Unfairly consigned to the history books as the follow-up to "Are You Experienced?" and little else, "Axis: Bold as Love" is actually an eclectic and electrifying album. It shows Jimi and his Experience consolidating upon the sonic battery of their first outing, and delving back to Jimi's days on the chitlin' circuit in the USA, playing tough soul to tough crowds.
Jimi's endearingly silly sci-fi preoccupations are to the fore on the ridiculous "EXP" and jazzy "Up From the Skies", and the aforementioned soul excursions are best represented on the funky "Little Miss Lover". Bassist Noel Redding gets his own number on the dated-but-enjoyable "She's So Fine", but there's no stealing Jimi's thunder on material which ranges from the beautiful "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand" to the hard, hard rock of "Spanish Castle Magic".
Placed within the Hendrix canon, this album is as unique and vital as all the rest, paving the way for the Experience's finest hour, "Electric Ladyland". This, then, remains our only snapshot of the Experience together as a cohesive whole, enthused by their first taste of real success, and working as a tight and efficient studio-based unit. More importantly, though, this is a superb record, and one every rock fan should have in their collection.