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on 30 March 2017
this is a mixture of the first 2 posthumous Hendrix albums with the covers removed. Of course the music is great but...the reticence to pay royalties to anyone else is uneasy. He was better than that.
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on 22 April 2017
Listened to this for the first time Great CD
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on 30 January 2017
I spent hundreds on Jimi Hendrix vinyl back in the 80's when I got hooked on his music as a teenager. Records titled things like Jimi Hendrix At His Best or Beginnings things like that which to listen to you couldnt even tell if it was the man playing. His back catalouge is a mess so I would advice just buying the releases he authorised in his life time & this CD which gives you what he was working on for his 4th album before his untimely death. Purchase Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, First Rays Of The New Rising Sun & you have all the studio material you need & maybe pad it out with the live Band Of Gypsys which was also released in Hendrix's life time but may have been a contract fulfilment release, I can't recall. Live Hendrix is always better visual so the Monterey, Woodstock or Isle Of White on DVD or Blu Ray would be better I think. Don't spend a fortune, you can get all you need for a reasonable price & without taking up to much shelve space. The man was a perfectionist he would not appreciate all this second rate, duplicate, him playing back up guitar releases that have been released since his death.
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on 12 March 2010
This is one of the four 'new' Sony Legacy versions of Jimi Hendrix albums.

Content-wise, the CD is exactly the same as the previous CD issue and of course that's a good thing. Track listing, sound and design are also identical.

The booklet is exactly the same too - so what's the point of buying this package if you already have the previous issue (released in 1999, I think).

Well, there's a short DVD with interviews with Eddie Kramer about four of the tracks - and that's it. An insert with the CD suggests that you can get 'bonus content' by putting the DVD in your PC, but it just takes you to the website, which you can get for free anyway.

I would guess that the same comments will apply to Sony's other re-issues, namely the first three studio albums and Band of Gypsys.

So, if you don't have these essential albums, go for it, but don't bother if you have the old editions.
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on 21 February 2007
This album was/is promoted by the Hendrix Estate as being the `real' final Hendrix album, replacing albums like The Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes.

It isn't, simply because Jimi did not have a finalised track layout for his fourth studio album. However, it does have most of the tracks which he had either finished, or was working on before his untimely death. Some tracks sound unfinished, for example, Hey Baby has Jimi asking whether the microphone is on.

First Rays is a more satisfying listen than Cry of Love or Rainbow Bridge, but for some reason it still contains the 1968 outtake `My Friend', which doesn't really belong with the soul/rock/funk sound of most of these songs.

Some of the tracks from the South Saturn Delta CD which followed this, such as `Midnight Lightning', `Power of Soul' and `Message to Love' would have fitted in well on this album, although you can always do this on your iPod.

These issues aside, this is a very good album indeed, with some of Jimi's best later material: Angel, Freedom, Room Full of Mirrors, Earth Blues, In From the Storm and Ezy Ryder are standouts and Drifting has some absolutely lovely guitar work.

He really was a genius.

Eddie Kramer's remix has dealt with some of the quirky balances and mixes of the original tapes, and the songs sound the best they ever have. The packaging is excellent and this is a must buy for any Hendrix fan.
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Jimi Hendrix was possibly the most inventive, original and prolific musician/performer of his era, and carved out new territories of possibility for the electric guitar. He composed and recorded more great material in five short years than do most musicians in a lifetime career ten times as long. He was imitated by thousands, but equalled by none.

Following Jimi's untimely death in September 1970, a great volume of his hitherto unreleased material was put out first by Track Records, and later by Polydor. The first major posthumous release was `The Cry of Love' vinyl album (CD format didn't arrive on the market until the 1980s) released by Track Records in 1971 which contained, in running order:

Side 1
1. Freedom
2. Drifting
3. Ezy Ryder
4. Night Bird Flying
5. My Friend

Side 2
6. Straight Ahead
7. Astro man
8. Angel
9. In from the Storm
10. Belly Button Window

`Cry of Love' can still be found on both the original vinyl and a later CD format, but good copies command high prices.

`First Rays of the New Rising Sun', thought to be Hendrix's own chosen title for his planned 1971 album, contains all the above tracks, some digitally re-mastered (though it's hard to tell the difference) plus several bonus tracks originally released by Polydor in the mid-1970s variously on the albums `Rainbow Bridge,' `Experience' and `War Heroes':

* Izabella
* Room Full of Mirrors
* Dolly Dagger
* Beginnings
* Stepping Stone
* Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
* Earth Blues

All these pieces with the exception of `My Friend' (a kind of late-night studio oddity from 1968 which didn't make the `Electric Ladyland' album) were composed and recorded in the spring and summer of 1970 and feature Brit-drummer Mitch Mitchell from the original `Experience' trio and Jimi's old army buddy Billy Cox on bass, who worked with Jimi in place of Noel Redding following the `Band of Gypsies' period. Overall it's pretty much the definitive collection of Hendrix's late-period material and a fine complement to his earlier finished products `Are You Experienced', `Axis Bold as Love' and the seminal 1968 epic `Electric Ladyland.'

If you want to know why Jimi Hendrix is so highly revered by other rock musicians, listen to this collection and you will begin to understand. It's amazing to hear how fresh these recordings are: after 40 years they might have been recorded yesterday, they sound so contemporary; whilst so much music in the intervening period - especially from the 1980s - sounds old and dated. The musicianship here is exemplary, the compositions innovative, exciting and complex, the production values on the whole very high. What wonders Jimi might have produced as a more mature musician and composer we can only speculate: he was a true musician's musician, a one-off.

BTW if you want to listen to `Cry of Love' as originally released in 1971, just mix the 10 tracks into the 1-10 order above and miss out the extra seven, crank up the volume and press `PLAY'. Isn't technology wonderful?
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on 9 July 2004
This is the hendrix amlbum poised for release when hendrix died. roughly 80% finished, all it lacked for a release was the official approval and the final hendrix "touch".
Sadly, little of the material will be new to serious fans, as most of it has been in unauthorised compilations etc. But that can't stop you enjoying them.
The album carries a more rock-esque vibe, with less light music and a thicker tone, evident in ezy ryder (my personal favourite)and freedom.
A top quality album=, well worth the money
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on 20 February 2013
The first thing I have to say to potential buyers (of whom I was one for 10 years++) is pay no heed to the simply DREADFUL cover artwork. The music contained herein bears no relation to the 80s style mess that it is. Janie Hendrix needs scolded for that alone.

Having said that, the music inside is surprisingly good. Historically I have always avoided anything other than the 3 'proper' studio albums, never having even been much of a fan of Band Of Gypsys. My first Hendrix album, believe it or not, was actually Live at Winterland (which is pretty good).

The first track, Freedom, really seems to be the highest quality track on the CD. I say CD on purpose, because second guessing what he was going to do LP-wise, is almost impossible, given Hendrix' level of creativity, he could have ended up canning the lot!! As the CD goes on we move in and out of Hendrix's searching, through wild freakouts and bluesy mellow skits.

To me, the music on this 'Hendrix Family sanctioned' CD is the sound of Hendrix trying to break free of the constraints of the 60s. There is very little wah-wah, lots of high-pitched-bending solos - almost as if he is fighting with his guitar to find a new sound, wrestling the devil of the 60s out of his axe. His sound is frequently flanged, and full of arpeggios. There is a distinct lack of melody throughout, and it feels quite disjointed for obvious reasons.

Having said all of this, I was pleasantly surprised to hear what would have been the Hendrix of the 70s. Its a crafty glimpse at what could have been, but ultimately the Gods never meant to be. Who knows, Hendrix may well have (like oh so many of his fellow musicians who actually made it to the 70s) become dull as dishwater, trading on past glories and producing bloated concepts for a bloated decade. Also, Its too exciting to imagine how he may have reacted to punk, or Kraftwerk, and we can only surmise what him and Miles Davis may have done together. At least we were spared the 80s Hendrix, all big drums and huge shoulder pads.

So all we have is the First Rays Of A New Rising Sun, and its damn good, but nothing more than a sketchbook. Albeit a much higher quality one than most fully fledged product of the era.
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on 30 September 2013
First Rays of the New Rising Sun was first released over a decade ago, and was even then, seemingly an ad hoc collection of late Hendrix tracks from the first 3 LPs released after his death, namely;Cry Of Love ( 1971), Rainbow Bridge (1971) & War Heroes (1972)

Even the much maligned Voodoo Soup attempted a running order and consistent remix for its version of Hendrix's final album. This re-issue of Cry of Love adds a short film documentary. It does absolutely nothing to address the issue of what Hendrix intended for his follow up to Electric Ladyland

This album needs a total revamp by the Hendrix Estate, who far too quickly have lapsed into a lets milk Jimi for all his worth set of relatives, with attached internal in fighting. Hendrix's final studio album should be a 2 Cd set:-

1. CD 1 should be the 3 LP sides of songs Jimi wrote down & listed for the First Rays set, along with his proposed single Dolly Dagger/Night Bird Flying.Unfortunately he never wrote down the tracklisting for side 4 of his double LP vision, therefore

2. Disc 2 should be the finished 1970 songs from Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge, War Heroes, South Saturn Delta, Valleys of Neptune & both of the family 4 Cd box sets.

At least that would give us what we know of Jimi's vision, and the final songs that may have completed the album. As it is this release is very unsatisfactory, and to re-issue it at full price is a disgrace!
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on 5 March 2013
I first heard First Rays album a few years ago, and was blown away with the quality of music Jimi created during his short-lived career.

Track after track of quality music fills the air, you just want it to go on and on.

People, Hell and Angels, the latest posthumous album comes a very close second. In fact, I don't think you can have one without the other. They both compliment each other very well.

Essential Listening for any classic rock fan/Jimi fan.
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