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Kitty Dunn

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New Hendrix album: should you buy it?

I got a chance to listen to the new Jimi Hendrix album, Valleys of Neptune, sitting alongside one of the biggest Hendrix fans I ever met, my boyfriend Mike. We both liked it, but for different reasons. Mike is a completionist when it comes to Hendrix. He has dozens of Hendrix CD's, albums, box sets and bootlegs. So it kind of seemed impossible to me that the archivists from the Hendrix family could find anything he hadn't heard before. And for the most part that was true. These were studio recordings made by Jimi and the Experience shortly after Electric Ladyland, and feature a lot of songs that a lot of us have heard before, mostly in live concert recordings, or new versions of songs that appeared on other studio albums. Serious Hendrix freaks probably have a few of them on bootleg albums. But the title track and some of the other songs were new to us. One thing  we both noticed right away is that the recording quality is excellent, and that the drums are more prominent than other Hendrix recordings. There's a beautiful melodic version of "Red House,"  a great bluesy song called "Bleeding Heart" that was often played live, and a very strange version of "Fire" that features Noel Redding alternating vocals with Jimi. There's something just wrong about that. Some of the songs simply fade out before the songs are finished.. probably because hey.. the songs weren't finished.  For example, even though the version of "Red House" clocks in at 8:20, it fades right as Jimi is starting the second verse. I really liked the instrumental cover of  Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love." Mike had heard it before, but I hadn't. It featured a lot of different guitar effects and tones..and to me even had kind of an India feel in the middle. Very tasty. One new song to both of us was "Ships Passing Through the Night." While the guitar playing was Jimi quality, I thought the lyrics were a bit weak. "Lay your troubles down on the chair, you gotta shake those blues outta your hair."  Maybe the song was a work in progress. If you buy the album at Target, you get two new songs that you don't get anywhere else. Both are instrumentals. One is called "Slower Version" and it's a slower version of the song that precedes it on the album, "Crying Blue Rain." And the last song is called "Trashman." That's the song that most impressed my guitar playing Hendrix fan boyfriend. So what's the bottom line? If you're a huge Hendrix fan..you must buy this, and get it at Target. If you're a garden variety Hendrix fan (like me), you'd probably enjoy it, so pick it up when you get a chance. If you're a new Hendrix fan, you'd be better off buying the newly remastered Electric Ladyland or Axis Bold As Love. If you're not a Hendrix fan, why are you reading this? Find out what Rolling Stone had to say and preview the album here.

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03/10/2010 8:55AM
New Hendrix album: should you buy it?
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03/10/2010 9:10PM
BobS
Thanks for the Target tip. Here's one for you. Last week at Wal-Mart, they had a 2-track CD single for $1.88. It features Valleys Of Neptune from the forthcoming album. The other track is Peace In Mississippi clocking in at 7:02. It is a "Previouslyunreleased alternate recording & non-album bonus track". It's a jam featuring the original Experience. There is also a certificate for a free mp3 download of Red House recorded live at Clark University, Worcester, MA on 3/15/1968.
03/10/2010 10:47PM
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