "indian" one, of course ; I hate this cover because it follows a fashion of the epoch and doesn' t deal with the album ) what can you call psychedelic here?Personally I think the term "psychedelic" is often abused : the most psychedelic Hendrix is the Hendrix of AYE, with stoned lyrics, feedback chaos and similar ( if we use the term "psychedelic" to indicate an "unlimited mind", that' s not so precise I admit, but this definition works well if we want to use it to describe music that expanded your mind - and in this meaning also R. Shankar is psychedelic - ) and not the one of Axis; am I doing any mistake in thinking so?

Nicholas Rogerson <hybrid_idiot@hotmail.com> (18.02.2003)

I really, really agree with what you say about this album. Well, I agree with pretty much everything. When I have work to do, I often reach for this album, and that is because it has a really great atmsophere. Funky and quite light, but with some tuneful guitarwork. Infact I'd say that on this album, Hendrix's guitarwork is perhaps at its most melodious. Normally it strikes me as being outstanding and amazing, but not necessarily constructed as it is here. Anyway, this album is great background music. It doesn't really permeate my thinking, which speaks volumes about the album. Once I've listened to it through, I find it hard to remember the songs, and how they go. I remember 'Little Wing', Wait Until Tomorrow', 'Ain't No Telling' (if only for the backing vocals) and 'If 6 Was 9' (the intro is pretty distinctive). I'm struggling with the rest.

On this album, Hendrix really seems to be pulling in funk and soul influences. The stop-start riff of 'You Got Me Floating', just shouts funk at me, real loud. Lots of great grooves, but the grooves ain't necessarily tunes.

Ilya Grigoriev <negative_creep@gmx.de> (30.10.2003)

I mostly agree with your review but not quite with the rating. This album has a few highpoints being the beautiful, beautiful "Little Wing" that sets off with an intro that surpasses other electric ballads (if there were any before this guy showed up) by miles. Another one would be "Ain't no telling" that you accurately described being a long forgotten or just overlooked great rock song. Actually you could build triplets - style: good song, another good song, gem; ballad: "Castles Made of Sand" ,"Bold as Love", "Little Wing". The same with easy rockers: "You got me floatin'", "Wait until tomorrow", "Ain't no telling". But i think you overlooked "Little Miss Lover" with it's great drumline proving that Mitchell was a drummer who always kept up with Jimi's expectations (Redding couldn't - was too egoistic - so they parted eventually). Also you have "Spanish Castles of Magic" that is actually the hardest rocker on the record and is still quite popular with Hendrix fans. The lowpoint infact is Noel Reddings' song "She's so fine", his voice just doesn't work with that Hendrix sound. Damn, Jimi's voice was perfect for his style (imagine robert plant or mick jagger singing 'foxey lady'...better not). I'd give it a 9 because of only one bad song and a lot of fun tracks that keep my mood up.

Rick Brown <wbrown@eds.com> (22.07.2004)

I find the guitar solos on the title track to be some of the most emotional guitar solos ever recorded.


ELECTRIC LADYLAND

Marco Ursi <zeppelinwho@hotmail.com> (01.09.99)

Oh my, no one has even made a comment about any of you Jimi Hendrix reviews! Even Ringo's page has a comment for goodness sakes! Oh well, I'm listening to this album right now and I've just realized how good it is. It has a lot of soul. It sounds like black music. Jimi's singing is great on here, better than on any of his other releases. The atmosphere of the album is very laid back and I even like the screwy stuff like "1983...". Very cool. The 13-minute "Voodoo Chile" jam is great. The Dylan cover is better than the original, no matter what you say George. And "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" has the great riff of all-time. I'd give it an 8.

Nick Karn <glassmoondt@yahoo.com> (25.10.99)

This ambitious collection simply suffers from what almost all double albums do - too much filler, particularly on Side B ("Burning Of The Midnight Lamp", "Little Miss Strange", etc.), which are far from the Experience's best efforts, but I'd still give this album an 8 instead of a 7 in spite of its' disappointments (the very boring and rather pointless jam "Voodoo Chile" is tops as far as that goes) because the best tracks are truly in a class by themselves. "Come On", "All Along The Watchtower" (I haven't heard Dylan's version of this one, but Jimi does a great enough job here), and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" are all standards for God-like guitar soloing (particularly that triumphant final cut).

Meanwhile, the two underappreciated classic sleeper songs here in my opinion are "Crosstown Traffic" and "House Burning Down", which are Jimi at his most infectious. The absolute peak of this album for me, though, is the whole 20 minute-plus "Rainy Day, Dream Away" suite. The beginning title track is totally groovy, but the "1983" section with that gorgeous, phenomenal melody and surreal atmosphere is such an otherwordly experience, so it more than makes up for whatever harm that following noise collage (which doesn't seem that nasty to me anyway) might do. The ending "Still Raining, Still Dreaming" goes back into that cool groove to finish things off, and like you, I also find that 'guitar that sounds like two people talking' bit interesting. I guess those two people had their 15 seconds of fame there - it's too bad Jimi and his artsy ambitions had to take it away from them. :)

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (02.04.2000)

Is Electric Ladyland really that difficult to assimilate?I don't really remember having any problem getting into it instantly, and up until the point I bought it I didn't much care for Hendrix.I'm beginning to think that this album is just one of those places where my views are just fundamentally different than a lot of other people's, since everywhere I turn I see people calling the songs I really like from this album "filler."(This refers to the comments on Prindle's site as well.)I just don't see it; how can "Crosstown Traffic," "Gypsy Eyes," "Long Hot Summer Night," "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp," or "House Burning Down" be filler? Those are highlights!For me the only "filler" (and it's not really filler, just songs I like less than the others) on Electric Ladyland is "Rainy Day, Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming," although what's in between that jam sandwich is triumphant indeed.

Anyway, I'm focusing on the trees when I ought to be looking at the forest: Electric Ladyland is Jimi Hendrix's finest album, one of the few double-albums without clutter, and a hazy, trippy, foggy (look at that back cover!) psychedelic masterpiece.I'm sure some people find the 15-minute blues of "Voodoo Chile" to be boring and hopelessly self-indulgent, but I find it to be not only an amazingly dark mood piece, but an important part of Hendrix's personal mythology and, all-around, a thrillingly engaging, lumbering beast of a song. It drips menace from every pore, smokey bass notes vibrating here and there, a demon guitar solo splitting the air, and all held together by Steve Winwood's organ. And that's really the most controversial song here, except possibly the noise tracks "...And The Gods Made Love" and "Moon Turn The Tides...gently, gently away," both of which I'm gaga over. Why do people object to these? They're there because Electric Ladyland is supposed to be heard as a whole (yeah, that's a lot to sit through); these are the scene-setters. In fact, THAT'S what makes Ladyland so powerful; it's not the individual songs (though they're almost all good) but the overall effect: Hendrix is working in soundscapes here, cross-fading tracks and using effects to conjure images in the listener's head. Eventually the album just becomes a swirling miasma of sound, and every now and then a more fully-formed song like "Watchtower" bubbles to the surface and erupts. Nowhere is this sound-painting technique better illustrated (or better executed) than in the epic aquatic journey of "Rainy Day"/"1983"/"Moon Turn The Tides"/"Still Raining": this is just flat out amazing, insofar as you really go on a JOURNEY, starting above water, and gradually descending to the bottom of the ocean. Doesn't anybody else feel like they're walking on the sea floor when that echoey, watery flute comes in near the end of "1983?" Perhaps if you don't like sound effects you'll hate this, but if you do it's about ten thousand times better than Pink Floyd's similar attempt in "Echoes."

What else is there to say? Other than the fact that I think you really need to hear this album as a cohesive whole rather than a collection of separate tracks, not much. It IS a Hendrixopaedia as you said, except that I think it manages to capture all the most mesmerizing aspects of his music, and very few of the boring ones (let me again say that I have little affection for the jazz/blues of "Rainy Day"). Even Noel Redding's song ("Little Miss Strange") kicks ass; it's a great way to return to the real world after the extended freak out of "Voodoo Chile." I'll grant that it's exhaustive, and this isn't an album you can listen to every day at the drop of a hat, but if you've never been to Electric Ladyland, now's the time to make that journey. As the man himself said, "Don't be late." 10/10.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (25.10.99)

Well ... I like it. Quite a bit. It's nowhere near as good as AYE, but it's great. I agree completely with all those who point out that this _must_ be listened to as an album and not merely as a collection of individual songs. Which is important, because some of the shorter songs are undeniably filler. I don't hate as many as Prindle does, but I don't like 'Long Hot Summer Night', 'Gypsy Eyes', 'Burning of the Midnight Lamp' or 'House Burning Down' much at all.

The rest, on the other hand ... For starters, I will say that I flatout adore 'Voodoo Chile'. It's just so dark and menacing, and I would say that I loved it from the very first listen. And I also love that suite. Man, when the vocals start breaking up and echoing in '1983', I feel like I'm entering paradise. And the sound bit is simply mesmerizing, if you ask me.

Throw in classic songs like 'Slight Return', 'Watchtower', or even lesser-knowns like 'Little Miss Strange' (great song) and 'Crosstown Traffic', and you have a psychadelic masterpiece. I'd give it a 12 easily, and maybe even a 13! Just because it works so well as a whole.

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (27.07.2000)

Seven is a bit low... I feel there's a whole lot of good individual tracks here to justify a higher grade. True, "Have You Ever Been..." is a lovely song, while I think "Crosstown Traffic" is kind of the quintessential Hendrix song - a mixture of all his styles. "Voodoo Chile" might be a bit long, but I like it - a really inspired performance. Jack Casady's thunderous bass is a delight to listen to. Casady was actually considered the part as Jimi's new bass player after the Experience broke up, but in the end Jack probably couldn't abandon his good pal Jorma. Interestingly, though, Hendrix mis-spelt his fellow musician as "Cassidy" in the original liner notes and it has remained so ever since, even in the subsequent re-issues. Redding's "Little Miss Strange" is enjoyable, with some tasty guitar-work from Hendrix. The album moves on to even more solid tracks, with stand-outs in B.B. King's "Let The Good Times Roll" and "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp". But then, unfortunately comes the mis-step with "1983" - which starts out just fine but then moves on to deadly boring, uncharted territory. As to "All Along The Watchtower", the original and Jimi's cover is two different songs with different qualities. As a side-note, Dylan actually said in an interview that "I guess he [Hendrix] improved it ["Watchtower"] with those guitar solos". And the album closes off on a really good note in "Slight Return". I have to admit there's a certain aura over the album, so there's a bit more to it than the sums of its parts. So, all things considered, I'd give it an 8.5, verging on a 9.

<Tally05@aol.com> (20.09.2000)

your statement about 'miss strange' is crazy that song is obvious in its inferiority and could make us seriously prejudiced fans cringe even with the best drugs to help it along. please stop boasting about not having listened to the radio etc. it was your loss/. having fun reading your stuff though I am a serious music review fan and am drawn to reading it for some reason.

[Special author note: You said it, Tally05. Stop being a prejudiced fan. As for the radio, not listening to it might have been my loss, but I guess it also saved me a couple million brain and nerve cells. You know, fresh healthy brain cells and nerve cells are rather hard to come by these days.]

Federico Marcon <federicomarcon@libero.it> (19.02.2001)

Ehy George, what' s happened here?! If someone read this only rewiew from yours,he could think that your ears are untrained! First of all, I want to reply to your comments about "Voodoo Chile" and "1983" : you say that these songs have their moments,but boring in their enterity .There was a greek author, living peraphs in III D. C.,called Pseudo-Longinus,who had written a treatise named "perì ypsos" (translating from old greek to english, we can title it "about sublime");in this book he says that he ,in a literary opera,prefers an uncomplete geniality,but with pinnacles of "sublime", to an opera,perfect in all,but without these sublime moments (for "sublime" Pseudo-Longinus means a moment in which the power of written word,completely captures the reader,putting him in a simpathetic feeling with the author and the characters -this is a semplicistic explanation,but works well for this comment-).He was talking about the written compositions, but during the Romantic Age,this tretise conquered a lot of readers and the term was extended to music and visual-art;if we want to adapt the term to the ' 60,we may say that the song has its "freak out"( oh,and if you want a concrete example,think about the differences about Jimi Hendrix and Dave "Ice" Gilmour : the latter was never sublime,in term ' s technical meaning). Now what do you think about these songs?( I suppose : THE SAME!)

And now I' ll try to explain why I think Eletric Ladyland is the best Hendrix album (I have to admit I expecially like it because it is less commercial than Are You Experienced).

The first track tries, with slowed tapes overdubs, distorted voices, to create a sonor picture of the Paradise "When The Gods Make Love".This song (no, this stuff : it isn' t music) is useful only to introducing to the sweetly soft and hazy atmosphere of the album (peraphs the atmosphere is the link among most of the songs) ; I don' t know what I can say about this stuff, I don' t have criteria to judge the extreme experimentations.So let' s talk about "Have You Ever Been (To Eletric Ladyland)".Smooth and soft chords, in the style of "Little Wing",interlaced with fluent licks ( I recommend to all Hendrix fans the alternative take of the solo,avaiable in THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE boxset)delineate the first features of the land in which Jimi wants to take us ; the phasing effect on drums increases the softness of the whole song.Here the lyrics is quiet interesting : the song is the Hendrix "Magical Mistery Tour",introducing the concept of the album : "I wanna show different emotions".This verse ,togheter with the dedication "We dedicate this album to acoustic and eletric woman......",shows how Jimi intended to create an extraordinary picture of all human feelings and emotion.In fact Hendrix had a particular feeling with the groupies, the women "around" the musicians, and to these girls he was used to communicate his inner feelings and problems.

And then, with "Crosstown Traffic", we have the first ,and the best,attempt to fuse rock with funk ( I recommend to all of Red Hot Chili Peppers fans to listen to this song and try to reflect about the originality of their favourite band : throw away "All Around The World"!!!); fast and steady drums (sometime not so groove -see my comment about "Are You Experienced"-),fantastic guitar lines...oh,one of the best song of the album, an hellish boogie, with a great ( and I say GREAT) strings arrangment, also dues to progressions of jazzing chords.According to musical critic Dave Whitehill, a song with a musical complexity and armonic exquisiteness, extraordinary for the epoch.Add Hendrix scat-voice with the Pultec filter on it and.....le jeux son fait!

"Voodoo Chile" is a fantastic examples of Delta blues, a dark and murky song (or better ,as you already said, a jam) with the Hammond organ working a lot to makes it so terrific.All the licks here remind B.B. King and M. Waters and the lyrics show the historic relationship between the bluesman and the devil.An unavoidable chapter of the Hendrix mithology. "Little Miss Strange",redding only contribution to the album, is a pop song in Who/Small Faces style, but with its four guitars and one of the best Moon-imitation by Mitchell,the song is catchy.Nothing particular,but what' s wrong?I complain that Noel written only two songs for the Experience,I like his style."Long Hot Summer Night" is a relaxed song where Jimi was looking for a mysty female figure as a spiritual guide.Al Kooper on piano completes Hendrix sound,greatly backing some of the most fluent licks of Jimi."Come On" provides to one of the most exciting solo;a great song in which the suspence for the solo is increased by dramatic ascending chords,similar to the old swinging-orchestra ones."Gipsy Eyes" has a lot of reminisenses of Delta blues and reminds to me "Rolling And Tumblin' ", recorded for the first time by Hambon Willie Newbern in the 1929.Nothing to add here, I don' t particularly like this song, because it is too generic , according to me. Jimi considered "The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" one of his best composition;I like the lyrics of the song : they describe a scene not in its entirety, but trought particulars, creating a sense of fragmentariness and mistery ; and the main riff is so catchy.

The "acquatic suite" is one of the Hendrix masterpieces.The first song of it, creates an atmosphere like a hazy nightclub' s one, with great sax and licks in the style of Charlie Christian.Faucette on congas and expecially Finnegan on organ, not only fill the sound but create most of the song' s armonic-rithmic skeleton.You can ear Jimi singing with funny voice "Hey man, it' s raining".This verse was taken from a story by B. Crosby, in "Revenge", where he used the same funny voice of Jimi.The apple of controversy is "1983" : good melody, sure, but also experimentation for the sake of experimentation.Altought there are remarkable and innovative things : a lot of eletrical-devices (most of them createde by R. Myers ) like "delay" on Jimi' s voice, gulls' s noises created by headphone-feedback, C. Wood on flute, and many more.....peraphs it' s too long and degenerate in "Moon turns the tides....gently, gently, gently"(an unuseful track).The lyrics of "1983" is not so bad : another apocalipse by the spiritual-child Hendrix."Still Raining, Still Dreaming" is remarkable for its "talking" solo with wha-wha."Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" is a great song , with a fantastic riff, but I agree with you when you say that live version is much better.I' don't want to speak about "House Burning Down" : generic music and horrible lyrics (Jimi is not good when he tries to talk about the concrete reality -the song is about violences and disorders in U.S.A.-);it is the only filler , according to me.

And about "all Along The watchtower"?I don' t know the original version ("...you' ll probably scream and cry...", but I have burned out all my money to buy THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE boxset!) but I want to analize the fantastic solo : it is buildt in four parts.

The first one is a classic rock solo,the second a blues slide on a twelwe-strings eletric guitar (he did not use the bottleneck, but a lighter), the third a wha-wha passage and the fourth consist in a group of chords played in unison.

Now the final considerations ; I prefer this album to Are You Experienced for these reason:

a)Here you can ear Jimi' s voice at his best : he managed to sing succefully blues, rock, funk...he was not the best ' 60 vocalist (maybe Morrison was or McCartney ; Daltrey in the ' 60 was like a lion without his roar ) but his voice sounds fantastic in songs like "Come On","Long Hot Summer Night","Voodoo Chile" and expecially "All Along The Watchtower".

b)production : nothing against Chandler, but with Hendrix as supervisor of the console ,helped by E. Kramer,you can ear the true sound Jimi was thinking about.Another reason is that I have know Chandler ,expecially on Axis Bold As Love,worked a lot in cutting songs , in order to make the album more commercial.I avoid to say that I can' t stand a thing like this! Rock music is one of the most expressive art of the century and........you know what I want to say.Sorry Chas (even if you did a great work on the first Hendrix album)!

c)With this album Hendrix got past the hard rock and create an unique fusion of rock and roll, blues, jazz, funk-rock and avantgarde.

d)This is not a "guitar-album", even if there is tons of guitar work on it.If in the first two albums there are some weak compositions (expecially in the second) ,here Hendrix composed most of his best songs, with complex arrangments and a rich sound create with a lot of instruments ; he got past from his image of furious guitarist,he became a true musician.Are You Experienced is an album recorded to show the ability of this guy in guitar playing ; what guitarist can do a similar thing , who refuse to put apart his talent with guitar in favour of melodies and arrangments?A guy not so good in guitar-playing or Jimi Hendrix!

This is Hendrixopaedia, you like it or not.I' d give it a 10.Hi George and thanks to anyone who' ll mail to me his or her comments.

Eric Benac <benac@voyager.net> (10.05.2002)

probalby my least favorite hendrix album because it contains the completely insufferable jam 'voodoo chile'. mind you, i'm not against jams in general, but this song is one of the most boring things hendrix ever put to wax. and most of the songs are generally uninteresting. the only thing i really like on this one, actually the only songs i can truly remember at the moment, are little miss strange (yes, i love this song) all along the watch tower, and voodoo chile (slight return). yeah, if he had just made the song this long it would have been fine. i would give it a 5 or 6 out of 10, seriously. and i find it funny that Marco Ursi comments that it sounds like "black music." in case you haven't noticed, jimi hendrix was black. how could it sound like anything else? and besides, jimi mainly worked in "black" forms of music: blues, funk, soul etc. so of course the album sounds like black music.

Glenn Wiener <gjw0721@optonline.net> (15.11.2003)

I have been to Electric Lady Land and its certainly a good trip. Jimi really gives it his all here with blues, rock, and psychedlica. Hard and soft and quite good indeed. 'Burning The Midnight Lamp' stands out as does 'Come On'.

Jason Saenz <jsaenz@sagetelecom.net> (08.07.2004)

Now this is the ultimate Hendrix album.Really experimental but not overblown noise crap, great melodies too!!!!!!!! Nothing left to say this is Hendrix's best.


LIVE AT WOODSTOCK

Hunter Smith <Huntr3@aol.com> (05.02.2000)

I fully agree. The Woodstock Live album IS the real deal. Yes, Jimi does go off on too many solo's, (most of them dont go together either) its still the most amazing thing i have ever heard, or seen. I just bought the performance on DVD and lemme tell you something, fellas, its NICE. It doesnt have "Hey Joe" or "Spanish Castle Magic" but it has everything else (i think). I agree on the "Fire" part, it was kinda bad, but i thought it was hilarious when he breaks into his solo and points in Larry Lee's direction, and then smiles really big and tears it up, and i do mean tears it up. 'Voodoo Child' is the coolest ive heard, accept for the song change in the middle. The name of the song is "Trying to Be" and its not all that great, but if you listen to the lyrics about his guitar, its pretty funny. I cant post it, it might be considered obscene. Well, keep up the good work George.

<Sabbath246@aol.com> (01.08.2000)

It can all be summed up in one word: legendary. Jimi was sure at the top of his game for this one. This performance was without a doubt Hendrix's best. When I first listened to "Voodoo Chile" it left me stunned. That's a jam and a half! The other awe-inspiring moment on here is "Red House". Along with Cream's version of "Crossroads", I'd have to say it's the greatest blues guitar jam I've ever heard. "My baby don't love me no more, I know good 'n well that her sister will"! I love that! Of course, the lyrics fail poorly in comparison to the guitar playing, which is never less than magnificent. I even enjoy the version of "Fire" on here, simply because I love that high-pitched, squeaky guitar tone that he gets in the solo. Also, "Woodstock Improvisation" is a jaw-dropping moment in guitar history, an underrated classic. Many rock fans consider Jimi the greatest. And while I disagree, I do believe that he was probably the most influential, anyway. This is Jimi's tour-de-force, how he tried to conquer the world on one memorable night in August, 1969.

Brian Adkins <ba8412@devrycols.edu> (07.01.2001)

Oh Yeah, my hearts starts to thump and my feet moving once I hear Jimi open with "everybody jump around, everybody come alive" to get this Woodstock crowd going. This entire two disc set that I have is absolutely amazing. I never get bored listening to this and you say the base doesnt matter but why do you think 'Red House' sticks out so much. I admit I cant hear anything but drumming and Jimi for the most part but once they quiten down enought to hear the bass I think thats what makes the better songs. This is the only live Jimi I have so I'm not gonna say this is Jimi at his best but if it gets any better I would really love to hear it. I can sit and listen to Granny Goose I mean Mitch Mitchell play those drums all day long. This is probably my favorite drummer in rock history although I do like Ginger Baker an awfully lot and yes I have heard Keith Moone and John Bonham play but Mitch is more of my style. If it was just Jimi and Mitch there playing this would have still been one of the greatest performances ever so once you add in all those congos and other sounds it certainly takes the cake. The only other live performance that I have heard that even comes close is Get Yer Ya Ya's Out by the Stones and I havent heard Live At Leeds yet but I will. If you like Jimi and dont have this go and buy it because you will not be dissappointed. On a final note I must say that this is an awesome version of the 'Star Spangled Banner'. Jimi makes his guitar sound just like a rockets red glare and I even start ducking when I hear those bombs bursting in air. Really, his guitar sounds excatly like bombs flying out of the air and then just exploding into a million peices. Yes I agree with you totally, MINDBLOWING is the only word that can be used to sum up this performance.

Alex Smith <jaggerkings@yahoo.com> (27.07.2002)

George, you said the CD contains the complete performance. Actually, the 1999 CD realease omits one song from the setlist - 'Mastermind'. Thought you'd like to know.

If you're curious, here is the setlist: Message To Love Hear My Train A Comin' (aka: Getting My Heart Back Together Again) Spanish Castle Magic Red House Mastermind Lover Man Foxey Lady Jam Back At The House (aka: Beginning) Izabella Gypsy Woman Fire Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Stepping Stone Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Woodstock Improvisation Villanova Junction Blues Hey Joe

And here is the two CD tracklist: disc 1: Introduction 2:21 Message To Love 7:21 Hear My Train A Comin' 9:49 Spanish Castle Magic 7:05 Red House 5:24 Lover Man 5:11 Foxey Lady 5:06 Jam Back At The House 7:44 disc 2: Izabella 6:42 Fire 3:42 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) 13:40 Star Spangled Banner 3:43 Purple Haze 4:23 Woodstock Improvisation 3:59 Villanova Junction 4:28 Hey Joe 5:52

tcambro8 <tcambro8@prodigy.net> (26.11.2003)

Say George I didn't read everything here and didn't go into your bio or background, so maybe you have an interest in jazz. I don't know but I do believe in his 'Woodstock Improvisation', Hendrix was tipping his hat to Wes Montgomery whose signature style was characterized by playing his melodies as octaves, which Jimi did in his soloing so well. Hendrix was not without his own guitar heroes and Wes lived for those moments in that solo. Beautiful!


BAND OF GYPSYS

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (02.04.2000)

Another example of the "Hendrix Myth" in action, here we see Band Of Gypsys, in reality a completely mediocre live album of funk/rock/R&B fusion, elevated to "classic" status because it was released during the man's lifetime and just before he became a rock saint. The mainstream music press, which deifies every move of his, holds Band Of Gypsys up as a fourth pillar of the Hendrix legend; they seem to have forgotten that even Hendrix himself wasn't very happy with this release, putting it out only to fulfill a contractual obligation with Capitol Records and filling it largely with songs too weak to make the cut on his upcoming album ("Who Knows," "Power To Love," "Message To Love") and the Buddy Miles songs "Changes" and "We Gotta Live Together," two fetid pieces of tripe if ever there were any, larded with Miles' excruciatingly jive-ass "cooing" (good word choice, George!). To think, THESE songs were the reason I stayed away from Stevie Wonder's awe-inspiring back catalogue for so long; you see, I always hear Band Of Gypsys described as soul/funk, and I thought to myself that if THIS was the best they could do, I don't want anything to do with this genre. Folks, was I ever wrong: go get Talking Book and Innervisions right now - you won't understand how you could have lived without them after you have them.

But back to Band Of Gypsys. I simply cannot bring myself to listen to this album all the way through. I finish with "Machine Gun" (the only really good song here, and even then the main feature, Hendrix's mind-blowing soloing, is not something I'm really interested in) and then I pop the CD out. What can I say? More than being bad, Band Of Gypsys is just BORING, and that's saying something when you're dealing with a performer as pyrotechnic as Jimi Hendrix. It's been said that he was really unhappy around the time of this recording (New Year's Eve 1969/70), and it shows in these listless, draggy performances. Please people! Take Hendrix off his pedestal! This is NOT classic music. This isn't even very GOOD! I'll give this a 5/10, but that's merely a concession to other fans who might like this more than I do - in a world where only my opinion mattered, I'd probably give it a 3.

John Williams <john.w@wespac.net> (23.08.2000)

The shows that this band played at the Fillmore East on 3 straight nights (I believe it was December 30-31, 1969 & January 1, 1970 - not a month before he died, which was September 18, 1970) are considered by many to be some of the most seminal live shows in the history of rock. "Machine Gun" alone is reason enough to buy this album as it is probably the greatest example of Jimi's awesome power captured live. The original album that was released in the States, with only 6 or 7 songs on it, certainly doesn't measure up to Jimi's studio releases, but that wasn't really the point, and if I'm not mistaken, I think the reason this was originally put out was a half-hearted attempt to placate Jimi's record label. As you state, the re-release a couple of years back is much better, but if you're a big Hendrix fan or a rock guitar player, this album is a must have.

P.S. This was the first of your reviews I've read, but to say that Jimi was not a great songwriter is (IM & many other people's HO) just wrongheaded. OK, so maybe you believe you need complicated orchestration or conceptual type releases to be considered a "great songwriter" (I'm not sure what your criteria are), but for someone who had only a brief 3 1/2 year stint of a career, this guy was very prolific and has many songs that will undoubtedly be considered "great" even 50 years later. Think "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Castles Made of Sand", in addition to many others that aren't simply great because the guitar was brilliant. [As far as I get it, 'The Wind Cries Mary', as well as many others, is based on a pedestrian folkish melody that's been previously employed at least a couple dozen times by other artists. That's the only thing I wanted to say - Hendrix's melodies are not original, and very rarely cleverly thought out - G.S.]

Federico Marcon <federicomarcon@libero.it> (16.02.2001)

George,I wantto focus the attentionof your readers about a possible example of censorship.In "Message To Love" there is a suspect noise,just before the verse "they' ll never understand".During the Isle of Wight Festival, Jimi sang:"Forget about that pig,they' ll never understand",while during a concert at Copenhagen (03/09/70) he sang "never mind the policeman,they' ll never understand".

And about the whole album?Exept for the innovative use of guitar (he does incredible things,never heard noises....the words of Billy Coxare a perfect comment : "He used a fuzz face,wha-wha pedal,uni-vibe and octavia and it was incredible...There were people in the audience with their mouths open."),here the songs,exept for "Machine Gun", are not so great.Add the boring and monotonousdrums of Buddy Miles....

anlormarechal <anlormarechal@wanadoo.fr> (14.07.2002)

(I'm French so don't blame me if my English is not great)

Sure, BOG isn't Jimi's best album. I think the only great tune is 'Machine Gun'. But it was interesting to see Jimi with a different band. I especially like Billy Cox's work (yes, I'm interresed on it because I'm a bassist too) for example in 'Who knows', even if this song is probably too long.

But 'Machine Gun' is in my opinion one of Hendrix's masterpieces. The three instrument are really important, not only Jimi's guitar. Jimi really tells the war in Viet-Nam with his guitar, with sounds and with solos. Sonic creativity and true feelings are both used to make this song a very great one. Even the vocals work very well (even if the lyrics aren't really brilliant).

I'll give a 6/10 note for the album, and a 9.5/10 for 'Machine Gun'.

Oh, I didn't send a letter about Electric Ladyland, but I never thoughtthat 'Voodoo Chile' was boring at all. It is a deep blues, in a straight line from Robert Johnson, and a fantastic travel through the Voodoo land.

<Cschlosser1@aol.com> (12.06.2003)

Of course you may be talking about the Capitol version, but the reissue(two CD's),called Live at the Fillmore East, is some of the most positively staggering guitar work you will ever hear in your life! Take 'Woodstock Improvisation' and multiply by a force factor of four! If you love 'Rock me Baby/Lover Man', you must hear 'Stone Free' on this record. One song being the price of admission for the whole package. THIS is Hendrix at his peak! It was all downhill from here with Jimi. Honor the man's memory. Don't bother with the horrible Isle of Wight/Wild Blue Angel, only for completist and record company exploitist. Dig that funky groove!

Thanks, Doug Woodward.


LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST

Rick Brown <wbrown@eds.com> (18.06.2004)

Fact is, Jimi was more comfortable with Billy Cox than any other bass player he'd ever played with. They were old army buddies and had played together long before Experience. I think this was doubly proven when Jimi resurrected Experience he kept Billy, ditched Buddy and brought back Mitch Mitchell.


ISLE OF WIGHT

Jaime Vargas <jaivarsa@hotmail.com> (15.05.2002)

(Stupid tidbit that you all have probably figured out anyway) What do the three 'most famous' concerts by Jimi (Monterrey, Woodstock and Wight '70) have in common...? In all three cases he shared the bill with the Who! After so much 'coinciding' they should either have become friends, ignore each other or have developed some kind of rivalry. Any guesses?

anlormarechal <anlormarechal@wanadoo.fr> (30.12.2002)

Hey, did you know that your album contains only a short part of this concert ? The whole performance is about 3 times longer ! The show began with "God save the Queen" (a parody of 'Star Spangled Banner' for British spectators; but quite uninspired), and "Sgt Pepper". there are also (not in good order) an extra-long (and boring), 23-minutes (!!!) rendition of 'Machine Gun' (with a 3-minutes drum solo in the middle of the song), a 11-minutes 'Red House', 'Hey Baby' (New rising sun), and some classics : 'Voodoo Chile SR', 'Purple Haze'... a very long show, in fact : the complete concert was issued a few weeks ago as a TRIPLE LP.


FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN

<JASONT413@aol.com> (02.08.2000)

I disagree with you on "Drifting" I think it's one of Jimi's most beautiful songs. "drifting on a see of forgotten tear drops" that line just sticks in your head you know. I also like the backward guitar parts that swirl around in the backround. One of the best songs I've heard with backward guitar parts. "Dolly Dagger" is pretty fun though. But as a whole the material on this album isn't so hot.

Chris Broyles <cb1407@mediaone.net> (31.12.2000)

all i have to say is this is one of my favorite albums by him. I have a bunch of his other albums including his best of and i think this album is better. My favorite song is 'Hey Baby (new rising sun)'. I just think that is the greatist song.

Federico Marcon <federicomarcon@libero.it> (22.02.2001)

A controversial album for me.The fantastic fusion of genres of Eletric Ladyland is here abandoned, in favour of the Hendrix' s pop side.If you are a ' 60 hard rock fan ( a la Cream or Jimi Hendrix Experience or Rolling Stones or Who) I think it' s very hard for you to get trought this album.

One of the main problem for me is the lyrics, not the songs, as you said ; Hendrix was thinking about himself as a love-messanger for the whole humankind, so to achieve this purpose it' s natural he chose a more accesible pop music.The songs so become very listenable and most of them are catchy ; you can dislike the genre, but I won' t use this album to show how bad is the guy in songwriting ( peraphs I' ll use Axis : Bold As Love or Band Of Gypsys ) ; here you can found very few outstanding tracks, I admit, but also very few horrible songs.What' s wrong with them?I' m able to find only an imperfection about the songs and it' s a grave one : the complete lack of originality, in fact most of them sound like generic pop.No, according to me, the lyrics are a real BIG problem, that makes most of the songs few listenable.The worst in this sense is "Astro Man", a song about the young Jimi' s fantasies ; what does a song like this mean?who care about that?I want to do a precisation : for me an album is good even if the lyrics are not so excellent ( I spent a month, after I' ve bought it, to listen every day to Let It Bleed; and you can' t say that its lyrics, apart for "Gimmie Shelter",are so cool or full of brain-power, even if they are very good ) ; but here are so pretentius, so didactical that I can' t stand them.Peraphs it' s only a personal taste but I don' t like when a song, a book or a poem directly, brutally says the things it wants to say ( this is the main reproach I direct to punk music ) ; a lot of people think that the poet's metaphors and stylistic exquisitenesses are a way to hidden the meaning of the poem ; they are wrong : all figures of speech are a way to make stronger the meaning of an opera ( this is why Bob Dylan is a sourt of "Big Bang" in pop and rock lyrics much more than any punk group).The pretentiousness of the lyrics make you not to call them naive, only Hendrix put all in a too simple way, that' s all.( Don' t confuse simplicity with simplism, please! ) For example check out "Because" on Abbey Road: I call this SEMPLICITY and not simplism ! ( maybe "All You Need Is Love" is an example of simplism ) But if you read lyrics you can find pantheism, cosmic love, the particular meaning of the word "because" ( this is the center of the song , I can write an epic poem on it, one day I' ll send to you my interpretation of the song )........As once McCartney said : "...you can say : a barbershop with the photos of its customers, but it' s totally different if you say : a barbershop with the heads he had the pleasure to know...." ( I hope to correctly remember , but the meaning of his words are clear ) ; and Hendrix put all things in the first way, in a "punk-ish" way.

I agree with you about Hendrix' s mental situation ; he was oppresed by his manager, often "stoned", addicted to heavy drugs.All these facts leaded to a lot of unuseful sessions at Eletric Lady studio, where he never managed to concentrate enough to complete a good song.What can I say about this?It' a painful thing to say, but all people around him were interested only to his money, so they never cared of his wealth.Or there is someone who want tell me that they never recognized his addiction to drugs?

Andy Hagg <notthecrust@hotmail.com> (01.01.2002)

I just sent you an email about Jimi. Since then, I have read more of your reviews about him.

Now I think I am done reading any information you have on Jimi because of your review of First Rays of the New Rising Sun. I disagree with you so much about this one album, that I'm not going to read any other comments about any one of his albums.

I have always thought of this album to be a great album, not only for the die hard fan but for the occasional listener. There's no sense in me arguing over opinions with you, but your critique of this album was terrible.

In fact, I didn't understand any of your reviews on Jimi. You gave him such high ratings yet you obliterated him in every sentence. Make up your mind. If you're going to say he's good, stick with it. If you say he's a terrible song writer with no melodies, then give him a rating of what you think, not what you feel is the socially acceptable label to pin on him. To say that Band of Gypsys is his worst album, you have to be out of your fucking mind. No wait, to say that Noel Redding was a better song writer was out of your fucking mind. That made me sick when I read that.

Sorry for being so defensive, but we have a difference in taste. You, for one, think that Bob Dylan is a better songwriter. I, on the other hand, think that Jimi Hendrix creates very textured music and by this, he designs better songs. I enjoy the type of music Jimi plays.

Well, I hope that your other reviews don't offend me this much.

zarch <zarch@rcn.com> (05.01.2004)

This is a beautiful album of songs that Jimi was putting together before he died. They sound like liquid golden metal dripping in the mind, very mellow sending you into a psychological connection with the universe. In Greek mythology Orpheus tamed the muses with the sounds from his seven-stringed lyre and believed in the mystical properties of music, its therapeutic value. Plenty of wild guitar effects in these tunes that sound other-worldly with a myriad of cosmic colors. Are these sounds coming out of a guitar on these tracks?- outa sight man. This stuff is beamed down here from another planet.


BLUES

Hunter Smith <Huntr3@aol.com> (11.02.2000)

I agree! All of Jimi's friends say that blues was Jimi's favorite music. That he absolutely loved it. I just can't seem to get with this CD though. I play guitar. Im in a band. We play blues. But i cant see how ANYONE can sit down and put this CD in and say "Man! This is great!" Personally, i'd rather slam a precious part of my anatomy in a door.....numerous times. But, i am a BIG Jimi fan, so i do listen to this on occasion. I still feel that the best blues was not played by the best guitarist (Jimi). I have come to the conclusion that the best blues player of all time is unknown. Who knows? It could be some old boy playing on his back porch drinkin' cheap wine. Whoever it was, it was not James Marshall Hendrix. Once again, keep up the good work.

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (24.03.2000)

Apparently, the Hendrix family felt the same way you did about this "album" and chose to reissue it after they took control over Jimi's estate. Which means that this one has got the usual remastering and booklet treatment and won't disappear from the shelves. I enjoyed this CD (with an inventive cover) and it is particulary nice to hear Jimi playing the acoustic. His acoustic technique seems to be somewhat similiar to that of Robert Johnson. Other high-lights are Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy", "Voodoo Chile Blues" and the closing electric "Hear My Train Comin'". A good CD, which doesn't double any other albums, except for "Red House" which is on some versions of "Are You Experienced".

Ivan Patrin <blackmetal@mail.ru> (22.03.2001)

Hey man! I can't understand why you think that this album is boring. As for me - I think that it's Superior! 70 minutes of classic, powerfull, mind-blowing and outstanding blues jams! I'm a guitarist and this album gives me versatile examples how a blues could be played. As for Jimi - his techniques are still higher than any living guitarist can reach. I suppose that you simply don't like blues and long jams, but for me this album is something! The sadness and gloominess of "Born under a bad sign" and "Once I had a Woman" goes along with energetic and hopefull "Red House" and "Mannish Boy" and some outstanding electric versions of "Hear my train 'a coming" and "Catfish blues". Jimi was a great blues player and at the same time innovative guitarist. I can listen for this album for hundred times and it never gets boring to me.

I think that you underestimate Jimi.

Cheers.....

anlormarechal <anlormarechal@wanadoo.fr> (30.12.2002)

Mmmmh... You often complain about Hendrix's lack of melody. But, Hendrix said "The English music scene calls for pounds and pounds of melody. Irish folk songs call for complicated melodies. I'm from America. Blues is my background and that doesn't call for such melody. It calls for more rhythm, more down to earth hard feeling, whatever you call it - soul."

Hendrix was, indeed, a bluesman, nothing but a bluesman who turned for more speed and overdrive. And those who say "Hendrix couldn't put emotion in his solos" are idiots. Do "no self-lament", "no rivers of tear" and "no pathos" mean "no emotion" ?? There IS lot of emotion in Jimi's solos.

I have heard "Variation on a theme : Red House" in which there are 7 different versions of this song (6 by Hendrix in concerts, 1 by John Lee Hooker) (I'm not foolish, mmh, I haven't listened the seven at the same time), and 2 or 3 of these are AMAZING and at the same time very emotive : "emotive" doesn't mean "provoking tears" but it goes straight to the heart.

I agree with you : this album, Blues, is a bit boring because songs are too similar. But it's not Jimi's fault. If you take each song for itself, you'll realize that it is really good.


SOUTH SATURN DELTA

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BBC SESSIONS

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (24.03.2000)

Just great. The BBC are almost always dependable. Might as well be the ultimate Hendrix live album. Good track selection; most of the well-knows are here, along with obscurities like "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" (man, Hendrix did really know his Dylan catalogue), "Hound Dog" and the infamous Lennon-less "Day Tripper". I don't really mind the three "Hey Joe", since the first two are great and the third is kind of brief and leads into one of the album's minor highlights, namely the Cream tribute - how cool was that by Jimi? And that jingle...


THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE

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JIMI HENDRIX

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