Sony Legacy 88697 64059 1
Evaluated by Claude Lemaire
Averaged Rating: 7.5/ A
Rating: 5.0 - 9.5/ C - A+
Category: Blues Rock / Rhythm & Blues / Funky Acid Rock
Format: Vinyl (2 x 180g at 33 1/3 rpm)
- Jimi Hendrix – vocals, guitars, production on all tracks except 5
- Mitch Mitchell – drums on all tracks except 3
- Noel Redding – bass on all tracks except 1, 2 and 3, backing vocals on track 9
- Billy Cox – bass on tracks 1, 2 and 3
- Additional musicians
- Rocki Dzidzornu – percussion on tracks 6 and 12
- Roger Chapman – backing vocals on track 1
- Andy Fairweather Low – backing vocals on track 1
- Juma Sultan – percussion on track 2
- Rocky Isaac – drums on track 3
- Chris Grimes – tambourine on track 3
- Al Marks – maracas on track 3
Original production personnel
- Eddie Kramer – production, mixing, engineering on tracks 1, 2, 5 (and 14 - CD only)
- Chas Chandler – production on track 5
- George Chkiantz – engineering on tracks 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 (and 13 - CD only)
- Gary Kellgren – engineering on tracks 1, 3 and 8
- Jack Adams – engineering on track 2
- Posthumous production personnel
- Produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer & John McDermott for Experience Hendrix L.L.C.
- Engineered by Eddie Kramer
- Assistant Engineering by Chandler Harrod
- Second Engineers: Rick Kwan, Derik Leering, Charlie Stavish and Aaron Walk
- Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound, New York
Any music collector worth his or her salt knows the huge amount of Hendrix material one can find at your favorite record shop but the irony of it all is that the vast majority of them are bootlegs of live shows and lesser outtakes in rather poor sound. The sad reality is that the guitar 'wizard' released four albums during is lifetime, only one of which was a live date. But to assume that he was studio shy, nothing would be farther than the truth. On the contrary Hendrix was extremely prolific as a creator in front of the mike as well as behind the glass.
|Hendrix and Buddy Miles sharing a good time|
Extrapolating, it is now easier to justify the 'musical heritage' link sometimes associated with Prince - post Purple Rain [Warner Bros] era that is - regarding the real King's successor, thanks in no small part to Valleys of Neptune. Indeed both singer/guitar player/composer/performer protagonists never did embrace the status quo, preferring instead to explore new boundaries and along the way reinvent themselves.
|The Purple Prince|
Under the supervision of original recording/mixing engineer Eddie Kramer assisted by mastering/cutting engineer George Marino at Sterling Sound and thanks to Experience Hendrix L.L.C. headed by Janie Hendrix, we can now get a glimpse into the future-past with a level of sound quality that will surprise many.
"Bleeding Heart" — an Elmore James original — starts out with a blues guitar intro that leads into a fast pace R&B cover. The sound while still quite good is a bit too soft in the highs leading to a lack of detail and slight compression of dynamics in the top end.
Side B takes it down a notch with "Hear My Train a Comin'", a heavier blues rock not that far apart of what The Doors presented at times; even some double kick drum recalls Led Zep in their earliest years. The coda plays out with a raucous ending. This track has more top end cymbal than the previous one, snare drum conveys lots of snap while kick shows great articulation producing superior dynamic range for a rock recording. Lacks just a bit of bottom end but a good mix altogether. Once again engineer Eddie Kramer knew what he was doing.
Side C introduces a heavier blues rock with the piece "Lover Man". The sound is more compressed, guitar a bit loud and aggressive, cymbals are dirtier, making it one of the two worse sounding tracks of the album, though still musically satisfying.
Just like the prior track, "Red House" could be found in earlier form on Are you Experienced; a slow twelve-bar blues instrumental at first with the guitar up front. The bass, kick and snare drum are dry and lack harmonics lending hardness to the sound. The level seems cut louder and the sound is surprisingly and unfortunately on the cold side, quite strange given the general warmth up to this point. This provoked some unwanted listener fatigue. Also some 'high frequency screaching' type distortion can be heard on the left channel, this obviously not in any way an artistic effect. Overall this is the worse sounding track. Too bad for it remains an interesting song.
Postscript: Winner of Enjoy The Music.com's Blue Note Award