The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
4-CD Box Set
Jimi Hendrix- Vocals, guitar
Mitch Mitchell- drums
Noel Redding- bass, backing vocals
The entire 4th disc features Billy Cox replacing Redding on bass. On some tracks, Buddy miles plays drums and Juma plays percussion.
My hopes were high for this and I was not let down. This 4-CD box set has a beautiful purple velvet surface, an excellent 80-page color booklet, and, most importantly, some of the best Hendrix songs out there. The 4 CD's are in chronological order, with the first one starting in 1966 as the Experience formed and the last disc ending just weeks before Hendrix's death. On this set there are some great alternate versions of well-loved Hendrix songs, like the amazing instrumental version of "Little Wing", an early take of "Purple Haze", a breathtaking live "Red House", and a highly entertaining extended version of "Third Stone from the Sun." There are also completely new, rarely or never before heard songs, such as the venemous blues "Here he Comes/Lover Man" and an impressive cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria". All in all, this jaw-dropping box set is a perfect addition to any true fan's collection. At 50 bucks or less, it's one of the greatest deals I've seen.
Since there's a whopping 60 tracks on this box set, I will just do a run-through of the highlights and lowlights instead of giving detail to every single song.
Highlights: Killing Floor live in Paris (one of the Experience's first shows). An extended and hilarious version of Third Stone from the Sun which features those spacey slowed down vocals sped up to normal speed for you to hear (They are done by Jimi and Chas Chandler, both avid Sci-Fi fans. Also, there's an electrifying cover of Rock me Baby as well as Like a Rolling Stone, both live at Monterey Pop Festival, June 1967.
Lowlights: the "alternate" version of Foxey Lady is barely different from the original found on Are you Experienced
Highlights: A good live cover of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper (the song, not the entire album). There's a nice outtake of "Room full of Mirrors" and a very good cover of "Gloria" that is exhilirating and funny. But the real gems are the instrumental version of "Little Wing" and the studio take of "Star Spangled Banner". Though the latter is not nearly as powerful as it's Woodstock counterpart, it's still a great song.
Lowlights: Somewhat rambling (though well-intentioned) original called "It's too bad".
Highlights: Awesome alternate "Room Full of Mirrors", complete with an insane guitar solo. Jimi gives probably his best interpretation of his own blues masterpiece "Red House" with the bafflingly good 13-minute version on this disc. Also notable are the emotional live versions of "Little Wing" and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and a heavily overdubbed, sophosticated re-make of "Stone Free".
Lowlights: none. Probably the strongest disc in the set.
Highlights: An exciting alternate take of "Message to Love", a sloppy yet very emotional live at the Isle of Wight "All along the watchtower", and a 90-second jam called "Slow Blues" that may only be as attention-grabbing as it is because it was the last recording Hendrix made before his death, just a couple weeks later.
Lowlights: "Asto Man" has bad lyrics and unmemorable music, "Earth Blues" is just plain unexciting. The weakest disc, though still contains some strong stuff.
All in all, this is for sure a worthy buy for any fan, as it's mishaps are few, and the songs of genius and beauty outnumber them greatly.