Welcome to the longest page of this record guide. Experience Hendrix were very busy during this decade!
In early 2010 it was goodbye MCA/Universal and a new era of Hendrix releases on Sony.
Unfortunately this brought a procession of tatty, confused and lack-lustre releases of studio material as the Hendrix Estate padded out the little that remains in the vault (in terms of quality studio recordings). So along came a stream of very uneven albums and a disappointing second box set.
Of course, each release featured something of interest for the hardcore Hendrix collector like yours truly, but it must be understood that all the previous Hendrix studio releases were far superior to this lot. So they get poor ratings as albums, even thought there are some good tracks here and there.
The Legacy Recordings editions (Sony Legacy 2010)
2010 saw a wave of reissues. All CD titles feature new 6-panel digipaks and 36 page booklets (well perhaps just the first four listed here).
• Are You Experienced – remastered CD + 1 DVD – UK and US versions
• Axis: Bold As Love – remastered CD + 1 DVD
• Electric Ladyland 1 CD + 1 DVD
• First Rays Of The New Rising Sun 1 CD + 1 DVD
• Blues 1 CD + 1 DVD
• BBC Sessions 2 CD + DVD (see below)+ simple repackaged reissues of:
• Smash Hits
• Band Of Gypsys
• Live At Woodstock
• Experience Hendrix – The Best Of Jimi Hendrix
• Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year
• South Saturn Delta
• Power Of Soul (Various artists)
The previous Experience Hendrix MCA/Universal editions had suffered from “clipping” (a process which gives a “louder” sound at the expense of definition). Because of that, many fans have prefered the older Alan Douglas CD versions of 1993 (with the George Mankowitz photo covers) or even the 1980s Japanese and German Polydor CDs and the first series on Reprise. Experience Hendrix had made a point of saying that “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold As Love” had been “remastered from the original two-track mixdown master tapes” but the first reports from fans and experts reveal that these CDs sound EXACTLY the same as the previous editions! What a rip off after all the media fuss.
Yet again, the beautiful concision of the “Are You Experienced” UK and US albums is blurred by the inclusion of all the singles and b-sides. I wish they had just come back to the original UK and US albums and put the singles and B-sides etc on an expanded “Smash Hits” for example.
Note that the US version of “Are You Experienced” features the alternate “Red House” that was originally on the US “Smash Hits” album. As for the original “Red House” of the UK version, according to some keen listeners it is apparently a montage of three different source tapes with noticible signs of the montage.
More bad news is that there are no bonus tracks (which had been promised in the initial press releases of 2009) and the DVDs feature only tiny interview compilations (with Kramer, Mitchell, Redding, Cox, Chandler, etc) and they only run from between 12 and 17 minutes! It’s always interesting to hear Kramer’s comments about the various recordings but not something that one would want to view more than once every 5 years.
So the DVD accompanying “Electric Ladyland” is therefore not the same as the excellent movie length “At Last The Beginning…” which was part of the 40th and 50th Anniversary editions of the album.
The “Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year” maxi-single got a new sleeve which reproduced the original graphics of the 70s music industry gift.VINYL EDITIONS
The albums were also available on luxury 180g vinyl, with superior sound to the CDs by all accounts and superior to the previous series of MCA vinyl editions. The first US first pressings were by R.T.I. but apparently the more recent pressings by Newbury or Barnes and Noble are apparently better.
Note also that vinyl editions of Hendrix albums have also been available from Music On Vinyl and Back To Black (see Links > Labels).
> Sound quality discussion – With all these re-releases over the years, sound quality has slightly varied. Here is an interesting discussion on the subject at Steve Hoffman Forums.
It’s a great shame that these releases didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Janie Hendrix mentioned in 2009 that a definitive box set of the “core catalogue” was to be released. However, it turned out to be yet another collection of rarities and unreleased recordings which was disappointing but has its moments.
The “BBC Sessions” 2010 re-release was available in various configurations in different countries, either as a 2CD/1DVD (merely a short history of Jimi’s BBC sessions) or as a 1 CD (21 tracks but 16 songs). The 2CD version included a previously unreleased recording of “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” from Top Of The Pops (live vocal over the single’s backing track). Full details of the various configurations over at Discogs.
Here is the song listing of the 1 CD version:
Stone Free, Hey Joe, Foxy Lady (Alternate Take), Love Of Confusion, Purple Haze, Radio One, Wait Until Tomorrow, Day Tripper, Little Miss Lover, Jammin’, I Was Made To Love Her, Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?, (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Hey Joe, Sunshine Of Your Love
One interesting re-release (April 2011) was the “Band Of Gypsys” DVD which has 5.1 surround sound mixes and some new bonus features:
– “Foxey Lady”, “Power Of Soul,” “Stepping Stone” and “Who Knows”
– extra black & white video footage
Valleys Of Neptune/Cat Talkin’ To Me – 7″ vinyl single
Release date: February 2010 (Sony) – USA only
Valleys Of Neptune/ Peace In Mississippi – CD single (exclusive to Walmart.com)
Release date: February 2010 (Sony) – USA only
“Valleys Of Neptune” comes as a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting something more acheived but it turns out to be a combination of two demos that Jimi recorded in September 1969 and May 1970. There was an excerpt of the demo with the vocal on the “Lifelines” radio show CD back in 1989. The track is certainly not worthy of being the showpiece (single and album title track) to hail in the new era of releases on Sony. It would have worked fine on a Dagger collection of demos/jams in its original form for example.
The other track on this vinyl single is“Cat Talkin’ To Me”. This features a pretty weak vocal from Mitch Mitchell that was added in 1987 when Chas Chandler summoned The Experience rhythm section to record overdubs on the outtakes that had been found at Olympic Studios. Mitch half talks his lines really as he portrays an alien observing Earth. The superior instrumental version would soon follow on the 2010 box set (see below).
Track two of the CD single (a Walmart exclusive) is a “previously unreleased alternate recording” of “Peace In Mississippi”. The instrumental was previously available officially on “Voodoo Soup” in 1993 and on “Crash Landing” back in 1975. This new version is much better, with cleaner sound and it lasts longer.It’s a crime that this wasn’t put on the “Valleys Of Neptune” album! What were Experience Hendrix thinking? It was included on the 2013 re-release of the JHE purple box.
> The Wallmart CD single also offers a free MP3 download of the”Red House” from Clark University. All of this is obviously aimed at a younger audience which hasn’t yet built up a knowledge of the history of Hendrix releases.
A watercolour of a Neptune landscape by Jimi himself (in fact there is no land on Neptune as it is a gaseous planet!)
Now that is perfect record cover design, illustrated by the artist himself. – 10/10
Bleeding Heart/Peace In Mississippi – 7″ vinyl single
Released: March 2010 (Sony) – UK only
Rather bizarre this. The UK market gets the new version of “Bleeding Heart” as the A-side. It’s a good demo/jam recording but hardly worthy of being presented as a single. Like with “Valleys Of Neptune” a very lavish video was put together to promote this single (you could view the videos on the official site, still can maybe). In the video for this, we see a footage of Jimi at Isle Of Wight made to look like he is performing “Bleeding Heart” at a modern day Glastontonbury festival! It is expertly put together but how ridiculous and distasteful to go to such lengths to promote what is a rather rough studio jam. The “War Heroes”/”South Saturn Delta” version is infinately superior.
Bleeding Heart/Jam 292 – 7″ vinyl single
Released: 2010 (Sony) – US only
Same A-side as the UK vinyl but with a different flip side, “Jam 292” from the album “Hear My Music” (and “Loose Ends” before that).
VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE ♥♥½
Released: March 2010 (Sony)
Stone Free, Valleys Of Neptune, Bleeding Heart, Hear My Train A Comin’, Mr. Bad Luck, Sunshine Of Your Love, Lover Man, Ships Passing Through The Night, Fire, Red House, Lullaby For The Summer, Crying Blue Rain
Apart from the excellent studio material released on Dagger Records, it had been a long time since we had seen a new official Hendrix studio album actually in the shops. 10 years in fact, since the MCA 2000 box set and 12 years since the last studio CD “South Saturn Delta”! This put an end to the MCA/Universal era, as Experience Hendrix signed a deal with Sony for a multitude of new releases. It must be underlined that the material on “South Saturn Delta” was FAR superior to what we have here. That said, hey, this is Hendrix and anything and everything is fascinating and there are some interesting things here.
This album certainly does not feature “fully realised” recordings as the 2009 promotional talk stated and it brings together more outtakes, demos and rehearsals, but this time, like on “Hear My Music” (Dagger Records), it concentrates on the early 1969 period as 9 of the 12 tracks date from that period. On those tracks, The Experience are heard feeling around new material as well as running through the more familiar songs in preparation for concert performances. So this gives us some good live-in-studio recordings alongside quite sketchy multi-track demos and jams but in all honesty there is very little here that is up the standard of the previous studio albums (including the Dagger releases). Just follow my star ratings for the correct order in which to buy Hendrix albums.
The sound here however is absolutely top notch, as if it was recorded last week. So full marks to Eddie Kramer and his team for the successful mastering. I did find the sound a little too harsh on my first listen (I immediately turned down the treble and jacked up the bass). So here is a look through the tracks:
Stone Free – This is a new composite by Eddie Kramer. It’s a fusion of a May ’69 jam with Mitchell and Cox (while Noel was still the Experience’s bassist!) and the vocals and lead guitar from the April ’69 re-recording of Stone Free by Jimi, Mitch and Noel (which was in the 2000 purple box). So unfortunately it’s a Frankenstein job but it does work. Jimi’s driving rhythm guitar gives the riff a different slant and is closer to how he played the song with the Band Of Gypsys at the Fillmore East at the end of the year.
Valleys Of Neptune – A skillful combination of separate takes (23/09/69 and 15/05/70) put together by Eddie Kramer and it works fairly well (though it still sounds like a rough demo and is not strong enough as a title track or a single release in my opinion). One of the demos used was on the radio documentary album “Lifelines” back in the early 90s. The song showed promise and would surely have developped into something as strong as say “Earth Blues” or “Straight Ahead” if Jimi had had the opportunity to record it properly, after the ill-fated 1970 European tour. This sort of Pro-Tool assembly of unrelated sessions is not all that popular among Hendrix fans.
Bleeding Heart – Billy Cox is also on bass for here and this jam is built on Jimi’s funkier adaptation of the Elmore James song (like the much more finished and superior version on “War Heroes “/”South Saturn Delta”). Mitch is absent here as it is Rocky Isaac on drums plus two percussionnists). Again, Jimi’s vocals aren’t very assured as he feels his way around this new adaptation which he would later turn into “Come Down Hard On Me Baby”. Thankfully, some fantastic guitar solos save the proceedings.
Hear My Train A Comin – This April 1969 Record Plant recording of “Hear My Train A Comin” is a killer. Jimi’s vocals are quite rugged but his guitar takes off to Neptune once again. Brilliant. This is in fact the original recording that Alan Douglas had fiddled with and ruined for his controversial “Midnight Lightning” album of 1975.
Mr. Bad Luck – The source for this track was a proto version of “Look Over Yonder” which had already appeared in its original mono form on “Lifelines”. In 1987, Chas Chandler contacted Mitch and Noel and got them to overdub new bass and drums over the original recording. Experience Hendrix would soon release the original stereo recording on the West Coast Seattle Boy box set. God knows why they put this hybrid version here.
Sunshine Of Your Love – The original Experience at Olympic Studios in February 1969 going through a great version of “Sunshine Of Your Love”. The only studio recording of the song that we have. Unfortunately, Noel’s bass solo is too far back in the mix.
Lover Man – Another track from Chas’s 1987 overdubbing session for yet another studio tryout of “Lover Man”. There was already a version of the song on “South Saturn Delta” and two on the box set! This version has a slower chugging rhythm and Jimi’s playing is just terrific. It’s a great track but surely another song would have added more variety to the successive studio releases. This track had already been in the shops on the unofficial “Studio Outtakes Volume 2” from Radioactive Records in 2004.
Ships Passing In The Night – Another Kramer composite of seperate studio outtakes, with The Experience going through an embryonic version of “Night Bird Flying” (this is not the jam that is on various bootlegs with Jimi and some unknown musicians, including a trumpet player). At this stage of its conception, the song has a lovely jazzy groove to it. Jimi just raps a rough guide vocal and the whole thing is very tatty but he does put in some gorgeous guitar playing.
Fire / Red House – These two takes are from the band’s rehearsals at Olympic Studios for the February 1969 Royal Albert Hall concerts (two other songs from these rehearsals were on the MCA 2000 box, namely“Hear My Train A Comin” and “Spanish Castle Magic”). Both tracks here are impeccable, with great vocals and simply awesome guitar. “Red House” fades out towards the song’s conclusion (you can just hear Jimi stop and say “That’s alright…”).
Lullaby For The Summer – This has circulated for years on bootlegs (though with inferior sound) and it is an instrumental that had begun life as a Redding/Mitchell composition called “Dance” (complete with a vocal from Mitch!). Here the band develop the riff as a funky, multilayered jam with Jimi throwing in all he had. Jimi later adapted the riff as the basic drive of “Ezy Ryder”.
Crying Blue Rain – Another one from the 1987 Chandler session with Mitch and Noel, this begins as a haunting slow blues, with echoes of “Catfish Blues”/”Voodoo Chile” and “Hear My Train A Comin”. Jimi simply improvises some “Yeah, yeahs,…” as a guide vocal for what is just an informal studio jam. About halfway through, he speeds up the tempo with a proto “Stepping Stone” riff, before loosely improvising around other rhythmic structures. This is referred to as “Gypsy Blood” on some bootlegs (not to be confused with the solo instrumental on Dagger’s “Burning Desire” album).
Apart from the few exceptions, this album could almost have been titled “The 1969 sessions” and it should really have been put out on Dagger Records for experienced collectors (no pun intended). Still, younger fans will find this interesting and realise that even in more relaxed situations, Jimi could really put some hot music down on tape. For older fans it is also quite rewarding with a few genuine new tracks for the collection, though some fans criticise the rather uneven compiling, the use of the 1987 Chandler overdubs and the more recent cutting and pasting by Kramer. I think he did a good job overall, though I would have sequenced the album differently.
I thought that by this stage Experience Hendrix would have got round to releasing some of the long overdue tracks such as “Easy Blues”,”Calling All Devil’s Children” or “Peace In Mississippi” but these songs would follow on releases to come.
Here are the tracks in their chronolgically recorded order:
Mr. Bad Luck – May 5, 1967 (+ 1987 overdubs)
Lover Man – February 16, 1969 (+ 1987 overdubs)
Crying Blue Rain – February 16, 1969 (+ 1987 overdubs)
Sunshine Of Your Love – February 16, 1969.
Fire – February 17, 1969
Red House – February 17, 1969
Lullaby For The Summer – April 7, 1969
Hear My Train A Comin’ – April 7, 1969
Stone Free – April 7, 9, 14, May 17,1969 – 2009 composite
Ships Passing Through The Night – April 14, 1969 – 2009 composite
Bleeding Heart – April 24, 1969
Valleys Of Neptune – September 23, 1969 (+May 15, 1970) – 2009 composite
> A “Deluxe” version of the album has also been issued in the United States (exclusive to Target) with two bonus tracks : “Trashman” and “Slow Version” (both previously on Dagger’s “Hear My Music”).
Quite a nice dreamy montage of a Linda Eastman (McCartney) photo of Jimi filtered over his very own illustration of a Neptune landscape! – 7/10
The most worthwhile tracks: Sunshine Of Your Love, Fire, Red House, Hear My Train A Comin’
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED (Music On Vinyl 2010)
Side 1: Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Red House, Can You See Me, Love Or Confusion, I Don’t Live Today
Side 2: May This Be Love, Fire, Third Stone From The Sun, Remember, Are You Experienced?
Side 3: Hey Joe, Stone Free, Purple Haze
Side 4: 51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary, Highway Chile
This is quite historic. The Music On Vinyl label has released the European version of “Are You Experienced” as a double vinyl. I think this is the first time that the concise original album has been available since the 80s, in any format!
This doesn’t really work as a “double album” however as the six original singles tracks hardly fill up two vinyl sides. Still, this is a very tempting release for purist collectors.
Love Or Confusion (alternate version) / 12 Bar With Horns
Release date: September 2010 (Sony)
This limited edition CD single come as a taster for the following “Anthology” box set. “Love Or Confusion” is an alternate version which has a different vocal track and features some alternate guitar overdubs. On the whole however, it doesn’t sound very differant to the “Are You Experienced” original. This is not a recent montage by Eddie Kramer , like with some of the things he got up to on the “Valleys Of Neptune” album.
The real goodie here is “12 Bar With Horns” ! It is not included in the box set and it’s an 11 minute jam from February 1969 with Chris Wood on tenor sax and trumpet. It’s a tremendous jazzy blues jam with Jimi at his rhythmic and soloing best (perhaps on his Gibson SG) and occasionally intertwining with Woods sax. A pity this wasn’t included on the box set!
WEST COAST SEATTLE BOY – THE JIMI HENDRIX ANTHOLOGY – 4CD/1DVD ♥♥
Released: November 2010 (Sony)
** Alternate version
*** Alternate mix
The DVD: “Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child”
In 2009, Experience Hendrix announced plans to release a definitive box set of the “core catalogue”, an ultimate “best of” collection, which is something that has never been done. However, it was later announced that they were planning another rarities collection along the same lines of the 2000 MCA box “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. Unfortunately, this is box is nowhere near as strong but it does have its moments.
Disc 1 is composed of pre-Experience recordings featuring a young Hendrix as a sideman (see my Before Fame section for details). It is a lot of fun and a very listenable collection of mid 60s RnB. There’s not a lot of Jimi presence here but it’s interesting to hear how he worked with these various acts. There is a lot of standard (and often tedious) 60s R’n’B with the odd little solo from the young Jimmy.
First of all, the Isley Brothers tracks are not the original single versions but are the early 70s remixes of the songs which featured new vocal tracks from the Isleys! Stupid! At least Jimi’s guitar comes over clearer I suppose. Similarly, that “Instant Groove” is in fact the King Cutis 1969 reworking of the single which he had put out with Ray Sharpe three years earlier: “Help Me get That feeling (Part 1&2)”!
Another blow is the fact that due to copyright complications there are no Lonnie Youngblood or Curtis Knight tracks here. That’s unfortunate as it rules out the Curtis Knight & The Squires single “Hornets Nest”/ “Knock Yourself Out” which was of great historical importance as the two instrumentals were Hendrix’s very first compositions ever to be released on record! Also, some of the backing tracks that Jimmy laid down with his friend Lonnie Youngblood were quite interesting.
Four years after the release of this box set, Experience Hendrix purchased the Curtis Knights tapes from Ed Chalpin and in March 2015, the 1965/66 recordings were issued on the albums “You Can’t Use My Name – The RSVP/PPX sessions”, “No Business” and “Live At Georges Club” (see Before Fame section). One can imagine that some Knight tracks will find their way onto a re-release of this box set.
1. “Fire” – The original four track recording of each instrument (before the four-track to four-track mix reductions) with Mitch’s drums in stereo. In fact this is a superb alternate mix of the track we all know from “Are You Experienced”. The two guitar tracks have been seperated to left and right, the bass is less dominant, the backing vocals are away from the left (which was plain daft on the original stereo mix) and we get the actual ending of the song, rather than the albums slow fade out. It sounds fantastic and I’d love to hear all of “AYE” with mixes like this (can you hear me Eddie?).
2. “Are You Experienced?” – A raw instrumental outtake with some lovely improvisation from Jimi. A rough diamond.
3. “May This Be Love” – This differs from the original with its double tracked vocal and slight extra guitar overdubs (and the awesomely beautiful solo is more up-front in the mix – fantastic).
4. “Can You See Me”– The mono mix which was on the vinyl versions of the original Are You Experienced album. When the CD era came, the stereo version was substituted (which had first appeared on the US version of Smash Hits in 1969).
5. “The Wind Cries Mary” – Live: previously seen in the Stages box set (Radiohuset, Stockholm, 5 September 1967).
6. “Love Or Confusion” – Already previewed on a two track CD, it’s an alternate version with only slight differences (alternante vocal and guitar parts). Like with “Fire”, the mix here is far superior to the original stereo version (which was practically mono apart from Jimi’s voice which was stuck on the left).
7. “Little One” – An excerpt of this instrumental had appeared on “Lifelines” and this is well know to collectors from a multitude of bootlegs. The debate is still on as to whether it’s Dave Mason or Brian Jones on sitar. Apparently Noel had said that it was Jones and “Jam with Brian Jones” was written on the tape box! It’s possible that Mason and Jones are in there. This instrumental was also found in shops unofficially on Purple Haze Record’s “Axis Outtakes”. Nice to hear it here with very good sound reproduction. In 1988 Noel added his own lyrics and vocals to this and it surfaced in 2003 as “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong” on the official compilation “Noel Redding – The Experience Sessions”.
8. “Mr. Bad Luck” – As opposed to the version with 1988 overdubs that appeared recently on the “Valleys Of Neptune” album, this is the original stereo recording. This version should have been on “Valleys Of Neptune” for chrissakes!!! It had previously appeared in hissy mono on the “Lifelines” radio documentary box set.
9. “Cat Talking To Me” – I love this instrumental bash. This is the original instrumental recording of the song (as opposed to the version with the Mitch Mitchell 1988 vocal that was released recently as a B-side on a US vinyl single – see above).
10. “Castles Made Of Sand” – A fascinating raw instrumental demo.
11. “Tears Of Rage” – This great little home demo features Jimi on electric guitar recording the Bob Dylan/Richard Manuel song, accompanied by his old Greenwich Village friend Paul Caruso. Jimi learned the song from listening to a privately circulated copy of Bob Dylan and the Band’s unreleased ‘Basement Tapes’ as the song had not yet officially appeared on disc by either Dylan or the Band at the time of this recording. An edited demonstration version of this has circulated on the bootleg “Happy Birthday Jimi”. This brings the number of Jimi’s Dylan covers to five songs!
12. “Hear My Train A Comin” – A great new track for us, from the much talked about Paul Caruso tape. Jimi on electric guitar with Caruso on harmonica.
13. “1983 (A Merman I Shall Turn To Be)” – Also from the Caruso tape (but without his accompanyment this time. Similar of course to the (better) version that had appeared on “Jimi By Himself” back in 1995.
14. “Long Hot Summer Night” – An rare acoustic demo from Jimi’s personnal tape recorder, already known with poor sound quality on the bootleg “Acoustic Jams” for example (which in reality featured very few acoustic tracks).
15. “My Friend” – Known to collectors as a sample tape, this is a nice solo acoustic demo of the song. Great vocal.
16. “Angel” – From the 1968 New York hotel room demo and already seen on CD “Jimi By Himself” (which was included in the graphic novel “Voodoo Child – The Illustrated Legend Of Jimi Hendrix”).
17. “Calling All The Devil’s Children” – This has also already circulated and it’s one of Jimi’s strangest recordings. It opens with a monster Link Wray type riff and continues with a brooding native American feel then finishes with Jimi shouting like he’s at a political rally adressing a crowd with his manifesto! Infuriatingly, it fades out before the “drug bust” ending which is on the much circulated bootleg version. Experience Hendrix censorship?
18. “New Rising Sun” – This much circulated instrumental features Jimi playing all instruments as he evokes the feel of his later composition “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”. It was also on the Alan Douglas compilation “Voodoo Soup” in an edited form. It is charming but ambles on a little too long. It was only a personnal demo it must be remembered.
1. “Hear My Freedom”– I know this jam from the “Ball & Chain” bootleg. It mainly features an organist (thought to be Lee Michaels) backed by Buddy Miles’ funky drumming. It’s a good example of how Jimi’s dynamic playing could lift a pretty run-of-the-mill jam. Jimi also puts in a spontaneous scat/rap vocal.
2. “Room Full Of Mirrors” /
3. “Shame, Shame, Shame” – A rather drab jam from early 1969 with Rocky Dzidzournu on congas. This is known from the “Studio Haze” bootleg among others. This features the 1988 added overdubs from Mitch and Noel.
4. “Messenger” – Also known from the “Ball & Chain” bootleg, this is just a sketch of a piece from Jimi as he hammers away on a repetitive ascending riff, which doesn’t really go anywhere. The piano parts are played by Jimi (and not Lee Michaels as the bootleg incorrectly stateded). Tedious.
5. “Hound Dog Blues” – An off-the-cuff 1969 jam with Chris Wood on sax and film maker Jerry Goldstein (who filmed the 1969 Royal Albert Hall concerts) on piano! Nothing special despite one or two nice flourishes from Jimi. Tedious.
6. “Untitled Basic Track”– A great instrumental piece recorded by the Experience in October 1968. Jimi really was into heavy monster riffs in late ’68 but after the intro there follows some superb soloing which is akin to what he did on “Midnight” for example. A pity that it doesn’t have a title.
7. “Star Spangled Banner”/
8. “Purple Haze” – Los Angeles Forum, April 26, 1969 and previously seen in the Alan Douglas assembled “Lifelines” box but presented here with the original mix which was done for the abandoned 1969 live album.
9. “Young/Hendrix” – A edit of this was previously on the old vinyl “Nine To The Universe”. This version is 21 minutes long!! Wonderful stuff.
10. “Mastermind” – A studio run through of the song that Larry Lee sang at Woodstock (that live version has never been officially released). It’s a cute little romantic R&B song penned by Lee himself in an Impressions kind of way and it’s in fact very similar to the old single “(My Girl) She’s A Fox)” by The Icemen (see CD1) on which Jimi played some similar licks. It was generous of Jimi to let Larry do his thing here (and at Woodstock) and curious how it it brought him right back to where he had come from – R’n’B. It is a bit flat and amateur sounding but Jimi puts in some lovely guitar backing and fabulous soloing towards the end.
11. “Message To Love” – The original full length master and Jimi’s last work on the song. It’s interesting to hear this, even if it is not as rich as the version that is on the purple box (and should really have been on “South Saturn Delta damnit!).
12. “Fire” – A Band Of Gypsys live at The Fillmore East on New Years Eve 1969. An extract of this was featured in the Band Of Gypsys DVD and it’s a very bizarre and disjointed version of the classic Experience song thanks to Buddy Miles’ backing vocals and staccato drumming. Jimi goes into quite a long instrumental passage with Miles trying unsuccessfully to make something of it.
13. “Foxy Lady” – This is a killer. Same date as the previous track with Jimi putting in some simply awesome guitar here. It then goes into quite a long chugging jam until Jimi half decides to segue into “Purple Haze” but unfortunately lets it drop before it can get under way.
1. “Stone Free” – Another track from the same concert and interestingly the riff here echoes what Jimi did with the song during the 1969 studio re-recording. Unfortunately Buddy Miles again puts in some of his characteristic soulful backing vocal and horrendous drumming but there’s some good playing from Jimi even though you can sense that he is a little thrown out of kilter by Miles’ over-excited and unimaginative slamming.
2. “Burning Desire” – A January 16, 1970 session for one of my least favourite Hendrix compositions. Some nice passages from Jimi but this brings back depressing memories of the awful “Loose Ends”/”Baggy’s Rehearsals” version. Miles slams away and does his painful drum rolls. It’s awful.
3. “Lonely Avenue” – An interesting November 1969 jam with Buddy Miles on an old Ray Charles number! In Jimi’s hands, the song becomes an erratic funky rap which doesn’t come to much unfortunately.
4. “Everlasting First” – An alternate and unedited version of the song which turned up on Love’s “False Start” album. Jimi guested on lead guitar. Not a great song unfortunately.
5. “Freedom” – A live-in-studio tryout of the song which is basically just rhythm and it’s a waste of space. It shouldn’t have been included.
6. “Peter Gunn/Catastrophe” – This light hearted studio interlude was on “War Heroes” back in the early 70s. This version is a little longer and has different mix.
7. “In From The Storm” – Alternate studio recording. Very similar to the “Cry Of Love”/”First Rays” version.
8. “All God’s Children”– An unknown and uncirculated recording from a June 1970 session. Begins nicely and after a slight lull it continues on with some fabulous soloing.
9. “Red House” – Berkeley Community Theater, May 30, 1970 (previously seen on a CD in 1991 which was free with the Jimi Plays Berkeley videocassette (it was also in the shops on Radioactive Records in 2005).
10. “Play That Riff” – This is the short sequence of Eddie Kramer asking Jimi to play his little riff that he integrated into “Midnight Lightning” (known from the “Freak Out Jam” bootleg). He would also integrate it into”Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” occasionally (Cologne ’69 for example).
11. “Bolero” – Known to collectors from many a bootleg this long and mainly rhythmic exploration was intended by Jimi to be the introduction to “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”, which is repectfully the following song here. This is a work-in-progress effort and you can tell that Jimi hadn’t fully defined it. It goes on and on repetitively and rather boringly before it sort of fizzles out, leading to the gentle opening of the following song.
12. “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” – This is just a slightly different (not as good) mix of the studio version we already have and is only here to demonstrate the link with “Bolero”.
13. “Suddenly November Morning” – At long last, an extract from Jimi’s long “lost” home demo tape “The Black Gold Suite”. It is just Jimi alone on acoustic guitar going through an early sketch of this previously unheard of song. This leaves us all in utter anticipation of the entire tape of the “suite”. However this perhaps reveals that Experience Hendrix do not have the hotel room tape on which Jimi performed a few overdubs (with the help of Alan Douglas). Where the hell is it?
So there you have it. A strictly “collectors only” box set with some fascinating pieces of the Hendrix puzzle. Again, it’s a shame that all of CD1 has been filled up with pre-Experience recordings and although some moments are interesting, it’s obvious that Experience Hendrix really are scraping the bottom of the barrel here and filling in the gaps with alternate mixes of material that fans have already. I would have prefered to have seen the rarities here collected together on Dagger releases but this set is obviously more potent from a marketing point of view and creates a bigger media buzz. At least it gets Jimi talked about all over the planet.
Note that the Band Of Gypsys Fillmore recordings here are from the multi-track tapes (“Live At The Fillmore East” had only used soundboard tapes).
The DVD is titled “Voodoo Chile” and has already been aired in some countries (either complete or as a truncated 75 minute version). Why the hell the film wasn’t called “West Coast Seattle Boy” is beyond me! The way the film is constructed, it fits that concept, beginning with Jimi’s childhood and early years as an amateur then professional musician before moving through his short career. What an error of coordination.
That aside, the film is nicely done as it presents Jimi’s life story in his own words, from his letters, post cards, personnal notes and interviews, which are for the most part narrated by Bootsy Collins, who’s soft voice echoes that of Jimi. There are some rare bits of footage to be seen here and there. At one point it makes you think that some footage of Paris Olympia 1966 is included but this seems to be just a clever montage of some Saville Theatre footage.
After that, I think we’re done with documentaries about Jimi, it’s been done to death and we know it by heart. We want the “Black Gold” tape, Royal Albert Hall,…
The title “West Coast Seattle Boy” came from a song that Jimi had written but never got the chance to record in any way (as far as we know). The alternate title for the unfinished song was “If Found Lost… Please Return To Body”.
> Note that this anthology was also be released as a hefty eight vinyl set (without the DVD).
> For those who signed up for the newsletter on the French version of the official site,
the complete track “Hear My Freedom” was available as a free download.
A patchwork montage that nicely conveys the concept of an life spanning anthology – 8/10
WEST COAST SEATTLE BOY – THE JIMI HENDRIX ANTHOLOGY – 1CD ♥♥♥
Release date: November 2010 (Sony)
Fire, Love Or Confusion, Room Full Of Mirrors, Shame, Shame, Shame, Mr. Bad Luck, May This Be Love, Are You Experienced?, Tears Of Rage, Hear My Freedom, Hound Dog Blues, Lonely Avenue, Burning Desire, In From The Storm, Bolero, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
This single CD of extracts from the box set is released as the same time. It is also available as a pack with the DVD. Looking over the tracklist, it does seem to present a more “listenable” experience, mainly concentrating on vocal tracks, making a quite a nice little album.
> There is also a single CD + DVD version.
Radio Sampler edition
Testify, Fire, May This Be Love, Love Or Confusion, Mr. Bad Luck, Purple Haze
Bonus tracks: Little Drummer Boy/SIlent Night/Auld Lang Syne, Day Tripper
This “Radio Sampler” CD featured only six tracks from the box set plus a couple of bonuses fom previous releases.
Fire / Touch You / Cat Talkin’ To Me – 7″ vinyl single
Released: April 2011 (Sony)
This was released to coincide with Record Day. “Fire” is the fantastic mix from “West Coast Seattle Boy” and the version of “Cat Talkin’ To Me” is the one with the 1987 Mitchell vocal overdub (already released on the flip-side of the US “Valleys Of Neptune” vinyl single.
The previously unreleased track “Touch You” was recorded at London’s Olympic Studios on December 20, 1967 and it is simply an instrumental run-through of the riff that became “Dance” (which featured a Mitchell vocal recorded in 1967 – unreleased officially). The band kept the riif in their minds for some time and came back to it in 1969 when they had another instrumental bash at it, titling it “Lullaby For The Summer” (released last year on the “Vallays Of Neptune” album). The riff was finally recycled by Jimi as the opening riff of “Ezy Ryder”.
> This was also released as a 7″ vinyl without “Cat Talkin’ To Me”.
“Doriella Du Fontainne” – 12” vinyl single
Re-release 2011 (Celluloid Records CEL 166)
SeePosthumous Studio albums – 80s
> In April 2020 the song was included on a rock/funk compilation which came with MOJO magazine.
RADIO TYMES– British Pop on TV & Radio – Lost and Found 1967-1969 (Various Artists)
Released 2011 (Top Sounds/BBC)
DEEP PURPLE – The Painter, YARDBIRDS – Think About It, THE MOVE – So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star, TOMORROW FEATURING KEITH WEST – My White Bicycle, LOVE SCULPTURE – Do I Still Figure In Your Life, YARDBIRDS – White Summer, THE MOVE – Cherry Blossom Clinic, BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST – Night, THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, LOVE SCULPTURE – The Inner Light, DEEP PURPLE – Hush, YARDBIRDS – Dazed And Confused, LOVE SCULPTURE – Sabre Dance
Just out is this superb little compilation of rare TV and radio recordings from UK’s Top Sounds Records which features The Jimi Hendrix Experience on the BBC TV show “Dee Time” in 1967! Like the “Top Of The Pops” recording that appeared on the Sony re-release of “BBC Sessions” (also found by researcher Nigel Lees), this features yet another “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” with a strong live vocal from Jimi over the single’s backing track. The taper recorded this from a direct feed into the back of his television set!
This CD is a fascinating journey into 60’s psychedelia and puts The Experience right within the context of their epoch. The 28 page CD booklet (16 page for the vinyl) is lavishly illustrated with presse clippings, magazine/record covers, posters and press advertisements. A must!
> This Dee Time version of “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” was later inserted into the 2013 re-release of the purple box set “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”.
Can You please Come Crawl Out Your Window (Dylan)/Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
Released 2012 (Sundazed) – 7″ vinyl single.
A new series of collectable vinyl singles on the Sundazed label kicks off with these two tracks extracted from the recent “BBC Sessions” re-release. Here however, the version of “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window” is the original mono mix (it was faked stereo on “BBC Sessions”). That is the Top Of The Pops mimed version of “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” (with a live vocal from Jimi).
Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) (Earl King)/Calling All Devil’s Children
Released 2012 (Sundazed) – 7″ vinyl single.
The second Sundazed single. This is the “Electric Ladyland” version of “Come On (Part One)”. We presume that the B side here is exactly the same as the version presented on “West Coast Seattle Boy”.
> Note that there have been three versions of “Come On” released over the years: the original on “Electric Ladyland”, an alternate take on “Lifelines” and another as the B side of a French Polydor single in 1991.
Purple Haze/Foxy Lady – 7″ vinyl single
Released: 2012 (EH/Sony Legacy)
The regular stereo versions.
Somewhere/Foxy Lady (Live) – CD single
Released: February 2013 (Sony)
The first extract from the new compilation of outtakes titled “People, Hell and Angels” is this “newly discovered gem” as Experience Hendrix enthused in the promo talk.
We know the song already of course from the MCA 2000 box set and the version that featured some shakey 1971 drum overdubs by Mitch Mitchell. Prior to that, the song had been featured on “Crash Landing” back in 1975, with session musicians providing the rhythm section and even extra guitar parts.
The raw material for this version is a studio demo from February 1968, featuring Buddy Miles (in his very first session with Jimi) and none other than Steve Stills on bass. The sound is very rugged, as if the band is playing in a garage and It blasts in abruptly with a rather hurrieded tempo before settling into a nice groove and some lovely complex wah-wah playing from Jimi. The overall tempo is in fact a little faster than MCA box version but then we hear the same vocal track as on the familiar versions, dubbed onto the rough demo! So this is obviously a Pro-Tools pitch-adapted overlay. It is of course a beautiful vocal from Jimi and one of my all-time favourites, so one does fall under its charm initially. Buddys’ drumming seems a little uncertain in parts but it works pretty well until another guitar part from Jimi comes in, and again, it’s from the old version that we know. Unfortunately it sounds just too polished and slick and really doesn’t fit in as an overdub for a rough studio bash.
So here again we have Eddie Kramer trying to doll-up rough demos as near-finished studio outtakes. Like with “Valleys Of Neptune”, it’s such a shame that an interesting studio demo has been ruined by a futile attemp to create a more “commercial” product. Let’s hope that we will get the original demo one day (on Dagger ?).
That “Foxy Lady” (Fillmore East 1/1/70 – 1st show) was previously seen way back in 1986 (with poorer sound from a video camera) on “Band Of Gypsys 2”. It reappeared in 1991 as one of the bonus tracks for a re-issue of the original “Band Of Gypsys” album. Unfortunately here, the superior multi-track sound reveals its flaws with more clarity – namely Buddy Miles’ catastrophic drumming with his slushy cement-mixer cymbals which drone away in the background, along with his trademark corny drum rolls and totally un-funky banging. Understandibly, this tends to throw Jimi off mark occasionally but he does manage put in a biting solo. If ever they do get round to putting out a Band Of Gypsys box set, it will be a gruelling experience to sit through (as the bootlegs tapes already illustrate).
Somewhere/Power Of Soul – 7″ limited edition vinyl single
Released: February 2013 (Sony)
This vinyl B-side “Power Of Soul” is a mix by Jimi and Bob Hughes from February 1970 and it’s slightly different to the version we know already from the 1998 album “South Saturn Delta” (and before that in a Alan Douglas savaged version on “Crash Landing” of 1975). It’s a little longer this time with an extra verse and some slight lyrical differences and Jimi’s vocal is more up-front in the mix (it’s a little hissy). Unfortunately, like on the Kramer 1997 mix the first “Yeeah-yeeah” is missing at the outset. Jimi’s voice comes in after an empty space which was filled with a group vocal on an earlier rough mix (see the bootlegs “Paper Airplanes” and “Electric Hendrix 1”). There is also that same annoying delay on the guitar overdubs at the outset..
PEOPLE, HELL AND ANGELS ♥♥½
Released March 2013 (Sony)
Earth Blues, Somewhere, Hear My Train A Comin’, Bleeding Heart (James), Let Me Move You (Youngblood?), Izabella, Easy Blues*, Crash Landing, Inside Out, Hey Gypsy Boy, Mojo Man (Allen/Allen?), Villanova Junction Blues
* “Easy Blues” was previously on Nine To The Universe but is longer here
So, 14 months after the “West Coast Seattle Boy” collection of rarities (and three years since “Valley Of Neptune”) comes this interesting and musically varied collection of previously unreleased studio recordings (although different versions of some tracks have previously appeared). Unfortunately, Eddie has been up his Pro-Tools cutting and pasting on a few tracks again.Like on “Valleys Of Neptune”, this collection focuses mainly on the post “Electric Ladyland” period but here, there are no recordings featuring the Jimi/Mitch/Noel line-up. The idea is to highlight Jimi’s perrogative from 1968 onwards, to widen his musical spectrum and play with anyone he pleased. This intention was evident of course on “Ladyland” as it featured a host of guest musicians (Buddy Miles, Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood, Jack Cassidy, Freddy Smith, Mike Finnegan,…). Jimi’s old friend Buddy Miles began jamming as early as February 1968 and he is in the drum seat on six of the twelve tracks here.
I was somewhat disappointed with “West Coast Seattle Boy” so I was initially very skeptical about this new collection of outtakes and jams but happily, I do find it on the whole quite enjoyable, with some interesting things to discover. So, a big thank you to Experience Hendrix for this! HOWEVER, the Pro-Tool constructing and editing on some tracks is infuriating and wholly unethical. So the album loses half a star despite the fact that there is some great music on here.
Earth Blues – The Band Of Gypsy in a live-in-studio version of the song which appeared in a more lavish form on “Rainbow Bridge” in 1971 (subsequently on “First Rays Of The Rising Sun”). This has a “garage” feel similar to the version that appeared on the “Baggy’s Rehearsal” Dagger Records album and there are many lyrical variations in relation to the later definitive version. The band are tight and the song was really taking shape at this stage. I do find Buddy’s drumming to be a little stiff and this is really a bit of a hollow sounding track with which to kick off the album.
> Interesting to note that on his backing vocal Buddy sings “Help me darlin” (as does Jimi) and not “Everybody” as I it seemed to sound on the definitive version.
Somewhere – It would have made more sense to put this before “Earth Blues” as it is an early prototype of that song. See my review of the single above.
Hear My Train A Comin – Band Of Gypsys in the studio again (and this was recorded while The Experience were still active!) attacking this song which was in Jimi’s live repertoire from 1967 to 1970. Buddy’s drumming is a little too rigid for my taste but there is some terrific soloing from Jimi and this is where the album really takes off. Unfortunately, after only five minutes, Jimi winds things up and the song comes to a rather abrupt close. It was only a studio rehearsal/jam after all. I understand that the ending is patched in from another take.
> In the mid 70s, Alan Douglas had worked on this version while preparing the “Jimi Hendrix: Blues” album of 1994. He had rather clumsily fused together the first half of this jam with a March 69 version by The Experience, presumably to “rectify” that abrupt ending. It didn’t really work, so he shelved the project (but it later leaked out and appeared on various bootlegs “Raw Blues”, The Capricorn Tape, Villanova Junction, 5000 Halos,…).
Bleeding Heart – The same session as above delivered this interesting version of the Elmore James song that Jimi loved. This is not a repeat of the version that appeared on “Blues” (as I had feared) but an entirely different version which is hugely enjoyable. Great guitar and Buddy puts in a slight shuffle funk into the rhythm. The track fades out early at 3:56 but this album is moving along fine!
Let Me Move You – On the “Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues” compilation album we were treated to “Georgia Blues”, a jam with Hendrix and is old musical partner Lonnie Youngblood and his band. “Let Me Move You” is from the same session and again Youngblood sings lead vocal and plays his sax. It’s interesting as Jimi is renewing with a style that was part of his pre-Experience days but he dives back in with such force. It’s a great, driving soul/funk jam with a riff built on Buddy Guy’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and you can tell that Jimi was really enjoying himself as he rips into his guitar, belting out some great rhythms and solos. Terrific stuff.
Izabella – We have already had four studio versions of this song (see my “Song by song” section) so I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary here but I was pleasantly surprised as this grooves along very nicely thank you. It’s the Gypsy Sun & Rainbows line-up and Larry Lee puts in a nice jazzy tinged guitar accompaniment (which Jimi would drop for the later versions). Great drums from Mitch and super-duper guitar playing from James Marshall Hendrix again.
Easy Blues – At last this gorgeous jazzy guitar instrumental (featuring Jimi with Larry Lee, Mitch and Cox) gets a re-release! It first appeared back in 1980 on the “Nine To The Universe” album but in a shorter form. This new edit gives us the more conclusive ending but as with that earlier Alan Douglas version, it is still about half the length of the original jam (mainly because Larry Lee’s long opening solo is edited out). However, the editing makes it work fine and it’s a stunning track with terrific drums from Mitch, tasteful support from Larry and Jimi demonstrating the full extent of of his unequalled improvisational genius.
Crash Landing – Two words which are enough to ignite a passionate debate among Hendrix fans! “Crash Landing”, the title track from the controversial posthumous overdub album assembled by Alan Douglas back in 1975. On the track, Jimi is backed by Billy Cox and drummer Rocky Isaac for what was a fascinating Hendrix-rap and an early draft of what eventually became “Freedom”.
The raw tape has circulated for years but I hardy ever listened to it because I disliked the Douglas montage so much. I’ve learned that this new version is unfortunately a combination of different takes with some parts chopped out. This is an appalling thing to do – the taking of studio sketches and try-outs in order to consruct a more “finished” sounding product. It’s almost as bad as what Alan Douglas did with his ludicrous 70s overdub albums (but at least Kramer didn’t bring in session musicians like Douglas had done). Of course the wider public won’t be aware of this sort of Frankensteining (just like I wasn’t until I found out). Pack it in Eddie, you are insulting those who really care.
Inside Out – Just Jimi and Mitch here (Jimi on all guitars, bass included) for this strong “riffy” recording from June 1969. This is already known to collectors as “Mushy Name” * (on the “Freak Out Jam” bootleg for example) and it is an exploration of riffs which would later be used in “Ezy Ryder” (the opening riff of which derived from “Dance”/”Touch You”/”Lullaby For The Summer”). A similarly structured jam on the riff was released on the Dagger album “Hear My Music” (2004) as “Ezy Ryder/Star Spangled Banner”.
On this version, one of the guitar parts is fed through a Leslie speaker (like on “Tax Free”) giving a nice juicy organ texture to the music. It’s a great rhythmic bash but it does hammer on rather monotonously and there’s no solo, but hell, this wasn’t meant for our ears anyway.
*Confusingly, the instrumental “Little One” (on “Lifelines” and “West Coast Seattle Boy”) has also been referred to as “Mushy Name” in the past and even in the 1992 McDermott/Kramer book “Setting The Record Straight”.
Hey, Gypsy Boy – Recorded the same day as “Let Me Move You” this is a very loose stab at a new song that Jimi had on the boiler, which would later evolve into the beautiful “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” (on “Rainbow Bridge”/” First Rays”). It was featured on Alan Douglas’ second Hendrix/overdub album of 1975 (titled “Midnight Lightning”) complete with awkward overdubs of female backing vocals and some inappropriately slick backing. This original tape with just Jimi and Buddy sounds a little uneasy with Jimi’s sketchy vocal and slightly out of tune guitar. That said, his closing solo is just gorgeous.
Mojo Man – At last!! This is a long lost track which has been talked about for decades. In 1970, Jimi had recruited his old friends the Aleem twins (calling themselves The Ghetto Fighters) as backing vocalists on a “Dolly Dagger” and “Freedom”. The twins had had a single out in 1969 as The Jet Set titled “Mojo Man (From Voodoo Land)” (Rojac ROJ 130) and one day, they got Jimi to add lead guitar to an alternate mix of the song. That version was then remixed and it appears here for the first time.
Villanova Junction Blues – Recorded the same day as track 3 and 4, this little coda is just a short studio recording of the lovely instrumental piece that Jimi famously played at the close of his legendary Woodstock performance just a few weeks later.
Here are the tracks in their chronolgically recorded order:
Somewhere – March 13, 1968 (with Stills, Miles)
Inside Out – June 1968 (with Mitchell)
Let Me Move You – March 18, 1969 (with Lonnie Youngblood (vocals, sax), John Winfield (organ), Hand Anderson (bass), Jimmy Mayes (drums), unknown percussionist).
Gypsy Boy – March 18, 1969 (with Miles)
Crash Landing – April 4, 1969 (with Cox, Isaac)
Hear My Train A Comin’ / Bleeding Heart / Villanova Junction Blues – May 1969 (with Cox, Miles)
Izabella – August 1969 (with Cox, Mitchell, Lee, Sultan, Velez)
Easy Blues – August 28, 1969 (with Cox, Mitchell, Lee)
Earth Blues – December 19, 1969 (with Cox, Miles)
> Also available as an SACD/CD from Acoustic Sounds
> Bonus track version: Some distributors with be shipping a version of the album with “Ezy Ryder/MLK” (previously on Dagger’s “Burning Desire”) as a bonus track.
> A bizarre promotional move was the airing of seven tracks (excerpts obviously) on the “Hawaii Five-O” TV series on January 20th (US CBS channel). The tracks featured were “Bleeding Heart,” “Mojo Man,” “Hey Gypsy Boy,” “Inside Out,” “Crash Landing,” “Hear My Train A-Comin” and “Somewhere.”
The most worthwhile tracks: Hear My Train A Comin’, Easy Blues
That engaging black and white image is an early 1967 portrait, so it is completely out of context for a collection of 1968-69 studio jams. Who approves these things? 5/10
Eddie Kramer stated after this release that it was the very last collection of studio outtakes! They were back four years later with another album, making it a “trilogy” (a rather botched trilogy).
MONO VINYL RE-RELEASES:
The announcement that the above mono albums were to be released on vinyl was very exciting. Every Hendrix fan should know the mono mixes as some songs are superior in terms of power or simply the balance of the voices and instruments. The original tapes were used and put through a vintage deck in an effort to further capture the sound of the epoch.
The first echoes I have are that the sound quality here is a little disappointing when compared to pristine originals (although quality also varied between the various original editions). There is a problem with “Fire” which has an abrupt change in sound quality/tonality in the last 20 seconds. Is the master damaged? A mastering error?
> The old French Barclay 2nd edition (with the Isle of Wight cover photo) still holds its own as the best mono version of the album.
SINGLE – from the original mono master tape!
Hey Joe/Stone Free – 7″ vinyl single
Released: March 2013 (EH/Sony Legacy/Music On Vinyl)
The original mono versions, from the original master tape and the very first time for Stone Free since the original Polydor single!
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE ♥♥♥♥
Re-released 2013 (Sony)
CD1: Purple Haze (Alternate) / Killing Floor (Live-Paris 1966) (Burnett)/ Hey Joe (Live Paris 1966 ) (Roberts)/ Foxy Lady (Alternate) / Highway Chile (Stereo) / Hey Joe (Alternate) / Title #3 / Third Stone From the Sun (Alternate) / Taking Care of No Business / Here He Comes (Lover Man) / Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Alternate) / Rock Me Baby (Live Monterey 1967-remix) (King) / Like A Rolling Stone (Live Monterey 1967-remix) (Dylan), Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (BBC – Dee Time), The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice (Original single mix)
CD 2: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live Stockholm 1967) (Lennon/McCartney) / Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Live Stockholm 1967 ) / Little Wing (Alternate) / Little Miss Lover/ (Alternate) / The Wind Cries Mary (Live Paris 1967) / Catfish Blues (Live Paris 1967-incomplete) (Petway) / Bold As Love (Alternate) / Sweet Angel (Alternate) / Fire(Live Clark University 1968) / Somewhere / (Have You Ever Been To) Electric Ladyland / Gypsy Eyes (Alternate) / Room Full Of Mirrors /Peace in Mississippi/Gloria (Morrison)/ It’s Too Bad / Star Spangled Banner (Studio version) (Traditionnal)
CD 3: Stone Free (re-recording) / Like A Rolling Stone (Winterland 10/10/68) (Dylan)/Spanish Castle Magic (rehearsal 69)/ Hear My Train A Comin'(rehearsal 69) / Room Full of Mirrors (Alternate) / I Don’t Live Today (Live LA 1969) / Little Wing (Live Albert Hall 1969) )/ Red House (Live San Diego 1969 ) / Purple Haze (Live San Diego 1969) / Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Live Albert Hall 1969 ) / Izabella (Alternate)
CD 4: Message To Love (Alternate) / Earth Blues (Alternate) / Astro Man (Alternate) / Country Blues / Freedom (Alternate) / Johnny B. Goode (Live Berkeley 1970) (Berry)/ Lover Man / Blue Suede Shoes(Live Berkeley 1970 ) (Perkins) / Cherokee Mist / Come Down Hard On Me / Hey Baby-In From The Storm (Live Maui 1970) / Ezy Ryder (Alternate) / Night Flying Bird (Alternate) / All Along The Watchtower(Live Isle Of Wight 1970) (Dylan)/ In From The Storm(Live Isle Of Wight 1970 ) / Slow Blues
Previously released on MCA in 2000 (see that studio section for track details), this is due to be re-released by Sony, which will please those who missed it last time.Despite the on-going dispute with Jerry Goldstein, the Royal Albert Hall tracks remain intact ( why weren’t they usedon the reissue of “Hendrix In The West”?).
This new edition of the box has four tracks added:
“Peace In Mississippi” – previously track two of the “Valleys Of Neptune” Walmart CD single and B-side of UK 7″ vinyl
“Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” – from the “Dee Time” TV show 8/24/67 (previously on the “Radio Tymes” compilation – see above)
“Stars That Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice” – the original UK single mix
“Like A Rolling Stone” – Winterland 10/10/68 (previously unreleased – not in the Winterland box set).
Nice to see that the bonuses have been inserted at the right moment and not simply tagged on at the end.
Purple Haze/51st Anniversary – 7″ vinyl single
Released: February 2014 (EH/Sony Legacy/Sundazed) – UK only
CRY OF LOVE ♥♥♥♥½
Re-release September 2014 (Sony)
Freedom, Drifting, Ezy Ryder, Night Bird Flying, My Friend (Hendrix/Redding)
Straight Ahead, Astro Man, Angel, In From The Storm, Belly Button Window.
Now this was nice surprise! Both “Cry Of Love” and “Rainbow Bridge” were re-released in September 2014. Talk about a WTF moment.
This is perhaps as a sort of follow-up the bizarre re-release on “In The West” in 2011. It’s great to see these old albums return but all this will make Jimi’s discography all the more confusing to those unfamiliar with Jimi’s recorded legacy.
These re-releases feature mastering by Bernie Grundman (so, different from the “First Rays”/”South Saturn Delta” versions which were compressed) and they are a joy to listen to. Grundman did a great job and these albums are a must, rendering “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” redundant (note that the vinyl version of that compilation sounded better than the CD according to audiophiles).
Previously released in 1971 and on CD in the 80s
> See “Posthumous Studio Albums – 70s” for the album review.
> All tracks were also on “First Rays Of The Rising Sun” but with compressed mastering (although note that the vinyl version sounds better than the CD).
Rainbow Bridge ♥♥♥♥½
Re-release September 2014 (Sony)
Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Pali Gap, Room Full Of Mirrors, Star Spangled Banner (Traditional),
Look Over Yonder, Hear My Train A Comin'(Live Berkeley 1970), Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).
First time ever on (official) CD for this terrific album which followed “Cry Of Love” back in the early 70s. As said above, the sound here is far superior to that of “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun”. A fantastic album.
Previously released in 1971
> See “Posthumous Studio Albums – 70s” for the album review.
Dolly Dagger, Earth Blues, Room Full Of Mirrors, Hey Baby – also on First Rays Of The Rising Sun (with inferior mastering)
Pali Gap, Look Over Yonder – also on South Saturn Delta (with inferior mastering)
Star Spangled Banner – also on The Jimi Hendrix Experience (purple) box set
Hear My Train A Comin – also on Blues and Voodoo Child compilations
CURTIS KNIGHT & THE SQUIRES – You Can’t Use My Name
Released: March 2015 (Sony Legacy)
After decades of litigation, Experience Hendrix cut a deal with Ed Chalpin to release the Curtis Knight material themselves but this time with more professional sourcing production values.
> See Before Fame section.
Morning Symphony Ideas 10″ E.P
Released November 25, 2016 (for Record Store Day)
Jungle, Room Full Of Mirrors, Strato Strut
A three track 10″ vinyl E.P. with extracts from the Morning Symphony Ideas CD (Dagger Records). Interesting for those who don’t already have the album.
Stone Free/Lover Man – 7″ vinyl single
Released: January 2017 (EH/Sony Legacy/Sundazed)
This is the 1969 re-recording of “Stone Free” and I presume it’s the mix that is on Valleys Of Neptune (as opposed to the one in the purple box). That “Lover Man” was recorded on July 20, 1970 which I think means that it is the one in the purple box also.
All the Sundazed 7″ vinyl singles are available as a bundle.
Lover Man / Foxy Lady (Live) – 7″ vinyl single
Released: February 2018 (Sony)
The first extract from the new compilation of outtakes titled “Both Sides Of The Sky” (see below) is “Lover Man” (a previously unrelelased studio take by the Band Of Gypsys line-up). That live “Foxy Lady” B-Side is also an official newbie – from the Vittus TV studios, 18 November 1967. We have already had an extract of that three song performance with “Catfish Blues” which appeared on the “Blues” album.
Surely they could have picked different songs to vary the proceedings a little.
> A far superior “Lover Man” was the B-side of the last Sundazed singles from January 2017 (see above).
> A live “Foxy Lady” was also the B-Side of the 2013 CD single “Somewhere”!
BOTH SIDES OF THE SKY ♥♥
Release : March 2018 (Sony)
Mannish Boy (Elias McDaniel/Mel London), Lover Man, Hear My Train A-Comin, Stepping Stone, $20 Fine (Stephen Stills), Power Of Soul, Jungle, Things I Used To Do* (Eddie Jones), Georgia Blues, Sweet Angel, Woodstock (Joni Mitchell), Send My Love To Linda, Cherokee Mist*
* Previously on Live & Unreleased – The Radio Show and Lifelines but in shorter forms
Announced for March 2018 is this new collection of studio leftovers, following in the same vein as the Valleys Of Neptune and People Hell & Angels albums. After the latter, Eddie Kramer had said publicly that it was the last collection of studio material but they managed to cobble together yet another and declared it a trilogy. Again, these are recordings from Jimi with various line-ups and this time nearly all tracks are from his numerous visites to the Record Plant recording studio in New York (dates and recording order below). Before I begin, I must stress again that one needs Jimi’s own three studio albums, plus Cry Of Love, Rainbow Bridge, War Heroes (or First Rays/South Saturn Delta), the purple box, Hear My Music and Burning Desire, before you get to this decade’s trilogy of outtakes, alternates and jams.
First of all, this album sounds superb on vinyl (I haven’t heard the CD). So again, bravo to Eddie Kramer and his team and good old Bernie Grundman for the mastering.
It’s just a pity that the contents aren’t up to scratch.
So hear we go, track by track:
Mannish Boy – From the first ever Band Of Gypsys studio session (while The Experience were still active). Jimi and the band worked for hours on this song, with a multitude of takes. Alan Dougles included a composite on the 1994 “Blues” complilation (it was the worst track on that album) but here we have a better vocal track and the whole thing has a bit more bounce and bite. There’s only a brief solo from Jimi towards the end. It’s a punchy opener but it does drag on a little too long and it’s just a loose studio jam really and not worthy of such lavish packaging (which is the problem of all this decade’s new releases).
Lover Man – Talk about overkill, we have so many studio versions of this song already. This one is a pretty rudimentary rehearsal take from the Band Of Gypsys just a couple of weeks before the famous Fillmore East concerts. It has quite a closeted, compact sound but with some lovely rhythm playing from Jimi and a relaxed (guide) vocal but Buddy’s snappy drumming is not to my taste. There isn’t really a guitar solo in there and I think this would have been better placed on a more low-key rehearsal/jam album.
> The press release, interviews and promo videos with Kramer mention that Jimi goes into the Batman theme in the middle of the song but he doesn’t really. He plays a rhythmic passage that is like an inversion of it. This passage is present on other versions that we have had (without all the hullabaloo about it being anything to do with Batman).
Hear My Train A-Comin – Yet again! This song was also on the two other albums in this decade’s trilogy of studio collections! Well, let’s face it, if they had three excellent studio versions of the song, the only way to go was to put one on each successive album. They merit this because each one is different due to Jimi’s improvisational genius. This is another Jimi Hendrix Experience studio take and it’s from Noel’s last session with the band (April 9th, 1969) and… it’s terrific. Some fabulous playing from Jimi and the boys. This is the album highlight for me.
> In the mid 70s, Alan Douglas had worked on this version of “Hear My Train A Comin” while preparing the “Jimi Hendrix: Blues” album of 1994. He had rather clumsily fused together the END of this jam with a later Band Of Gypsys take (which was released on People Hell & Angels). It didn’t really work, so he shelved the project (but it later leaked out and appeared on various bootlegs “Raw Blues”, The Capricorn Tape, Villanova Junction, 5000 Halos,…).
Stepping Stone – This is a weird Band Of Gypsys version. It’s a raggedy jam on the song but it features some cool guitar overdubs! Very strange – just Jimi taking his time, trying things out for his own ears, as he gradually crafted the song. One overdub gives quite a different slant on the song, compared to the more finished version that we know from War Heroes/First Rays (and the Band Of Gypsys 1970 single version). Simply horrible drumming from Buddy Miles. This shouldn’t be on a high profile release like this.
$20 Fine – Jimi in session with Stephen Stills (organ, vocals), Mitch and Duane Hitchings (keyboards) in September 1969. It’s always interesting to hear Jimi in a purely supportive role and especially when it’s for a musician of the calibre of Stills. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty dreary, throwaway song (which is why it was thrown away until now). No stand-out soloing from Jimi but some nice phrasing. This and the later track “Woodstock” will mystify the Hendrix neophyte. The two tracks are very out of place here.
> This is in fact a variant on “$30 Fine”, a Crosby Stills & Nash outtake that can be heard on YouTube.
Power Of Soul – The South Saturn Delta album version of this song was a 1997 mix by Eddie Kramer. The one that was on the “Somewhere” vinyl 7″ B-side (2013) was by Hendrix and Bob Hughes but this previously unreleased one is the original August 1970 Hendrix/Kramer mix! Guess what, it’s the best yet. The opening guitar delay that ruined the previous versions is less confused here (one guitar is more subdued, like an echo) and it makes all the difference. Unfortunately the first “Yeeaah yeeaah” vocal is again absent (why the hell didn’t Eddie fix that? That would be Pro-Tooling that I would approve of). I love this song but it is a little all over the place as a composition (the Band Of Gypsys album version is the definitive one) and it’s a shame that Chas wasn’t there to help Jimi beat it into shape. With the right editing and construction, it could have been a monster hit in for JImi in 1970. This version is a little longer than those previously released.
Jungle – Good news, this isn’t the same version as the one on Morning Symphony Ideas (which also appeared on 10″ single only last year!). Some gorgeous guitar tones from Jimi as he gently improvises but Miles’ dumb, ham-fisted drumming spoils the mood. Halfway through it comes to a halt and Jimi launches straight into “Villanova Junction Blues” with a pretty basic rhythmic run-through. A waste of album space. FIller.
Things I Used To Do – A glimpse of this jam has already been released (see below) and it features Jimi loosly jamming with Johnny Winter, Billy Cox and Dallas Taylor at the Record Plant. The track has been edited down for this release. The two guitarists leave space for each other when necessary and Jimi puts in a rather drab guide vocal. It’s a pity a more spirited take didn’t happen that day. Again, not the right sort of track for a high-profile release like this.
Georgia Blues – Previously seen on the compilation “Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues: Jimi Hendrix”, this is an absolutely fabulous performance by Jimi with Lonnie Youngblood and his band. Superb vocals and sax from Youngblood and Jimi is on fire throughout. Even though it isn’t new to long-term Hendrix fans, it’s the other album highlight with “Hear My Train A Comin”. Used here to simply fill out the album (shame on them).
> Like on the old Scorcese blues compilation, the writing credit goes to Jimi. Surely Lonnie Youngblood wrote this?
The booklet of that release had the time of the track at 7:09 but it was 7:55 like the version here.
Sweet Angel – Jimi uses rather twee vibraphone to punctuate and underline the melody of this embyonic song which eventually became “Angel” (on “Cry Of Love”). Apart from that curious novelty, it’s a pretty rudimentary, rhythmic run-through of the song without a vocal and for that it’s quite close to the “Little Wing” (in fact another early “Angel”) that was included on the South Saturn Delta album back in the 90s. It does have quite a rousing climax before it quickly fades out.
Woodstock – This is not the tatty vocal-less jam that has circulated on bootlegs for years. Here we have Stephen Stills on lead vocals and organ, Jimi only on bass unfortunately and Buddy Miles on drums, playing Joni Mitchell’s famous song. It’s a strong vocal from Stills so it resembles the equally famous CSN&Y version. Jimi is discreet through most of the track but he gives it more drive with Buddy towards the end. Buddy is pretty good on this one!
However, the inclusion of this track, with Jimi on discreet bass guitar, is pure filler and a waste of space here. In fact the two Stills tracks on this set are interesting but they would have been far better placed on a Stills album (like for example a re-release of his first album, on which Jimi guested on “Old Times, Good Times”).
Send My Love To Linda – An extract of the first part of this was released back in 1989 (see below). That rugged solo part with Jimi on guitar and vocal cuts into the Gypsys at full throttle which is great (though it is heavily edited). The solo part on this version is in fact a composite constructed from three sections, which is something I don’t approve of. Kramer hasn’t the right to make creative decisions with Jimi’s music. The band part I am familiar with from bootlegs with its terrific soloing from Jimi and the version I have is three times longer with great soloing all the way. Why edit it down and waste album space with that out of place “Woodstock” jam?
Cherokee Mist – At long last, the much bootlegged instrumental featuring just Jimi and Mitch freely exploring an instrumental sketch of a song (an extract appeared in 1989 – see below). It begins with Mitch’s brooding Cherokee beat before Jimi comes in with wah-wah growls and a piercing electric sitar melody. So it’s East meets West and a platform for Jimi to then let loose with wild feedback and gradually get it rocking. Just when you think it’s over, there comes an extended, lilting coda which sounds a little like parts of “1983” (which was recorded around the same time). A wonderful piece of free-form Hendrix experimentation and a beautiful way to close this very uneven collection.
So, not a lot to get your teeth into. It’s quite a bizarre mish-mash of tracks that is really scraping the barrel. The worst release of the “trilogy”.
Previously released tracks:
“Mannish Boy”– Alternate composite on “Blues”
“Power Of Soul” – Alternate mixes on South Saturn Delta and the “Somewhere” 7″ vinyl B-side
“Georgia Blues” – Alternate mix on Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues
“The Things I Used To Do” – Alternate edit on “Live & Unreleased- The Radio Show” /”Lifelines” box sets
“Sending My Love To Linda” – An excerpt of this composite appeared unedited on “Live & Unreleased- The Radio Show” /”Lifelines” box sets
“Cherokee Mist” – Incomplete on “Live & Unreleased- The Radio Show” /”Lifelines” box sets
Recording order and timings:
Sweet Angel (3:55) – Olympic Studios, London – January 28, 1968
Cherokee Mist (7:01) – Record Plant, NY – May 2, 1968
Georgia Blues (7:55) – Record Plant, NY – March 19,1969
Hear My Train A Comin’ (7:26) – Record Plant, NY – April 9, 1969
Mannish boy (5:02) – Record Plant, NY – April 22, 1969
Things I Used To Do (3:41) – Record Plant, NY – May 7, 1969
$20 Fine (5:13) & Woodstock (5:19) – Record Plant, NY – September 30, 1969
Jungle (3:28) – Record Plant, NY – November 14, 1969
Stepping Stone (3:13) – Record Plant, NY – November 14 & 18,1969
Lover Man (3:03) – Record Plant, NY – December 15,1969
Send My Love To Linda (4:37) – Record Plant, NY – January 16, 1970
Power Of Soul (5:55) – Record Plant, NY – January 21 & February 3, 1970
> The title of the album comes from a line in the song Midnight Lightning – “Gotta keep movin’, to understand both sides of the sky”. The original studio jam version of that song remains unreleased (officially).
Photographer Mike Berkofsky did an amazing job of recuperation of a mouldy old ekta (from a 1967 photo session of his with Jimi). Unfortunately further retouches were done without his consent, altering Jimi’s face, giving him a straight nose and weird slanted eyes. Why? The resulting cover is grotesque. 0/10
> Read about the amazing restoration and see Mike’s final version of the photo here
The most worthwhile tracks: Cherokee Mist, Hear My Train A Comin’, Power Of Soul
Mannish Boy / Trashman– 7″ vinyl single
Release date: March 2018 (Columbia – Record Store Day exclusive)
For Record Store Day comes this vinyl 7″ coupling of “Manish Boy” from Both Sides Of The Sky and “Trashman” from Hear My Music (if it’s exactly the same take/version).
Back in 2010, “Trashman” had already been used as a bonus on the Target exclusive version of the Valleys Of Neptune album.
> That cover photo is from 1966 – again, they get it wrong!
Axis Bold As Love – Stereo/Mono Hybrid SACD
Released 20108 (Sony/Analogue Productions)
A spanking new Bernie Grundman remaster of Axis on hybrid SACD for 2018 from Analogue Productions. This features both the mono and stereo mixes! Sound quality is equal to the first Reprise CD of the 80s (non-RE1) which is considered to be the best CD version released by audiophiles. New booklet also.
SACD layer: original Stereo and Mono mixes remastered
CD layer: original Stereo and Mono mixes remastered
> Are You Experienced (U.S. version) followed in September 2020.
Many other Hendrix albums in the Acoustic Sounds catalogue here.
ELECTRIC LADYLAND (50th Anniversary box set)
Released 1969 (Track)
If ever an album deserved the luxury treatment, it’s Electric Ladyland. Much anticipated, here at last is the the 50th Anniversary edition of the greatest album of all time.
It’s available as a 3CD + Blu-Ray disc or as a hefty vinyl version (with the Blu-ray disc). The CD version is in fact a 30 x 26 cm hard-back book, with the discs in simple cardboard sleeves, slotted into the front and back covers. Overall, quite a nice presentation despite the rather blurry, dark aspect of the front cover.
So here’s a look at the contents:
Disc 1: Electric Ladyland – Remastered by Bernie Grundman
There was a lot of excitement and expectation for the new Bernie Grundman mastering of the original album and initial reports about the CD are not ecstatic (with talk of a lack of dynamic range, clipping, etc). To me, on my low-end home hi-fi and phones, it sounds a little different, that’s all. The vinyl might be better.
Disc 2: At Last…The Beginning: The Early Takes ♥♥♥
Hendrix nuts were really expecting a deep, rich collection of demos, jams and construction takes but this is more like a brief extract of what Experience Hendrix hold in the vault. The sound quality here is excellent and it’s all good stuff but a pretty meagre offering for a 50th Anniversary set. The Estate has been holding material back for years and this was surely the occasion to let it flow out. Shame.
The first 11 tracks are solo demos on electric and acoustic guitar, believed to have been recorded by Jimi in his Drake Hotel room in March 1968. All good stuff though a little tedious for one sitting.
The first 6 tracks were previously released as Jimi By Himself (see Home Recordings section). “Angel” also previously seen on Lifelines and West Coast Seattle Boy. A clearer sound here than on Jimi By Himself but some unnecessary and annoying clunks and fiddles in between songs as Jimi adjusts the microphone or whatever. Anyway, if you are unfamiliar with these home demos, they are a real treat.
1 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
2 Voodoo Chile
3 Cherokee Mist
4 Hear My Train A Comin’
6 Gypsy Eyes
7 Somewhere – Paul Caruso joins in on harmonica for this short embyonic version. Vocals are not as present.
8 Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 1] – Acoustic guitar this time (another take appeared on West Coast Seattle Boy – Demo 2 I presume).
9 Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 3]
10 Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 4] – By this time, one begins to tire of all these solo takes. Impatient for some studio band jams.
11 Snowballs At My Window – This and the above three takes have circulated among collectors for years. A nice little song idea (all 42 seconds of it!).
12 My Friend – Another acoustic version of this song appeared on West Coast Seattle Boy, so this feels like repetition.
13 At Last…The Beginning – The working title of “And The Gods Made Love”. This alternate version brings us into the studio at last!
14 Angel Caterina – Another previously bootlegged demo of a proto “1983” from March 1968 at Sound Center Studios, NY, with Jimi backed by (can you believe it) Noel Redding and Buddy Miles! The Gypsy Experience!! A nice demo with some lovely wah-wah overdubs from Jimi.
15 Little Miss Strange – …and from the same day we have this jam without Jimi, featuring only Noel on guitar, Buddy on drums and Steve Stills on bass! The Noel Redding Experience!! This bears little resemblance to the Ladyland version and has more of an R’n’B punch to it. It also sounds very much like The Who working out in the mid-60s! Interesting maybe but it’s only a tedious rhythmic exercise, which again shouldn’t have been included in this box..
16 Long Hot Summer Night [Take 1] – a basic rhythmic, instrumental take with just Jimi on electic guitar and Al Kooper on piano. Nice.
17 Long Hot Summer Night [Take 14] – Mitch joins them for another instrumental run through. No soloing again, so ultimately quite tedious.
18 Rainy Day, Dream Away – a great early take/jam (no vocal) of the song which graced Ladyland. Love it. This is what we want!
19 Rainy Day Shuffle – An extract of this great jam was previously on Lifelines. This gives us some more but for some dumb reason it cuts out after 3 minutes (on the bootlegs it carries on longer, with a cool Mike Finnegan solo and Jimi coming beautifully back in).
20 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) – Another intrumental run-through with Jimi on guitar and bass accompanied by Mitch. Interestingly it lasts over 10 minutes and goes beyond the basic structure and quite beautifully into the dreamy ocean descent sequence of the song. It ambles a little towards the end then stops abruptly.
So a pretty disappointing demos/outtakes disc, despite one or two highpoints. Already circulating on bootlegs and collector’s discs are some fascinating and superb construction takes of “All Along The Watchtower”, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, “Come On”, “Gypsy Eyes”,… and we know that Experience Hendrix have alternate takes of “Tax Free” and probably other gems, so it’s very annoying and frustrating to see that they have held back all that material, when this was obviously the right time, the perfect opportunity to give us all a real treat (especially after all those rather disappointing studio collections (Valleys Of Neptune, People, Hell & Angels, Both Sides Of The Sky and West Coast Seattle Boy).
Disc 3: Live At The Hollywood Bowl – 4 September 1968 ♥♥½
Are You Experienced, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Red House, Foxy Lady (# cuts out half-way through), Fire (# cuts in near the end of the song), Hey Joe, Sunshine of Your Love, I Don’t Live Today, Little Wing, Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze
A very strange decision to include this raggedy live recording in a box set of the greatest album of all time. Another album of studio outtakes and jams would’ve been more appropriate! Curiously, this is a Dagger Records item, within the box. So it comes over as a cheap marketing ploy to create further incentive for Hendrix fans to purchase the box. Poor quality live recordings have no place next to the euphoric richness that is Electric Ladyland. It is nice to have but it’s in the wrong place. It will probably be available as a stand-alone on Dagger later.
An audience recording of this gig has been circulating for years but this is from a newly discovered two-track soundboard feed. It is a vast improvement in sound quality compared to the bootleg in some respects but it suffers from distortion, cut outs and general roughness. Still, it’s a fascinating historical document and a good performance from the band facing an over-excited audience that invaded the decorative water basin in front of the stage. The end of the show sounds like a riot is going on, with the band pleading for the crowd to calm down, otherwise everyone could be electrocuted!
Generally great playing from Jimi throughout and his vocals are very up-front in the mix (guitar less so) but they are distorted at times. Noel’s bass is too loud and Mitch is a little far back and we rarely hear his cymbals (it sounds like he’s playing dustbins at times) so I play this with the bass turned way down and treble way up. It’s a great set-list, kicking off with an nice raw “Are You Experienced” which is preceded by a nearly four minute free-form feedback fanfare (with Noel and Mitch backing it) which Jimi introduces as “Call Of The Black Panther”! This is followed by a fresh “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, the only song from Ladyland of course. Jimi apologises that he was out of tune when it finishes.
The version of “Red House” is terrific and comes over better as it is more laid-back. Tape problems must have occurred during “Foxy Lady” as it cuts out half-way through, then cuts back in towards the end of “Fire”. Sound quality deteriorates somewhat as the tape progresses and the crowd gets more heated. “Hey Josephine” as Jimi introduces it is a regular rendition but the sound is very rough indeed (the roughest you’ve ever heard on an official release). “…and now we have the breast stroke” jokes Noel when it finishes. Mitch appeals for calm.
“Sunshine of Your Love” is raggedy with a tedious bass solo from Noel. A raucous “I Don’t Live Today” next then Jimi tries to calm things down and goes rather awkwardly and out of tune into “Little Wing” which soon aborts with him saying that he can’t hear anything. He then goes back in and delivers a good version under the chaotic circumstances.
As he goes into “Star Spangled Banner”, Jimi shouts “This is America, right?” which is title that he gave the piece at the Winterland concerts the following month. It’s a wonderfully crazy, distorted feedback blast which ends in “Purple Haze” madness, with the tape cutting out just before the final crunch (they should have faded out really).
So, despite the various faults, this is good fun and nice to have as an “official bootleg” and I prefer to listen to this than Isle Of Wight (but again, it shouldn’t be in this box).
> A better performance and recording at the same venue from a year earlier was released in November 2023.
Disc 4 (Blu-ray): At Last…The Beginning: The Making Of Electric Ladyland
Audio: Electric Ladyland: a new 5.1 surround sound mix by Eddie Kramer
Audio: Electric Ladyland: the original stereo mixes in uncompressed 24 bit/96 kz high resolution audio
Video: “At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland” (video documentary)*
* Previously included with the 40th Anniversary edition and available as a stand-alone DVD it’s simply an expanded version of the Classic Albums documentary.
I’m not equipped to listen to the Kramer 5.1 mix (mastered by Scott Sedillo) but the reports are that it is very good! This is interesting as Jimi endeavored to create a 3D sound for the album (particularly on things like “1983…”) but it got lost in the mastering at the time. So it’s nice that Experience Hendrix have brought surround sound to Jimi’s masterpiece album.
As for “the original stereo mixes in uncompressed 24 bit/96 kz high resolution audio”, audiophiles have remarked that is very disappointing and is even compressed!
The documentary has already been available for ages as a stand-alone release, first in the “Classic Albums” series of DVDs and later in expanded form as part of the 40th Anniversary edition of Electric Ladyland. The same expanded version is used for this 50th anniversary edition. If you have never seen it, it’s an excellent documentary with interviews full of little anecdotes from the key participants in the album.
So, all in all a very bizarre and ultimately disappointing collection here, with high and low points. It’s unfortunate that Experience Hendrix manage to deliver top quality releases like Machine Gun and the Axis Bold As love SACD, yet make creative/mastering/manufacturing errors with Jimi’s most important album.
> Frank Moriarty’s review of the box set
> Sony’s Legacy Recordings
> Rolling Stone article “The House That Hendrix Built: Inside the Birth of the Record Plant”
> Moments In Transition review
The outer box has the Central Park photo that Jimi had suggested (in fact he had proposed that or a band photo – which ended up on the back cover). The reproduction of the photo isn’t very good at all (blurred and dark). The Central Park photos are always attributed to Linda Eastman (future McCartney) but Dave Sygall sent me a mail a while back to inform me that he did the photo shoot with Linda. A joint shoot.
The Ladyland album inside the box set features the standard U.S. cover art and is cropped like the original Reprise album.
The demo outtake disc front cover is a reproduction of an abandoned sleeve with horrendous typography. Not a good choice at all.
The Hollywood Bowl cover would have been better with a nicer live shot of Jimi, rather than the view of the kids in the pool.
The Blu-ray reproduces one of my favourites – the UK Electric Ladyland Part One cover. I would have preferred to have seen that on the cover of the box!
> Note that he 40 th Anniversary box set featured the park photo on the cover of the (Digipak) album inside.
Burning Of The Midnight Lamp / Crosstown Traffic / Gypsy Eyes– 7″ vinyl single
Released: 23 November 2018 (Sony Legacy – Record Store Day limited edition 3000 ex)
For Record Store Day 2108 came this limited edition E.P. featuring rare mono mixes.
As far as we know, only the lead track had a dedicated mono mix. The others are likely to be the fold-downs that
were used on singles and B-sides.
Pressed on transparent “orange crush” vinyl.
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