The Cry Of Love

Jimi Hendrix

Reprise, 1971

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Though Jimi Hendrix died September 18, 1970, he had been in the studio recording tracks for his next album until about a month before his passing.

Very few artists left behind as much material as Hendrix did. He was a perfectionist and recorded multiple takes of many of his songs. He also tended to write and develop material while he was recording, which meant that there would be tracks of the same song that sounded very different from each other. There was also a treasure-trove of live material that had been recorded over the years. In fact, some of Hendrix’s  live material and concerts are still being discovered.

The Cry Of Love was issued March 5, 1971 and was the first album to be released after his death. Some of the songs may have an unfinished feel, but there were also some that were polished and rank with the best of his career. These tracks, except for one, find Hendrix recording with former Experience drummer, Mitch Mitchell, and Band Of Gypsy’s bassist, Billy Cox. Mitchell and Eddie Kramer handled the production of the album. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Cry Of Love can only give us an incomplete picture of Hendrix’s mind and the musical direction he was travelling at the time. The ten songs that Mitchell and Kramer chose for the album find Hendrix still experimenting and pushing the limits of his guitar sound to places that had never been traveled, but it also finds a new sophistication in his lyrics, plus some structure to his underlying melodies.

The ballads, “Drifting” and “Angel,” are probably the strongest tracks offered on this disc. “Drifting” contains some of the most sophisticated lyrics Hendrix ever wrote. There is a poetic quality to them, painting a poignant picture with words. “Angel” features some subtle, slow guitar playing that is far from the frenetic style for which he was famous.

“Ezy Rider” and “Up From The Storm” are classic Hendrix rockers. “Ezy Ryder” appeared in a number of incarnations over the years and it gives a good look into the various stages of Hendrix’s creative process. “Freedom” combines guitar virtuosity and a melodic structure, while “My Friend” was recorded at the Electric Ladyland sessions in 1968 and provides a good counterpoint to the other material contained on the album. “Belly Button Window” was recorded August 22, 1970 and is probably the last studio track that Hendrix ever produced.

This album was a huge seller and reached number three on the national music charts. It may not have been Hendrix’s best release, but it is still very good and has the historical value of providing some of the last material that he put on tape. All in all, The Cry Of Love is an essential part of the Jimi Hendrix musical legacy.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2010 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.