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Jimi Hendrix - Smash Hits CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix


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4 stars What the hell. Four stars for a compilation!

Because it was my first one. If you own this and nothing else by Mr. Hendrix - well, you'll be missing a few things, but you will have the essence in your discography.

Well-known ones are 'Purple Haze', 'Hey Joe' and 'Foxy Lady'. Of this celebrity trio, only 'Foxy Lady' was never my cup of tea: it's somehow hollow to my ears, and a bit banal. The others two are fine - it's not song's fault if it's overplayed. Energy in Purple Haze, brilliant lyrical rendering of 'Hey Joe', as well as magnificent build-up, ascending scales and pop-psych choir won't be surpassed.

Another hippie number, full of lust, rock 'n' roll fury (and ethnic-sounding percussion - interesting!) is 'Fire', after which the record goes into slower pace with lovely 'Wind Cries Mary'. Flipped back to higher speed and good guitar hook and start-stop trick with 'Can You See Me' - and then, the first highlight: lesser known, but great nevertheless '51st Anniversary'. I can't point out a single thing about this one - it's so good it defies any analysis because it goes directly into brain. Plus, it's a mature piece of work, perfect in every little piece of melody and layer details.

'The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice' is my least favourite track, I'm usually skipping it. Avantgarde bluesy cacophony, perhaps some sort of hippie tribal crowd engaged in. It sounds good, but if you picture Captain Beefheart surrounded by muddy Woodstock hippies chanting, it's not.

Second highlight of this neat little record is 'Manic Depression'. Perhaps the melody is too merry for a subject, but many a great artist could be accused for the same (Iron Maiden, anyone?). Here, is the great guitar riff, that could be compared only with Led Zeppelin's blend of awesomeness, energy, and subtle (but deep) explorations of rock 'n' roll limits. A history itself.

'Highway Chile' is just (just!) another good rock-blues tune slapping as with the beef, and last but not the least to be mentioned is 'Burning Of The Midnight Lamp' - this one is of particular interest for anyone who likes prog rock (actually everything else is to, but this one is obvious). This one needs more time to gets into, but once when it's in, it's very rewarding. It's Jimi Hendrix, damn, discover it yourself if you hadn't yet. This is great starter.

Report this review (#262015)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I listened to the British version of this album which was the one that was released in my country in 1968. It is a good compilation of songs by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, some of them being B-sides of singles, some of them being A-Sides of singles, and some songs which were taken from their albums. Even if by 1968 this was a premature compilation album, I think that it is a very representative compilation of their music because it has some of their best known tracks: "Purple Haze", "Fire", "Hey Joe", "Foxy Lady", "Stone Free" and "The Wind Cries Mary". This last song is a very good Blues song with a very good lead guitar part and it is one of my favourites from their songs, showing Jimi Hendrix as a very original and innovative guitar player who was ahead of his time. Among the not very known tracks is "51st Anniversary", which I think it was released as a B-side of a single. Despite the fact that the three members of this band are now dead, this album still has some of the best music they recorded together.
Report this review (#1064219)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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