Valleys of Neptune CD
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The completely unreleased studio album with 12 previously unreleased studio recordings and over 60 minutes of unheard Jimi Hendrix! Ten recordings were made between February and May 1969 as The Jimi Hendrix Experience set out to create their sequel to the groundbreaking 1968 double album Electric Ladyland. It features “Valleys Of Neptune,” one of the most sought after of all of Hendrix’s commercially unavailable recordings and also includes exciting 1969 arrangements of classic signature songs “Red House,” “Fire” and “Stone Free” and unheard studio versions of Hendrix’s inspired interpretations of “Bleeding Heart” by Elmore James and Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”. The cover art is by Hendrix himself.
Stone Free: The original 1966 recording by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience is best known as one of Jimi’s signature songs. The 2000 Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set featured a new remake by the original group. Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox recorded this version in May 1969. It is a different recording entirely.
Valleys Of Neptune: This track was recorded in September 1969 and May 1970. This full band version has never been released. An extract of a demo Hendrix made of this song, featuring just Mitchell on drums and percussionist Juma Sultan, was part of the short-lived album Lifelines that was in the marketplace between 1990 to 1992.
Bleeding Heart: This cover of the classic blues song by Elmore James is different entirely from the versions featured on South Saturn Delta and originally on War Heroes. This recording has never been issued and features Jimi, Billy Cox and drummer Rocky Isaac. It was recorded in April 1969.
Hear My Train A Comin’: This electric, full band version is different from the famous 12-string acoustic version that was featured in the 1973 documentary Jimi Hendrix and subsequently on the album Jimi Hendrix: Blues.
Mr. Bad Luck: Like “Valleys Of Neptune”, a different version of this song was part of Lifelines in 1990. Jimi would later develop this song as “Look Over Yonder” that was issued as part of South Saturn Delta.
Sunshine Of Your Love: A stage favorite for the group during the 1969 period which has never been released.
Lover Man: Jimi recorded many different arrangements of this song, including the versions on both the Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set and South Saturn Delta. This is an entirely different recording made in February 1969.
Ships Passing Through The Night: A never-before-released track taken from the last recording session by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience on 4/14/69.
Fire/Red House: Both of these songs by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience were recorded at the same February 1969 session. They feature the expanded stage arrangements Jimi had developed and are not alternate takes of the original 1967 recordings.
Lullaby For The Summer/Crying Blue Rain These April 1969 recordings by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience have never been released.
Seattle-born guitar genius Jimi Hendrix died 40 years ago this September. Valleys of Neptune is the latest in the avalanche of unreleased Hendrix material that followed that premature demise.
Apart from Axis: Bold As Love outtake Mr Bad Luck (a prototype Look Over Yonder), the dozen songs herein are studio recorded tracks laid down after 1968’s Electric Ladyland but before Hendrix began work proper on First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Most feature the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, two have Billy Cox in place of Noel Redding on bass, one features Hendrix and other musicians.
This, though, is not some kind of great lost missing link album. Several of the tracks, like the cover of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love and Elmore James’ Bleeding Heart, and a trio of rehashed Experience favourites, were done as studio warm-ups or rehearsals for forthcoming concerts. Even the conventional studio tracks mostly feel as cold and flat as rehearsals, rather than layered and nuanced in the manner of LP cuts. Additionally, the fact that these 12 tracks have a running time of an hour is a bad sign. That Hendrix was always best when he combined virtuosity with brevity is demonstrated by the flaccid eight-minute version herein of Red House, which can’t hold a candle to the taut, classic Are You Experienced original.
The core of the album is four tracks previously unreleased in any format. It’s an underwhelming quartet. Lullaby for the Summer starts out interesting courtesy of an exciting riff, but it soon disappointingly dawns that there are no vocals, while Hendrix’s solo is caterwauling. Ships Passing Through the Night is okay, but essentially just an identikit 12-bar blues with above-average guitar passages. The title-track is dreamlike and slick, but possessed of the type of rather aimless melody line that afflicted Hendrix’s work in later years. Closer Crying Blue Rain is, unlike anything else here, poised and rich. However, it has no vocals, peters sloppily out and (like Mr Bad Luck) is rendered historically worthless by additional bass and drum recording done in 1987.
The fact that this climax comprises the closest thing to a substantial recording on the album is an indictment of a release that one suspects would not have made the stores had the Hendrix estate not wished to offer a bone to new label Sony following the end of their distribution deal with Universal. --Sean Egan
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Top Customer Reviews
But is any good? It certainly doesn't damage his reputation but it's not essential listening.
There's some good guitar playing (duh..), and tight performances but there is no doubt in my mind that for many of the tracks I am still listening to ideas in development rather than material ever intended for release. The whole definitely doesn't exceed the sum of its parts.
Valleys is nothing amazing, to my ears slightly lacklustre, but definitely listenable. The definitive version of Hear My Train remains the live version on Rainbow Bridge, but the studio version here is a good rehearsal. Stone Free and Fire are easily comparable to the released versions (I think I prefer this version of Fire to the original) Sunshine is a jam, it's a good jam but it lacks focus and goes straight into Lover Man which is good but nothing to cause your heart to miss a beat. There's yet another good version of Red House - reminds me very much of the version from "In The West" but it has been faded, presumably because something happened to the tape or there was a studio catastrophe, or something.
Lullaby is definitely a precursor for material that appeared on Cry of Love, but its a workthough of ideas rather than a song in its own right.Read more ›
Well for a start you know that you are going to get the highest quality possible from the Hendrix Family - the same cannot be said for many other releases, (especially those from his old manager's estate, even though historically important). These tracks come from '69 with the exception being "Bad Luck" from '67. Whilst the songs on here will (in the main) be familiar to most Hendrix fans, the versions might not be with "Ships Passing Through The Night" being a new one for me. I consider the playing and the sound superb on this CD, and definitely well worth purchasing.It comes with a 24 page book containing plenty of info and photos.
The packaging is digipack style with a plastic tray insert. Why they didn't go the whole hog and make it 100% cardboard beats me - sorry, I have a "thing" about plastic.
So to answer my question in the heading "Can Hendrix ever be a waste of money/time?" - not as long as releases such as this come along. This is (obviously) not the place to start with Hendrix, but to anyone with any real interest in the man, I would say an essential purchase.Only 4 stars as familiar songs, but musically, for rock over 40 years old - unbelievable!
If anyone comes to Hendrix's music starting with this rehash they might be put off buying the essential Jimi recordings such as Are You Experienced/Electric Lady Land/Axis Bold as Love and also the great Hendrix Concerts!
Axis: Bold As Love
Are You Experienced
I'm sure Jimi wouldn't have released these versions himself! Sadly those responsible for these releases have only one motive and that's profit :-(
There are many live concerts that could be remastered judging by the number of dodgy bootlegs that have surfaced over the last four decades, why not officially release them ??
Stick to the great albums and ignore the tweaked/remixed (80's backing tracks added to 60's mix)versions. If Hendrix wanted them released they would already be out there :-)
"When I die just keep playing the records" but maybe not this one :-(
I bought this album 'Valleys of Neptune' a while back, as I wanted to savour it and really enjoy it when I was in the mood. My first impression was that, at least, I had not heard of any of the tracks before, in the sense that, although I have heard 'Stone Free' and 'Bleeding Heart' and others before, they were different versions. That helps a lot; they are at least original new recordings. And as I played the cd the other day, to be quite frank, I did enjoy listening to it, but I will always enjoy listening to Hendrix to be honest. I've reviewed another Hendrix cd, which was chronic, but this isn't; it's a reasonable cd for a new release.
To sum up, I enjoyed listening to this cd and will listen to it again, but its only got three stars because it isn't brilliant to my mind, just pretty good. I really enjoyed listening to the 'Jimi Hendrix: Blues' cd however! If you like Blues and Jimi Hendrix, I can recommend this cd a whole lot! I may even write a review of it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jimi plays some great tunes and sings a bit too. There is only excellent music on this album. Whether you enjoy this album will depend very much on how you view the release of out... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tentacles of fear
This gets 2 stars from me, one because it's Jimi, and one for the nice clear audio quality.
The Hendrix estate people have managed to create one more collection of... Read more