The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Experience Hendrix, 2000

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set is not for the faint of heart. This four-disc set of unreleased tracks, alternate versions of well-known songs, and rare concert footage may be a cornerstone of any Hendrix collection, but is no place to start if you are not familiar with his work. I would recommend his first three studio albums for any type of Hendrix indoctrination. This set, however, is a good place to complete your collection, or at least a way to explore his legacy a little deeper.

Engineer Eddie Kramer was in charge of the project of assembling this collection. He is a familiar figure, as his posthumous Hendrix production credits go back to The Cry Of Love in 1971. The tracks sound crystal-clear and polished, having been given re-masters with modern equipment and technology. He also presents the tracks in chronological order, which is always welcome with projects this extensive.

Disc one finds three unreleased tracks: “Title #3,” “Taking Care Of Business,” and “Here He Comes” may not be of the quality of Hendrix’s first album material, but they certainly present his musical vision circa 1967. The gems on this first disc are alternate versions of such classics as “Purple Haze,” “Foxey Lady,” and “Third Stone From The Sun,” which give a glimpse into the creative mind of a musical genius. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Disc two presents some excellent live tracks. “Fire” is taken from a 1968 concert at Clark University in Massachusetts. It is a frenetic version that shows just how technically sound Hendrix was as a guitarist. “The Wind Cries Mary,” from a 1967 Paris concert, presents Hendrix’s softer side, featuring him providing subtle and melodic improvisations. “Burning The Midnight Lamp” from September 5, 1967, features just Hendrix squeezing every possible sound from his guitar.

Disc three is dominated by alternate versions. It is nice to hear “Hear My Train A Comin’” as a formative track, since it was a concert staple. “Spanish Castle” and “Room Full Of Mirrors” show subtle differences from the classic versions. Live takes of “Little Wing” and “Voodoo Child” come complete with feedback and all sorts of distortion, which only Hendrix could produce onstage.

Disc four is a feast of unreleased material. “Country Blues,” clocking in at over eight minutes, “Lover Man,” “Cherokee,” and “Slow Blues” all make their debuts here. Hendrix’s early producer, Chas Chandler, did not approve of Alan Douglas’s changing of Hendrix’s material, even taking writing credits during the twenty years he controlled his catalogue of music. When Jimi’s family won back control in a court battle, Chandler turned over a treasure trove of unreleased material to them. “In From The Storm” and “Slow Blues” close out the set; both were recorded at the Isle Of Wight Music Festival, August 30, 1970, immediately prior to Hendrix’s death.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set is a valuable addition to the Hendrix legacy. Not only does it expand upon the music which Hendrix left behind, but it also solidifies him as a genius of the guitar who forever changed the sound of rock music.

Rating: A-

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