Review Summary: More of the Hendrix we know and love.
No doubt some musically ignorant kid is going to hear a song off this album, think it sounds cool, and start telling people about this great new guitar player called Jimi Hendrix. That will probably be an isolated incident. After all, Hendrix is one of the most revered musicians of all time. Accolades include the number one spot on Rolling Stone’s list of greatest guitarists of all time and platinum status for all three of his studio albums. The man needs no introduction. As I sat down to listen to Valleys of Neptune for the first time, I had two expectations. First: it’s Hendrix, it must be awesome. Second: this is probably just an attempt by his heirs and the record label to get their hands on every last bit of money from Hendrix’s tremendous accomplishments and legacy.
Both of my expectations were proven true. Valleys of Neptune is an album of b-sides, covers, and unreleased songs. The majority of the songs were recorded in 1969. These songs feature classic Hendrix showing off his incredible guitar prowess and blues jams. There are two covers: “Sunshine of Your Love” (instrumental), and “Bleeding Heart.” This album is really enjoyable; once again Hendrix and crew show why they are so revered. Hendrix gives one of his most impressive vocal performances on “Bleeding Heart.” All of these songs are equal to or better than the versions released on studio albums. If you have the patience to sit through some of the longer jams, you will find some of the best Hendrix around. The 8-minute plus take of “Red House” is simply mind-blowing. The title track, which has never been commercially released, is one of the catchiest songs he has written.
Valleys of Neptune won’t change anyone’s mind about The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It may be more of the same, but it’s hard to complain when the same is this good. The diehard Hendrix fans most likely have all of these songs already, but the higher quality recordings are worth the price. An average listener like myself should find Valleys of Neptune an excellent next step in Hendrix’s legacy. In fact, anyone that enjoys classic rock, blues, fantastic guitar playing, or good music would enjoy it. The question is, why don’t you get this already?