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Jimi Hendrix - Merry Christmas And Happy New Year CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix



2.75 | 3 ratings

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3 stars In December 1969, Jimi Hendrix went into the studio with the recently formed Band Of Gypsys, which featured him, Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums, to rehearse for some upcoming concerts at the Filmore East (which would be documented on Band Of Gypsies and Live At The Filmore East). One of the songs recorded was an instrumental Christmas/New Year's medley, set to a march, consisting of "The Little Drummer Boy", "Silent Night", and "Auld Lang Syne" (with a snippet of "Taps" thrown in the middle), churned out with a similar flavor that Hendrix gave "The Star Spangled Banner", albeit without the nightmarish aura surrounding that cover. It's certainly nice, but not something I would consider essential. If, however, you manage to get a copy of the 2010 edition of the single, you are treated with the full version of the medley, which makes the short version completely superfluous. Right after the part where the short version ends, the band begins to cook and starts jamming; compete with the usual trademark solos from Hendrix, some good bass work from Cox and lovely background vocals from Miles (which are sadly buried in the mixed), sending the piece into the stratosphere as the ball drops to ring in the new year. The medley is not as mind blowing as the rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" Hendrix unleashed at Woodstock four months earlier, but it's quite lovely nonetheless and bound to give you those warm, fuzzy feelings you usually get at Christmas time.

For the B-side, there's "Three Little Bears", a tropical flavored number from the Electric Ladyland sessions (with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell on rhythm this time) which was originally released on the War Heroes LP. It's... one of the weirder numbers to come out of the vaults. I honestly have no idea what on earth Hendrix was trying to accomplish with the nursery rhymish lyrics, which, at one point, he even comments on the absurdity of them. At least the music is quite nice, even though one gets the feeling that Hendrix would not have even considered releasing this.

My only complaint is that this is another one of those "Why did they release this as a single" moments. IMO, the extended suite and "Three Little Bears" could have easily fit on the South Saturn Delta compilation. As it is, both songs are enjoyable romps that will please longtime fans.

Oh, and the picture of an Axis era Jimi in a Santa suit is a hoot.

KingCrInuYasha | 3/5 |


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