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| 24 April 2018 | Reply

Legacy Recordings
March 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

It’s easy to be cynical about every ‘new’ Jimi Hendrix album – almost fifty years after his death his estate are still releasing ‘new’ material from his scant recording career.

Our first question surely must be, if these tracks are worth hearing, why haven’t they been released before now? Add to that producer/engineer Eddie Kramer’s admission that on past releases they have overdubbed session musos to complete studio sketches, and we’re left wondering how much of what’s on Both Sides Of The Sky was actually Hendrix to start with.

Putting that aside for now, and what we hear throughout Both Sides Of The Sky is the sound of Hendrix searching in the studio for something new. Always one to attempt to capture lightning in a bottle live, Hendrix recorded something like 70 times in the final year of his life, playing songs over and over until they had revealed all of their secrets and treasures to him.

Mannish Boy is a loose run through the Muddy Waters classic, while Hear My Train A Comin’ finds him pushing the solo out of the pocket over and over in what sounds like a druggy jam, relentlessly looking for a new sound. It’s certainly a highlight here.

$20 Fine and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock are essentially Stephen Stills songs – they’re his vocals and guitar, Hendrix only playing bass, and as such are pretty much filler here. Stepping Stone, Power Of Soul and Jungle are very obviously just imperfect run-throughs, easy on the ears but lending nothing to Hendrix’s reputation, let alone his legend.

Things I Used To Do fares better, a boogie fried workout of Guitar Slim’s song with Johnny Winter on slide guitar, whilst Georgia Blues is a mellow, organ-drenched tune that features Hendrix’s old pal Lonnie Youngblood on vocals and saxophone.

Sweet Angel sounds like it may have been an early sketch for Angel, but isn’t in that song’s league.

The final two songs show exactly why this collection and its two predecessors –Valleys of Neptune and People, Hell and Angels – are so infuriating: Send My Love To Linda is fascinating, Hendrix stomping on different effects pedals as he tries to find the best sound for his loved-up guitar solo, and then Cherokee Mist is little more than a meandering, stoned jam that should have stayed in the vault. Some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.

Category: CD Reviews

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