Jimi Hendrix may seemingly have come out of nowhere, but he quickly became arguably rock’s most loved electric guitarist. Born and raised in Seattle in the U.S.A., he shifted to the UK and became a superstar after he had bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell join with him to make some mindblowing music.
This album was his first, and arguably, his most essential album to own. It features a huge array of songs from start to finish, and is so interesting and beautiful sounding for the part.
Different versions of this album exist, but for this entry, we will observe the version with extra cuts on top of the rest of the album, which were unreleased on most versions of this album.
We start off with Foxey Lady, a great song about said lady who Jimi is trying to impress. It’s a decent pop song, and begins a very interesting listen.
Manic Depression is a much better listen than you’d expect. It’s not depressing, just heavy sounding. It’s a great topic to cover, and has a great song structure to it.
The bluesy Red House follows, with the lyrics “There’s a red house over yonder, that’s where my baby stays”. It’s a great blues piece, and one of Hendrix’s best songs. Listen to the fantastic guitar playing here, it’s majestic.
Can You See Me asks a person in Jimi’s life if indeed, they do care about him. Hence the song title. It’s a good song, and a confrontational one at that.
Continuing from the theme before, Love Or Confusion shows Hendrix’s philosophy towards women. Indeed, Jimi Hendrix was never really into long term relationships, and explains in to music.
I Don’t Live Today is a surreal tale of existence. It refers to being torn apart, but features Jimi Hendrix’s great guitar playing all the way through.
Following up are the trippy lyrics and banging drum loops of May This Be Love. It mentions a waterfall, too. How tranquil. Jimi Hendrix obviously knew music, and this is proof of the variety of his music.
Fire is a great pop tune about standing next to somebody’s fire, if you understand the meaning of the song. But it’s simply good and catchy enough for the listener at hand.
The extended psychedelic jam Third Stone From The Sun follows and it’s a great listening experience. It sounds very futuristic for the 1960’s, with some awesome slowed down vocals and interesting sound effects. Sweet.
Remember follows and it is a tale of broken love. It refers to specific events within a day of a breakup, and refers to to a mockingbird and personal emotions. You’d honestly have to wonder how much drug use was prevalent in this era, there was a lot of it.
The follow piece, Are You Experienced? poses the hippy question to all, and for those who don’t know what this means, “Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful.” There are some awesome backwards guitars and drum loops to boot. Remember, this was only 1967.
Hey Joe is not written by Jimi Hendrix, but it sounds just as though he wrote it. The guitar playing on this one is fantastic, and breathes new life into this blues cover. Excellent and unforgettable.
The next song Stone Free features a metallic percussive sound and awesome guitar work from Jimi, once again. It’s a tale of independence and doing whatever gets one by in life. The outro is fantastic.
Purple Haze may or may not have been about a type of LSD available on the west coast of the U.S.A. Despite this, it’s a heavy and psychedelic listen for all to enjoy. “Excuse me while I kiss the sky,” is an often quoted phrase from this one.
The next number is a goodie. 51st Anniversary rails against marriage as a problem solver, and points to how Jimi Hendrix specifically feels about this issue. It’s a good tale with a dark side to it, as well as a good side.
The Wind Cries Mary is a laidback and lush tale which is psychedelic, leading up to the chorus. Perhaps a little weaker, but nonetheless, awesome.
The last track on this album, Highway Chile, refers to a wanderer of sorts. It’s a good listen with unusual sounding guitar from Jimi, and we end here.
What to make of this album? It changed the way rock musicians, namely guitarists, played forever. It also gave the world James Marshall Hendrix, a new superstar who would influence and excite many prior to his tragic death in 1970. Jimi himself was a better and more inventive guitar player at the time than anybody else. This album is a great beginning to his back catalogue of music.
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8/10 – tough marker. I couldn’t contemplate giving this less than a solid 10!
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