40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Earth to Hendrix: Jimi.......Jimi?..............Where are you, man?......
, 17 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Blues (Audio CD)
Like the previous reviewer, I also am a fan of blues guitar music (a HUGE fan) and greatly appreciate the talents of Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bo Diddley, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Guitar Watson, Fred McDowell, Rev Gary Davis, Blind Willie Johnson, Elmore James etc (and even one or two white guys !). And, entirely worthy of inclusion in this catalogue of blues brilliance, is Jimi Hendrix.
One of the best things about the blues is the fact that it provides such a good framework for its practitioners to develop their own styles and sounds, each making their own unique contribution to the genre. Well, Jimi fits seemlessly into this tradition. Indeed, Jimi's contribution could be considered as particularly interesting - on one hand, he is entirely steeped in traditional blues, while on the other hand, he personifies his own generation, his howling screeching wailing guitar (plus sustain and feedback off his speakers) being the very embodiment of the psychedelic experience.
Furthermore, Jimi is capable, in my opinion, of communicating deeper and more intense emotion in both his guitar and voice than almost any other musician, which, alongside his technical virtuosity, is quite simply the perfect combination for crying the blues.
As for this CD, its definitely a mixed bag - ranging from those that originated as warm-ups, jams and impromptu performances, to some old favourites, to some gems that would have been worthy of general release in their own right. While some of the content is quite 'dry', others (like Mannish Boy, Voodoo Chile Blues, Once I Had A Woman and both versions of Hear My Train) are superb and there is even one track that I consider to be a genuine masterpiece! Born Under A Bad Sign!! This track is not only a great classic (Albert King & Booker T Jones), but the result of Jimi's treatment is a classic cover version, and is one of the most exquisite electric blue howls I have EVER heard! (Cream's cover of the same song -also brilliant- is an interesting comparison).
All in all, I consider this release to be a very worthwhile contribution to the body of Jimi's published music, and well worth adding to your Hendrix or blues collection. Why only 4 stars? Because this CD doesn't contain my favourite version of Hear My Train A Comin' (the Hawaii rendition, which is a serious contender for my-all-time-No.1-favourite-blues-track) and because some of the material serves best as 'wall-paper'. Of course, how many other artists could stand up so well to having their every recorded note picked over so thoroughly?!
Finally, one of the great pleasures of having been listening to Hendrix for 20 odd years is that, through much of this time, there has been a steady trickle of previously-unreleased material coming through (such as the Rainbow Bridge concert and First Rays Of The New Rising Sun). This has had the effect of sustaining fans with new material (and has included some of his very very best work), even though he left us all those years ago. This CD is such a release, and anyone who likes the blues or any of Jimi's music will get something from it.
"Music is Magic, Magic is Life" -JH-
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