Jimi Hendrix- Axis: Bold As Love
Here�s a little thought for all you fabulous people out there. Being flashy on your instrument does not mean that you are skilled! Just because you can improvise a really fast solo, or make up a technical fill does not mean that you have the only thing that matters in music- GROOVE! You may wander off when it�s acceptable, but for the most part, musicians have to know when to play, and when to stay grounded. Even Keith Moon knew that. But no one in history utilized that information more religiously (and tastefully!) than James Marshall Hendrix. Blending beauty, skill, groove, and one hell of a hippie image, Jimi demonstrated all that jazz on his sophomore release, Axis: Bold As Love. And you�d be quite surprised at how well he accomplishes that.
Each Hendrix album is distinguished by a different sound. Each �persona� is nothing like the other albums. �Are You Experienced?� was the psychedelic album, �Electric Ladyland� was the rocky album, and �Axis: Bold As Love� can be described as the pretty album. I don�t mean pretty as in �zOMGz, th4tz t3h m0st b34ut1ful ting I�v3 3v3r h34rd� but a big percentage of the songs here are laid back, and quiet, with killer grooves. Look at the tracks �Little Wing�, �Castles Made of Sand�, and the title track. While all three kick major ass, the majority of the numbers are hushed, with bluesy guitar interplay, especially the shuffled riffs and bouncy bassline on �Wait Until Tomorrow�. Every little riff and lead part in these few songs are squeaky clean and pretty, but there is much more to �Axis: Bold As Love� than chill ballads. Reviving what he is famous for, Jimi keeps the psychedelic vibe around with his powerful �Spanish Castle Magic.� and the awesome number �Little Miss Lover� where his guitar playing is at its peak, with a schizophrenic wah-wah solo. The earlier of the two was made famous at Woodstock, and is easily one of his hardest rocking songs, with a unique theme.
There are also some experimental tracks on here, which are Jimi�s exclusive attempts at ambient music, as well as strange sound trackings. �If 6 Was 9� is the longest song on here, and sad to say, my least favorite. It�s an average song, to say the least, but features many different parts and moods which bore me, and no real instrumental awesomeness. �EXP� is completely irrelevant to the album, but quite an exotic opener. Mitch Mitchell�s voice is brought to a head-throbbing pitch, and gives an interview to Mr. Paul Caruso, whose voice is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The rest of the �song� is just cool guitar feedback. �Ain�t No Telling� is probably one of the coolest tracks on the record, simply for how much Jimi fit into one minute and forty nine seconds. Ranging from awesome guitar leads, to soaring vocals, fun drumming and cool harmonics, it is short and sweet.
Whether it be a clean-tracked guitar, or distorted through a Marshall 100-watt stack, Jimi manhandles his guitar like Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield�s ear. There are a number of influences on this album, that it�s nearly impossible to comprehend. There is a definite soul and jazz influence on a number of songs, like �One Rainy Wish� and �Up From the Skies� where there are killer drums from Mitch Mitchell, as well as a killer boogie. It also seems as if the British Invasion band, �Small Faces� wrote �She�s So Fine�. Bassist Noel Redding, whose voice is clearly reminiscent of the famous John Lennon, sings, and the fact that Small Faces were his favorite group clearly shines through, as does his fun bubbly bassline. Mitch�s drumming ability is amazing, and on every song, he adds his own, jazzy flair to the song, and it couldn�t be more perfect. I don�t know if I have ever told you this, but Hendrix used to be just some classic rock dude to me, but after listening to �Little Wing�, I said to myself, �Damn, this guy really can ***ing play.� A year later, I still hold him to be my favorite player, and think that he doesn�t deserve all the �anti- hype� that he gets. He�s a genius- simply put. Once again, his guitar work is magnificent, and ranges from quiet and pretty, to harsh and eclectic- all in the same song. And it�s consistent throughout the entire album. Whether you agree or not, I�m giving this album a perfect 5, for sheer brilliance. I listen to this album religiously every day, and have never doubted his raw emotion and technical ability. He was the first musician to stop at nothing, and the music he heard in his head, was the music he played. No one ever played like this before him, which maybe why he�s so good in the first place. And if you don�t like it, then why are you reading this? Call me a fanboy- I couldn�t care less. But a blend of groove, beauty, and dazzling guitar has never sounded so cool.