Monday, May 03, 2010

Listening to the Valleys of Neptune

By no means am I a Jimi Hendrix afficienado, but I was pretty excited to check out Valleys of Neptune, which came out last month and claims to have "12 previously unreleased studio recordings" from one of last century's guitar gods. The truth is that for the majority of listeners (including me), these songs really are brand new. Hendrix fanatics, on the other hand, might have many of these songs on various other sources, although perhaps not in the exact form presented here. Ten of the album's songs are Hendrix originals and two are covers: Elmore James' Bleeding Heart and Cream's Sunshine of Your Love.

I grew up listening to classic rock on my father's radio, so listening to this album brings me back in a way, even if it is a brand new release. While all the cuts here are studio recordings, for the most part they are rough demos or versions that were later built on. Which isn't to say that they sound rough or unfinished; in the hands of Hendrix, even practice songs soar high above many other artists' work. Be prepared for over 60 minutes of trademark Hendrix guitar wizardry that is simply smokin'. And the sound, it's crisp and sharp (except of course when Jimi's getting fuzzy with his guitar, but it's a sharp fuzzy).

In addition, Sony's Legacy label has released deluxe CD/DVD editions of four of Hendrix's classic albums: Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, and First Rays of the New Rising Sun, available both in CD and 180 gram vinyl LP! Hendrix lovers rejoice!

Visit his website, this release's label Sony Legacy, and become his posthumous friend on MySpace.

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