Jimi Hendrix was and remains an absolute legend in the history of rock music. Looking back, it is a difficult idea for a greatest hits compilation of sorts to be put together in memory of his brilliant music and presence way back in the late 1960s. After many years of waiting for fans, this is perhaps the best representative compilation of the great music that Jimi Hendrix himself made in the 27 years of his lifetime. Notably, it goes through his best loved songs, a few extra songs that you may have missed and a good example of him playing live at Woodstock. For those who love his music and compilations, this is a good starting point for his music. Let’s see what we have here.
We kick off with Purple Haze which kicks off with a monumental riff and just sounds fantastic, even today. It may have been about a type of LSD, we don’t really know for sure. It is a great, exciting and energetic song, even today. It blows away anything on the RnB charts that is mentioned today. Jimi Hendrix was no doubt a great guitarist and musician, and this is a clear example why. Good song.
Next is Fire which is a great, upbeat and uptempo song. The drumming by Mitch Mitchell is terrific, and Jimi Hendrix proves to be a memorable and excellent guitarist. Some of his playing here is really out of this world, and he uses his skills to maximum effect. A great song that is reflective of the scene at the time, but above it as well.
The Wind Cries Mary comes next and has some surreal lyrics about it. It may have been about a lover of Jimi’s, delivered in a psychedelic fashion. Still, it sounds original and well done, even today. The guitar solo and playing sounds relaxed but perfectly executed. No man thus far has been an equal to Jimi Hendrix, at least in the way he played guitar. Excellent music to hear.
Hey Joe comes next, and although is a cover by Jimi Hendrix, it actually comes across as an original. A great song immortalized by Hendrix, and has once again, some awesome playing on it. A great story about a man who does some awful deeds in response to an unfaithful lady, Jimi plays beautifully some excellent Fender Stratocaster lines, particularly in the guitar solo. Excellent work here, and a memorable song. It’ll put a smile upon your face for sure.
Next is the famous Bob Dylan cover All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix. It is an amazing interpretation by Jimi, and he and his Experienced team of musicians create a wonderful song to listen to. This is a wonderful interpretation of a classic song, and is really emotionally played. There is a nice batch of slide guitar playing in the middle of the song. All in all, superb. Jimi Hendrix does extremely well here. The outro is awesome.
Following is Stone Free which is a great song with some excellent guitar playing by Jimi Hendrix. The whole band sounds really awesome here, and this is a really good listen. The fact that this still sounds so good today proves how really great a musical group that The Jimi Hendrix Experience was. It is another amazing and consistent listen throughout, and no doubt influenced legions of guitar players over time. Good effort.
Crosstown Traffic comes next, and is a trippy and interesting song about comparative analysis with a lady with traffic conditions. Kind of humourous if you think about it, this is yet another great Jimi Hendrix song that has not aged at all. If this were made today, it would receive the same classic status that it would have received in the late 1960s. Good song.
Manic Depression comes next, and is nowadays called Bipolar Disorder. Although Jimi Hendrix never seemingly had manic depression, it is an excellent song about the condition. There are some great guitar riffs here, along with some superb work from bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Jimi’s guitar solo is bluesy, loud and wonderfully played. Another nice effort here. A great number on an unusual matter. Mindblowing.
Next is the awesome Little Wing which has some superb electric guitar playing, especially in the intro. This song has been covered by many different artists and is a good way to showcase the unique talent of Jimi Hendrix. It is a very psychedelic song, and showcases Hendrix as a legend of that era of music. Bells are in it, too, which is pretty wacky.
Following is If 6 Was 9 which is a statement of personal resilience from Jimi himself. The idea is that, no matter what happens in life, one must keep going. There is a left-wing political statement in this song as well. Jimi showed the world that, no matter what background you are from, you definitely can make the world a better place. A great song and a wonderful statement from Jimi Hendrix. Some interesting sounds and playing are here, too. The outro is interesting and quite wacky.
Foxey Lady is all about that, and has some loud and heavy guitar riffing. An amazing listen, it seems that it has not dated in its sonic landscape or lyrical intentions. Although it was recorded many years ago, it is still a great historical music reference point for rock fans and music in general. The guitar solo is really awesome, and just delivers what you have needed. Good song.
Bold As Love is the title track from the second album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and talks about colours and imaginative ideals relating to emotions. Many different psychedelic lyrics are here, and has some excellent arpeggio like playing here from Jimi. A solid gold classic, and this is another great song. Nice and very trippy. The harpsichord at the end is a nice addition to this song as well, in amongst the screaming guitar solos.
Following is Castles Made Of Sand which has a good lyrical concept of metaphor about it. It has some of Jimi’s best guitar playing in a sonic sense. It sounds great, and has a brilliant psychedelic feel about it. Some cool backwards guitars are here, and it is as fresh and amazing today as it was at the time.
Next is Red House which is a really cool, heavy blues number by Jimi Hendrix. For that reason of it being a blues number, Jimi puts some extra effort into this song with his playing. It just goes to show that such a deep and faithful understanding of the roots of music can make one make a better effort than usual. How many artists today acknowledge greats such as Jimi Hendrix? Very few, and even the ones who do recognise such a talent are hardly in the spotlight. Great song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and especially Jimi’s guitar playing.
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) has an original wah-wah guitar intro, leading into an immortal piece by Jimi Hendrix which is a huge musical monument by the legend. It sounds really wonderful, and Jimi is in fine form here. The guitar solos are epic and amazing, just going to show that Hendrix was an original and wonderful musician. This song also has a wonderful feel to it rhythmically. “I’ll meet you all in the next world, don’t be late!” is stated here, a sad reminder that in 1970, Jimi Hendrix joined the 27 club. A great song, however.
Freedom begins the rarities section of the compilation, and has some catchy playing by Jimi Hendrix. It has a great sense of melody and rhythm combined, along with some cool backing vocals. There are some awesome lyrics here too, and even a lesser known piece of music here is just fantastic. A good extra track that was not on a Jimi Hendrix album. Nice stuff, the guitar playing is excellent. It sounds very passionate, especially in the singing here.
Next is Night Bird Flying which has a fairly unusual intro, with some screaming guitars throughout the song. It’s a good piece by Jimi Hendrix that should have been on a proper album, but was not. Very well played and executed, it is an interesting and inspired listen. A great effort by the man often considered to be the greatest and most influential guitarist of all time. Good music is here, the guitar solos throughout are mammoth sounding.
After that is Angel which has an intricate introduction, before going into a sublime sounding pop song. It sounds really amazing, and quite out of this world. It is disappointing that Jimi Hendrix only recorded three proper albums of material throughout his lifetime, this is a song based case that he had some extra tricks up his own sleeve. The guitar playing here is relaxed sounding and wonderful. Timeless, underrated and just awesome is the music of Jimi Hendrix, especially this song. It sounds very heavenly. It speeds up towards the end, sounding different.
Dolly Dagger sounds rather unusual for Jimi Hendrix, closer to heavy metal than anything else that he ever did. Still, it is an interesting song and well delivered as usual by our brilliant guitar hero. The lyrics are rather odd about a doll that drinks blood from those she kills with a knife edge (a vampire maybe?). Perhaps not exactly a light listen, but decent nonetheless. Interesting song, pretty wacky. The guitar led outro is sublime.
Star Spangled Banner – Live At The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 18, 1969 is the last track here, and suitably showing that Jimi Hendrix could do extremely well live outside of a studio environment. It is taken from his Live At Woodstock album, which is also seriously good music. Screaming improvised guitars are here for the most part, cementing Jimi Hendrix’s legacy as a great musician. It is not the whole recorded piece, but it is interesting listening.
This is a very well put together and crafted listen with a good sense in hindsight of what Jimi Hendrix meant to the world of music. If you have little patience for sitting through individual albums by Jimi, this is a good starting point to hear his timeless music. Make sure you give this a listen.