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LOVELY TO SEE THIS AVAILABLE AGAIN...
on 21 September 2014
Jimi Hendrix never quite got to finish the new double-album that he had been working on throughout the spring and summer of 1970, a record that was being widely touted as FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN. In the aftermath of his death, Hendrix's somewhat controversial manager Michael Jeffrey requested that the guitarist's long-serving engineer and co-producer Eddie Kramer compile two studio albums using the tracks which had already been recorded - albums which would ultimately be released as THE CRY OF LOVE and RAINBOW BRIDGE (a third collection entitled WAR HEROES would mop up the last remnants of Hendrix's original vision). Working at his new Electric Lady recording facility - outfitted by Kramer to a truly state-of-the-art standard - Hendrix, long-standing drummer Mitch Mitchell and bass player Billy Cox had amassed a treasure trove of new Hendrix compositions, the pick of which Kramer (with assistance from Mitchell) would assemble into THE CRY OF LOVE.
Released in the spring of 1971, THE CRY OF LOVE is a thoughfully constructed collection which bears none of the hallmarks that one might associate with that flotilla of cynical, tawdry cash-ins which proliferated in the years following Hendrix's passing. In fact, THE CRY OF LOVE captures Hendrix at the top of his game, with tracks such as the tight funkiness of 'Freedom', the graceful ballad 'Angel' and the dynamic 'In From The Storm' witnessing the guitarist forging a whole new sound that has a kind of ABBEY ROAD-like warmth and richness. Arguably, the only track that does sound a little out of place here is 'My Friend', an impromptu-sounding blues pastiche left over from the ELECTRIC LADYLAND sessions. Otherwise, THE CRY OF LOVE hangs together rather better than the "official" FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN CD, which this listener has always found too sprawling to work as a cohesive whole (it being simply a collection of the tracks Hendrix had completed before his death, rather than the actual finished album Hendrix himself would have no doubt envisaged).
Bernie Grundman's remastering for this reissue of THE CRY OF LOVE is very nice indeed, with all that aforementioned recorded richness preserved and, while the booklet contains no additional notes or essay, all of the original artwork has been nicely reproduced across its pages.
Perhaps the finest of the posthumous Jimi Hendrix releases, fans who bought the original CRY OF LOVE album back in 1971 will no doubt feel a heart-warming glow at both the sight and sound of its welcome reappearance.