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Jimi Hendrix - First Rays of the New Rising Sun CD (album) cover

FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN

Jimi Hendrix

 

Proto-Prog

3.59 | 35 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars EDIT: Whoops, mispublished my Electric Ladyland review here. He's the New Rising Sun review.

First Rays of the New Rising sun is a tricky one - but then again, all of Jimi's posthumous releases are. Few artists from the 1960s had a posthumous career as rich as Jimi's - though if you look forward to the 1990s Tupac Shakur's career after death puts Jimi's in the shade. There is absolutely no question that this needed to be curtailed because by the mid-1970s those who owned the rights to the songs had taken to overdubbing sparse, unfinished demos with music played by session musicians who had never even *met* Jimi for the sake of squeezing a little more product out of the poor guy. Although questions might be raised about the Hendrix family's own management of the material after they regained the rights, I have absolutely no doubt that they made the right call in discontinuing the various posthumous albums that had come out.

That said, the material on here is superb, though possibly of mildly less interest to fans only interested in Jimi's progressive side. It's clear that at the time of his death Jimi was working on reconciling the psych-prog approach of his work with the Experience with the raw blues power of the Band of Gypsys. On more or less all the tracks he succeeds - Freedom, Izabella, Dolly Dagger, Ezy Rider, Room Full of Mirrors, all pack one hell of a punch. The album also includes Angel, without a question one of Jimi's most poignant songs, as well as the placid Drifting, which shows that he hadn't completely turned his back on progressive material. But not all of the work is top-tier: My Friend goes on a little too long, Astro Man is a bit of silliness which could have done with a bit more work, and the ditty Belly Button Window - one of the last songs Jimi ever worked on - seems to be more of a gift to a pregnant friend than a track seriously considered for album inclusion.

Although the Hendrix estate claims that they've tried to reconstruct as closely as possible the album Jimi was working on when he died, there's no doubt that they haven't succeeded, and couldn't possibly have succeeded - that album is only on sale in heaven. But until we get there, First Rays of the New Rising Sun is a more than welcome substitute. Even so, as good as a lot of the material is, it can only ever be a substitute. Some things just can't be replaced.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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