Various artists Power Of Soul
When it comes to albums honouring Seattle's original six string slinger, it's rough waters. In my book it's tough to top The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays The Music Of Jimi Hendrix from 1974. But in 2004 a contender was glimpsed on the horizon then quickly fell from view.
Now reissued seven years later Power Of Soul is as dynamic, eccentric and colourful as Hendrix himself.
A very aggressive Carlos Santana tears through "Spanish Castle Magic" alongside Living Color vocalist Corey Glover and a powerhouse rhythm section of Stanley Clarke and Tony Williams. Sting's rendition of "Wind Cries Mary" showcases John McLaughlin's incredible guitar work no doubt inspired by actual jam sessions with Hendrix that McLaughlin participated in years ago that unfortunately remain unreleased.
The new guard is present as well, Musiq Soulchild performs a great "Are You Experienced?" and Cee-Lo Green contributes a fun and loose "Foxey Lady".
The disc closes with a previously unreleased live medley of "Little Wing" and "Third Stone From The Sun" by Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded in Philadelphia in 1983. Ending with this incredible tour-de-force it's hard not to think that both guitarists were taken from us far too soon but are now jamming together up there somewhere.
At least I like to think that they are, I get sappy like that sometimes.
Robert Lawson 2011
Since Jimi's untimely death in 1970 there has been a steady stream of releases to keep fans (and discographers) busy. Alot of the early stuff was a waste of time and did a disservice to his legacy (I've never been too happy with any of the versions of Woodstock that have been released for example) but over the last few years there have been some tremendous improvements in the way the guitarist's work is being preserved and presented.
The latest collection of previously unreleased material Valleys Of Neptune brings together material recorded for the most part in 1969. As with previous vault clearing efforts First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, South Saturn Delta (both 1997) and the incredible four disc Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000) boxed set, the new album shows just how detailed and creative Hendrix could be in the studio. Luckily it seems like he ran tape constantly in his search for pure gold.
The title track is a great example of this. Although put together from at least two different takes, the edits are seamless allowing the listener to concentrate on the fantastic playing. (The essential all instrumental album Hear My Music has two different solo demos of this tune if you want to really dig into the creation of the piece.)
There's been a few live versions of "Hear My Train A Comin" released over the years (the performance from the May 30 1970 Berkeley early show found on the album Blues is a strong example) so its a real treat to hear the studio version performed by the Experience released here.
The cover of "Sunshine Of Your Love" features fuzzy bass playing holding the bottom down while Jimi roars over the proceedings.
Looks like Jimi's legacy is in ok hands after all.
Now about those Woodstock releases.....
Robert Lawson 2010