6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Ride the breeze...all over again.,
This review is from: Valleys of Neptune (Audio CD)
Jimi Hendrix is one of the few artists in history that deserves his hype, the other being Bill Shakespeare, but we aren't here to discuss the bard, so lets start this review instead!
This is not a Hendrix album per se. It is more of a collage of recordings and unreleased materials that has languished in the vaults awaiting the appropriate marketing opportunity. I have to say, as a fan of both Hendrix and music in general: Damn! Its good to hear him play again. I discovered Jimi Hendrix's music for myself when I was about 17 or so (I am 25 this year) and was in something of a teenage funk. Nothing made sense and I was mainly into moping about, writing godawful poetry and generally being a miserable b*stard. When I first heard the immortal lines "Move over rover, and let Jimi take over!" I was hooked, the man's art, his experimentation, his poetry, skill and the sheer COOLNESS of everything he did astounded me. Here he was taking about being "Stone free, to ride the breeze" it just felt cool to listen to. While my peers were into Linkin Park, Blink 182 and other soulless clothing label CRAP, here was an artist who meant something, I vibed with him instantly. His palette was so rich, was it Rock? Pop? Blues? Soul? Fusion? It was all of the above and much, much more. Over the years I devoured his records and watched his performances (on DVD, I only have one friend who was lucky enough to see the late, great man live) and his body of work is among the very best ever produced by anybody, anywhere, ever.
So, what is THIS record all about? what can it possibly bring that is new to Hendrix's table? Well the answer is not a lot besides wonderful sound quality and a level of performance that is simply astonishing. Jimi spends much of the record paying homage to his blues forefathers, especially Elmore James, whom he mentions at the start of 'Bleeding heart' and covers on 'Crying Blue Rain' and the heavy-blues stomp of 'Hear my Train a-comin' and an alternate version of the classic 'Red House'. The psych-funk of 'Ships passing through the night' is all promises to "make love through the night" (A lyric I used in at least one of my own songs) and descriptions of "A lonesome bird, making a midnight flight" The title track is just great, classic Jimi; white-hot yet gloriously smooth and sexy. One by one, great cuts keep coming and there is no duff track on here. The songs we know (Red House, Fire, Stone Free) are lovingly re-crafted and have a tangible, 'live-in-the-studio' feel, and the ones we don't delight most of all. This record, to answer my own question, is about ridin' the breeze...all over again.