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Jimi Hendrix


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3 stars Reviewing compilations is not the same matter as reviewing studio or live albums. This one is simply a great collection of Hendrix songs; personally I grabbed this album just to get into his music, so it was my first approach, and while I was listening to it for the first time as the songs followed on, I just adored it, and that pushed me to buy all of his cds. The songs choice is really good, not to mention that there are a lot of them (20 tracks). Of course Hendrix die hard fans could be complaining about some "tunes that should have been there, but there are not", I'm referring to songs like "Spanish Castle Magic" or "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" for instance... Anyway in the end it's a good compilation, that I recommend to people willing to approach Jimi's music for the first time.

My rating is 3 stars.

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Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The world's most famous autodidact guitar player!"

Little Jimi Hendrix grew up in a family where he was torn between two extreme worlds: a caring but often absent father and an alcoholic mother who frequently beated him up and gave most of her attention to men for sex. She died at the age of 32, due to extreme alcohol abuse, Jimi was 15 years old and had developped a very unbalanced emotional world. A few months later his father gave him a guitar, because many members of the family showed interest in music. Soon Jimi discovered that he could put his rollercoaster of emotions into playing guitar. He practised hours and hours on 'his best friend', imitated all sounds around him and finally turned into professional guitarist in 1961. However, it took a long road before his virtuosic and innovative but also unconventional guitarplay was recognized. Eventually his mindblowing gig at Monterey Pop mid 1967 made Jimi Hendrix a guitar hero who changed the world of rock music. Jimi's 3 albums sold very well and he was highly praised. But how sad that Jimi, like his mother, had a too self-destructive nature. Because without making music he felt increasingly angry, rejected, restless and depressed and numbed himself more and more with sex, drugs and alcohol. This ultimate downward slide ended at the very bottom: late 1970 he suffocated in his own vomit, after taking an extreme overdosis of sleeping pills and died, only 27 years old. But his music is timeless and still inspires many people to let their guitars speak, like Jimi Hendrix did in his unique and unsurpassed way.

This comprehensive compilation CD contains mainly tracks from the three studio albums he released during his life: Are You Experienced? and Bold As Love from 1967 and Electric Ladyland from 1968, the rest is from posthume released albums like Cry Of Love (1971) and the highly acclaimed 1969-1970 recordings compilation Rainbow Bridge (1971).

An important part of Jimi his work is raw, high energetic and steamy rock featuring Jimi Hendrix his screaming, crying, howling and blistering guitar, fueled by a propulsive and dynamic rhythm-section (reminding me of Cream, The Who and Led Zeppelin). We can enjoy this creative powerhouse trio in most tracks, especially in the exciting Purple Haze and Manic Depression (the title points at his own mental condition, that shifted frequently from hyperactive to deeply depressed).

Jimi played a lot of legendary riffs, like in Hey Joe (wonderful melodic guitar work and pumping bass play), All Along The Watchtower (subtle Hawaii guitar and wah-wah pedal and finally fading howling guitar runs), Foxy Lady (fiery guitar solo) and Voodoo Child - Slight Return (exciting blend of rock, blues and psychedelia with heavy and raw wah-wah drenched guitar play). These songs are topped with his outstanding vocals, from tender to powerful, Jimi himself was not very positive about his voice but we know better.

His mellow side can be traced in the wonderful songs The Wind Cries Mary (fragile guitar and warm vocals) and the bluesy Little Wing.

In the swinging Castles Made Of Sand (inspired by his Cherokee bloodline) the vocals sound like 'embryonal rap', very special to hear and another example of his varied musical taste. And as a 'genuine genius' he was ahead of his time.

It's blues time in Bold As Love (sensitive guitar work and in the end a phaser sound and piano), Angel and especially the exciting Red House, an Old School blues atmosphere (his hero was Muddy Waters) by the vocals and guitar and with subtle use of overdubs and echo.

Finally the instrumental composition Star Spangled Banner: how unique, played by Hendrix on stage since 1968, this wide range of distorted sounds, like bombs, machine guns, crashing heli's, crying and screaming people, up to your imagination. It's a great example how creative and innovative Jimi Hendrix was with 'his best friend'.

Enjoy the most progressive guitar player of all times on this excellent compilation!

Report this review (#1921078)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2018 | Review Permalink

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