Jimi Hendrix: ‘Both Sides of the Sky’

0
847

Now, while nobody questions the genius of Jimi Hendrix his light burned brightly across the sky for far too short a time.  During his brief time on this planet he changed everything: music, fashion, attitudes, the list is endless.  He was arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of Rock and his achievements in his four year journey leading the music world are littered with monuments to his greatness.  His first two albums are classics, whilst the third, an ambitious double album called “Electric Ladyland” was a worldwide number one and still sells in truck-loads today.

Hendrix played many historical concerts too, including the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, going on after The Who and overshadowing them completely (I think the only time this ever happened to the British band.)  He also headlined the Woodstock festival in 1969 and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, tragically just months before his death in September of that year at the age of 27.

Sadly, some 48 years after his death, the directors of the Jimi Hendrix family estate are still trying to find new ways of repackaging old recordings, remixing stuff and doing whatever they have to do to make a new Hendrix album, something they hope will be essential for any true fan to have.

This effort under review is the third in a three-part trilogy supposedly following up on “Electric Ladyland” (have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?)  The first part released in 2010 was called “Valleys of Neptune” and the second in 2013 was titled “People, Hell and Angels”, so they are rather scraping the very bottom of the barrel with all this.

That is not to say this particular collection is all bad, far from it.  The album opens with a good up-tempo version of “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters, with Hendrix playing a funky Chuck Berry riff with plenty of wah-wah and backed by his friends Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.  There is also a fine version of “Hear My Train a Comin’” with a blistering Hendrix guitar solo.

As for the rest, well there’s an early version of “Woodstock” sung by Stephen Stills with Hendrix on bass guitar, another song called “$20 Fine” sung and written by Stills (which would have been an outtake on one of his solo albums) and an excellent version of Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do”, which features some excellent slide guitar from Johnny Winter, but not much from Hendrix.

Hendrix and friends retread water by going through yet more versions of “Lover Man” and “Steppin’ Stone”, a throwaway blues track called “Georgia Blues” and a nice little number called “Send My Love to Linda” with a progressive guitar solo in it.  The absolute nadir is kept for the last track “Cherokee Mist”, which is over seven minutes of Hendrix messing about on a sitar.  That really is that.

If you’re worried about the Hendrix family estate, please don’t be, there are still plenty of people out there buying the album.  Jimi Hendrix never meant any of this stuff to be released to a paying public and I’m sure he would be ashamed if he knew it was.

For those of you looking to buy some quality Hendrix, his first three albums are masterpieces and there is an excellent four CD collection called “Jimi Hendrix Experience”, which has enough to satisfy most, as does his greatest hits compilation on an album called “Smash Hits”.

Three stars out of five.

Jimi Hendrix performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. (Bruce Fleming/AP Photo)
Jimi Hendrix performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. (Bruce Fleming/AP Photo)

Musicians:

Jimi Hendrix – lead and bass guitar, sitar and vocals

Billy Cox – bass guitar

Buddy Miles – drums

Noel Redding – bass guitar

Mitch Mitchel – drums

Johnny Winter – slide guitar

Stephen Stills – organ and vocals

LonnieYoungblood – vocals and saxophone

Track List:

Mannish Boy

Lover Man

Hear My Train A Comin’

Steppin’ Stone

$20 Fine

Power of Soul

Jungle

Things I Used To Do

Georgia Blues

Sweet Angel

Woodstock

Send My Love To Linda

Cherokee Mist

Note: Written by Hells Bells and Mott The Dog who can be found looking through the dustbins for recycled music at Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.