Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix Valleys of Neptune is a mystic experience for the initiated. First of all, this is not a bootleg or a compilation of already available material. It is all new unheard takes on vintage tracks. Some of the tracks have been added to later but much of it is the original experience. One does get a bit of Noel Redding and a bit of Billy Cox, and you can distinctly make out how they held Hendrix differently with their lines and their rhythm. Most of the tracks are structured more like a studio jam session than as cuts for an album release and therein lies the magic. Hendrix is absolutely relaxed and absorbed, and the band backs him up with perfect balance.

If you are a Hendrix head, you will have already got your hands on this album. There is a lot of Hendrix lore in the tracks, and one has to listen to the opening bars of a song to realize that it is an earlier version of a song in the making. The time of this recording is also significant as it captures the evolution of the experience and how they shaped the unique sound that they came to be known for in the course of time.Valleys Of Neptune
If you are not a student (or stalker) of our man, you will wonder what is special about this album. For one, you have never heard sunshine of your love played the way it is played on this release. Clocking at under 7 minutes, t is electrifying and keeps you on your toes to see where it goes. Hear My Train a Comin is another fabulous rendition. Mr. Bad Luck (Look over yonder) is smooth and rocking at the same time. Valleys of Neptune is a beautiful track too. The Stone Free version here is going to interest the fan, the musician and the first time listener.

Overall, a brilliant release. It will be waking you up for a while to come.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:20 PM

    I enjoyed this review. But my thoughts on sunshine of your love are a little different. I think this take shows up what an average bass player Noel was. In this jam he is thrown a solo, and the results are underwhelming. You can only imagine what Jack Bruce might have done at that moment. I've been listening to Billy Cox on First Rays of the New Rising Sun this week. His riffs are really interesting and well executed. Overall I think Noel was very lucky to have shared a stage with Jimi, and that he should have been more respectful of the opportunity fate handed him in return for nothing more than a lot of hair. His singing was also poor. Que sera. Tenpasteight

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  2. I quite agree that the manning of the experience had different levels of tightness with changes, and my across-artists favorite of sunshine is actually the early yardbird renditions.

    What are your faves?

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