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4.8 out of 5 stars
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The third album from The Jimi Hendrix Experience was released in 1968 and, more than 40 years on, justifiably finds its place in most people's top ten greatest rock albums of all time.

However the fame/notoriety of EL doesn't really do it justice: to realise just how ground-breaking and innovative this project was, how revolutionary in concept and execution, you need to listen to it against other music from the period. Hendrix re-defined what could be done with the electric guitar and his excellent song-writing, experimentation with sound and uniquely creative lyrics offer a rewarding experience to anyone interested in the evolution of modern music.

The original 2-disk album had 16 tracks of varying length (of course on the vinyl - the only format available until the 1980s - this meant four `sides' of music). The running order chosen by Jimi and put out on release was:

Side 1
1. And the Gods Made Love
2. Have you ever been to Electric Ladyland?
3. Cross Town Traffic
4. Voodoo Chile (the long, bluesy version)

Side 2
1. Little Miss Strange (composed by Noel Redding)
2. Long Hot Summer Night
3. Come on (let the good times roll)
4. Gypsy Eyes
5. Burning of the Midnight Lamp

Side 3
1. Rainy Day, Dream Away
2. 1983: A Merman I should turn to be...
3. Moon, turn the Tides

Side 4
1. Still Raining, still Dreaming
2. House Burning Down
3. All along the Watchtower (Jimi's seminal and definitive version of Bob Dylan's original song)
4. Voodoo Chile slight return (the 5-minute full-on version with that famous intro)

Now, this album contains everything: first-class electric blues (`Voodoo Chile'); experimental soundscape (`And the Gods...', `Moon turn the Tides'); gospel-derived/choral-driven ballads (`Long Hot Summer Night', `Burning of the Midnight Lamp'); crisply executed danceable rock (`Cross Town Traffic', `Come On', `Gypsy Eyes'); extended, spaced-out experiment in psychedelia (`1983...' listen to Pink Floyd's `Echoes' from 1971 and speculate where the inspiration came from); the powerful and mind-expanding (`VCSL'); a first-class hit single in an unusual minor key inspiring a shiver-down-the-spine feel (`All along the Watchtower').

Hendrix was a virtuoso musician and a visionary, never afraid to experiment with the new. Here on EL, in one timeless project, you have it all. His guitar style, frequently imitated, has never really been equalled: he was a one-off, a fountain of creativity cut off in his prime.

Now you have several versions of EL to choose from. The main choice is between:

1. The original 2-disc set from Polydor with sides 1&4 on one disc and 2&3 on the other, as with the 1968 vinyl release (however because of the CD format you'll hear sides 1&4 run together, then 2&3 on the second disc which doesn't work so well when listening to the whole work). This version has the original nude cover art, which you might feel worth having if you care for authenticity (though of course it's not the astounding 24" x 12" size of the vinyl cover)

2. The `Authorised Hendrix Family Edition' with its tell-tale yellow and purple rectangular sticker, which claims to be `digitally remastered' but it's hard to tell the difference in sound quality - in fact to these ears, there is virtually no difference. Here you get the whole album on one disk with the correct 1-2-3-4 running order as originally intended, plus a DVD of questionable value titled `An Inside Look' and a few photos of the trio relaxing. You'll likely pay a bit more for this version, as the royalties go to the extended family (all three of the JHE are now deceased, Mitchell as recently as 2008, and Jimi had no known children to inherit anything)

3. Or you can download it, track by track

So, take your pick. But regardless of which version you choose, if you care about the history of rock music and want the classic and the best in your collection, you should buy `Electric Ladyland.'
0Comment|29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 August 2014
I was 12. After badgering my Mum she'd bought me a cheap Spanish Acoustic guitar for my birthday. I'd driven the family mad plinking away at the damn thing, but had mastered some basic chords and a couple of easy songs. Then my brother, then 18, came home with a copy of this album; with its original cover of 19 naked women on it. Teenage male hormones beginning to assert themselves in me, I took an interest in said album cover. Further inspection showed it to be a double album. Never one to do things in order I put on side 4 first. 'Well! Hello!' a wah wah guitar perfectly intoned. What! I was hooked. The up beat but still laid back funk of Still Raining, Still Dreaming gave way to House Burning Down with wonderful fills and impeccable soundpainting throughout (especially Jimi's wonderful giant boat from space landing with eerie grace). Next up was all Along The Watchtower, and to wrap it all up Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) that was, and still remains utterly astounding. How was guitar playing like this possible? I soon learnt that everyone has always asked the same question since late1966.
This is Jimi's magnum opus. If Are You Experienced, Axid Bold as Love, The Woodstock Star Spangled Banner, that killer live version of Johhny B Goode from Berkeley; if none of those existed but this did, he would still be considered the most gifted musician ever to pick up the electric guitar.
If you're used to modern heavy metal with often somewhat scary looking gentlemen performing feats of considerable technical skill on the guitar but haven't heard any Hendrix, give this a go. This is what happens when technical mastery and limitless musical imagination combine. Our scary looking gentlemen might be technical skilled, but often lack in imagination - this is what true guitar genius sounds like. And do you think thrash metal can sound angry? Ah well, try the aforementioned Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), the guitar is so threatening it tattoos itself onto your audio memory! Just as Beethoven turned music into his own, personal language in his late quartets and piano sonatas so too does Hendrix on this album with the guitar. He was and still remains utterly unique.
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on 30 January 2012
This latest incarnation of Electric Ladyland (it is unclear whether this is a new remastering or not) comes with a DVD of the 1997 Classic Albums documentary, expanded to 85 minutes (around twice the length of the televised version).
That the album is a masterpiece is not in question. That it, along with Sgt Pepper, heralded the-way-that-an-album-should-be-made lends it a slightly dubious legacy to those who favour the get-it-down-quick approach to rock'n'roll.
The documentary consists of Ladyland engineer Eddie Kramer revisiting the original 8-track tapes song by song at a mixing desk. The bearded, pony-tailed Kramer does a good job of hosting the piece, though his resemblance to Eric Idle's character from The Rutles is uncanny. The usual suspects are interviewed, including Mitchell, Redding, Chandler, Winwood, Dave Mason, Buddy Miles and Jack Casady (clutching the most beautiful gold-coloured semi-acoustic Gibson bass guitar).
The film, however, gives insight into the necessity of this new, time-evaporating approach in this particular instance with this particular genius. Kramer sheds light on the painstaking but innovative experimentation Jimi took to get the sound exactly how he envisioned; the mandolin effect on `Burning of the Midnight Lamp'; the comb kazoo on Crosstown Traffic. He highlights Jimi's virtuosity; arranging and layering multiple vocal and guitar tracks to make, well, beautiful timeless music.
We know that the sessions were full of hangers-on, which pissed-off both Noel and Chas, who, with hilarious Geordie logic, observes that "if you were a car mechanic you wouldn't take your friends along to watch you fix a car."
The film's gem, for me, is a hauntingly beautiful unreleased demo of `Gypsy Eyes', with a completely different melody and structure from the finished version.
The booklet is disappointing; its photos are of varying quality, and accompanied by Derek Taylor's stream of (hippy) consciousness. Of great interest, however, are Jimi's handwritten instructions for the album's artwork. Jimi hated the cover. The naked ladies were the work of Lambert and Stamp.
There can scarce be a Hendrix fan/rock music fan who doesn't know this album. Whether you'll want to fork out for it yet again depends just how Experienced you are.
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on 2 March 2014
ALthough slightly to young to be part of it , hearing this sort of music made you aware that not only you were alive but the world and age you we're living in was also alive ....Turn back the clock and everyone wake up again!
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on 14 June 2013
There is something about the way this record is mixed - to do with the phasing characteristics of some of the sounds - that makes the needle sizzle in the grooves. Hearing it on vinyl makes it sounds as if it is alive! This remaster is slightly richer in sound than my original vinyl copy (suprisingly). The CD is what it is - OK as a reminder, but simply cannot compete as a listening experience.
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on 6 March 2014
Hendrix delivers his third (and final) Experience album and it is hard to argue against giving it a 5-star rating. Several of 'Ladyland's' brilliant tracks were released as singles ~ 'All Along The Watchtower', 'The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp', 'Crosstown Traffic', 'Gypsy Eyes' and 'Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).

For those looking for a juicy blues workout the 15 minute version of 'Voodoo Chile' will definitely satisfy you, whilst '1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) demonstrates Jimi becoming increasingly experimental and progressive in his musical leanings. Personally, I find the shorter material more satisfying; 'House Burning Down', for instance' is direct and immediate - full of fire and fury. This 1968 release is a must for rock music fans of all ages.
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on 11 July 2015
Jimi Hendrix third album recorded in New York was his greatest and most ambitious album.Incorporating everything from Blues to Hard Rock to Psychedelia this was an album full of treasures.Crosstown Traffic,Voodoo Chile(which gave him a posthumous no.1 in 1970),Burning of the Midnight Lamp,Gypsy Eyes are just some of the highlights but it's his cover of Bob Dylans All Along the Watchtower which is better than the original that really stands out in this collection.The infamous nude cover(which Hendrix allegedly hated)has now been replaced by a boring head shot presumably not to upset the politically correct brigade.And how did they get that weird harpsichord sound on Burning of the Midnight Lamp?
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on 24 February 2013
Once you bypass the nonsense surrounding the cover and concentrate on the music you realise why JH was such an inspiration to S McBride and J Mayer . one also gets an idea of where JH was heading - blues/jazz/funk? Played in his inimitable style. Guitarists will appreciate the tone colours that SRV talks about. The tracks are all so well known nowadays even used in tv commercials. For someone who loathed his own voice, often asking for it to eclipsed by the music , the vocals are indeed surprisingly good. Double tracked and falsetto on one track. This is an essential ingredient for anyone who loves electric guitar.
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on 17 March 2010
What more can be said about this mercurial Jimi Hendrix Album that hasn't already been expressed already, so to refer to this package, it's truly excellent!
The twinning with an extended version of the "Making of DVD" with the benchmark album itself makes it an inspired insight into the music and how it was originally put together with great contributions from Eddie Kramer, Steve Winwood, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding to name but a few of the faces providing the context here.If you are planning to buy a CD copy of the album then this is the one to go for.
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on 9 January 2009
Most people will know about Jimi's classic Electric Ladyland album but I would imagine that many are more interested in the DVD content. Its not the Classic Album DVD but a new documentary, circa 90 minutes long with archive footage, and interviews from different eras with the main protagonists in the Jimi Hendrix Story. Some of the Classic Album footage is within the content but there's enough of interest to make getting this collectors edition worthwhile, in my opinion.
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