Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Jimi Hendrix - First Rays of the New Rising Sun

The record compiles songs that were considered for Jimi's fourth studio album (to follow Electric Ladyland) and which have been released previously on vinyl as Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes, but this 17 song CD version has been released with the approval of the family and with the help of long time engineer Eddie Kramer.

Backed by Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, Jimi runs through the songs that I mentioned from Cry of Love, as well as now-classics like the Hendrix-ized blues of "Izabella" (a fave from Woodstock Volume 2), the psychedelic rocker "Room Full of Mirrors", and another of my posthumous faves, "Dolly Dagger" ("she drinks her blood from a jagged edge"), with its cool licks and heavy fuzz bass. "Beginnings" is the riff-laden instrumental that goes off on a few tangents and that also appears in Woodstock, "Stepping Stone" has nothing to do with the hit song by the same name, but has more fine playing throughout, and "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" had numerous incarnations, but was another fave with its simple chord progression, memorable melody'n'lyrics and, of course, terrific guitar work and "Earth Blues" seems to be a tune that was more finalized than some, as has a more fully realized arrangement, complete with female backing vocals.

Combined with the material from Cry of Love, this release is pretty darn stellar and solid throughout. As I always say, the official releases are the right starting points, but any sane person will want more, and this is highly recommended/