Axis: Bold As Love

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

MCA, 1967

http://www.jimihendrix.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/28/2005

While Are You Experienced? is one of the best debuts of any band, and Electric Ladyland is a defining musical statement, Jimi's sophomore album is often overlooked in lieu of its more powerful counterparts.

That doesn't make it a bad album by any means. In fact, the songs here are shorter and more accessible than those on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ladyland but have the advantage of not being overplayed like those on Experienced. Like the debut, this showcases the strong musical interplay between the trio, instead of being just the Jimi Show like Ladyland was wont to be.

The only psychedelic freak-out on here is "If 6 Was 9," which according to legend had to have its original master tape ironed out after it was nearly destroyed, hence the hiss in the background. The song gets into odd wailing at the end but is a good period piece otherwise, with some counterculture lyrics thrown in for good measure.

Jimi writes one of his best songs here in the slower "Little Wing," turns on the funk for "Up From the Skies" and rocks out on "Ain't No Telling" and "Spanish Castle Magic." "Castles Made Of Sand" shows Jimi's expanding talent, as does the toe-tapping "You Got Me Floating" and the solid "Wait Until Tomorrow."

Bassist Noel Redding gets to sing on "She's So Fine," with good hippie lyrics and an above-average drum performance from Mitch Mitchell. Sadly, the final songs don't match the quality of the others -- "Bold as Love" goes on too long and "One Rainy Wish" is another slow number that is forgettable, although "Little Miss Lover" is rather funky, updating the Little Richard sound that Hendrix was so familiar with.

The only true dud here is the opener "EXP," which is nothing but feedback and a bizarre spoken "interview" between Noel and Jimi about UFOs. The rest of this ranks as some of Jimi's best work and deserves to be heard to fully understand the creative genius and songwriting abilities of perhaps the greatest guitar player to ever grace the Earth.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A


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