Monday, March 29, 2010

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced

The JHE’s first record is another of the new expanded CD/DVD sets that includes their other two official studio albums as well as the new Valleys of Neptune album. This is arguably one of the better deals out of the set as it includes all of the songs from the British as well as American releases to give a total of 17 songs! When the fabulous DVD is included in the deal, you just can’t pass this up (even if, like me, you already had the CD release of this album).

This record shows all the moods and mastery and majesty of Hendrix and the Experience – from the hard-edged acid rock of “Purple Haze”, “Manic Depression”, “Foxey Lady” and “Fire” to the pure psycedelia of "Are You Experienced?", “Love or Confusion”, “I Don’t Live Today” and “3rd Stone from the Sun” to the blues of “Hey Joe” and “Red House”, to his quiter moments like "The Wind Cries Mary". Some of his lesser known tunes appear as well, such as the sweet ballad “May This Be Love”, “Remember”, "Stone Free", "Highway Chile" and the fantastically under-rated “51st Anniversary”.

Jimi’s playing is sweet, raucous, mind-blowing and incredibly unique and ground-breaking. I’ve said it a million times, but the electric guitar changed forever after this album and every electric guitarist in the world owes a debt to this genius.

Engineer Eddie Kramer deserves many accolades for his work on this, as well, from initially being able to constrain and capture the truly wild sounds emanating from Jimi’s amp to his re-mastering of the original tapes for these CDs. This was a ground-breaking work of engineering and production as well as playing.

Another absolutely essential piece of r’n’r history in a terrific package complete with full color booklet, tons of new photos and the superb DVD.