Thursday, December 13, 2012

Classic Album Review: "Electric Ladyland" by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix.

The godfather of it all. Call this a slight tribute to the man who changed everything, and who's got a new record coming out next year, his third posthumous release under the Experience Hendrix label.

I love Jimi Hendrix, but I never had much in the way of his studio albums. I mean, who doesn't have "Are You Experienced?," but I never had this one or "Axis: Bold As Love." This is something that I'm working on fixing as we speak. I've had several live albums, some greatest hits collections, but there's something special about hearing the music as the artist intended on the original albums and Jimi was definitely an artist. He was a true genius and a true believer in what he sang about. This album was the last of the Experience, and the last studio release of Hendrix's life. It was, in more ways than one, the beginning of the end and a perfect swansong.

During the recording of this album, cracks in the Experience began to surface and at this point, Jimi began working with other musicians on tour and in the studio, but this album gives a final glimpse into their genius, their madness, and their beauty.

This double album, though released on a single CD, shows the heights to which Jimi could soar and the depths of his expression. Aside from just being a guitar slinger, and the best of his generation by far, he was a songwriter and a poet who believed in love above all else. On some of his earlier works, that thinking didn't permeate like it did on this record.

I could wax nostalgic at how beautiful this record is for days. How it has nooks and crannies in the music that are still waiting to be discovered. For lack of a better term, this album is psychedelic, but one doesn't need to be in an altered state of consciousness to hear what Jimi is saying. For 76 minutes of your life, they will take you on a journey to somewhere you've never been. To voodoo, to the valleys of the sea, and to heaven and into Jimi's love.

This album features wonderful musicianship, as one would expect, and spectacularly poetic lyrics. Aside from what Jimi and friends could do, there are also some wonderful studio tricks used on this album. On some tracks the guitar will swirl around the speakers. When these songs play, my daughter swivels her head in the car to find the source of the sound. Jimi's avant garde playing and songwriting doesn't stop at what he can do with the music, but in how he recorded the music.  Eddie Kramer was able to take what Jimi heard in his head and turn it into reality.

There is even a song sung by Noel Redding, "Little Miss Strange," on side two, after Jimi's opus "Voodoo Chile," not to be confused with "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" which closes out side four. Some of Jimi's most revered songs are on this album, the aforementioned Voodoo Children, "All Along The Watchtower," and "Gypsy Eyes." As I'm trying to write this, riffs dripping with wah wah and univibe are seeping into my mind and I'm losing focus. I'm also a little upset that I took it out of my car the other night.

As it is, this album is a masterwork of songwriting, of production, and of playing. It is simply spectacular in every way. The songs really skirt many shades of reality. From epics to psychedelic instrumentals, and some sappy pop, this album really swims in all of the oceans of music. Needless to say, buy this album if you haven't already.

Genre: Rock
Year: 1968
Run Time: 75:47
Playlists: Rock, Arena Rock, Mellowship of the Ring


1) ...And The Gods Made Love
2) Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
3) Crosstown Traffic
4) Voodoo Chile
5) Little Miss Strange
6) Long Hot Summer Night
7) Come On (Part 1)
8) Gypsy Eyes
9) Burning The Midnight Lamp
10) Rainy Day, Dream Away
11) 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
12) Moon, Turn The Tides...gently gently away
13) Still Raining, Still Dreaming
14) House Burning Down
15) All Along The Watchtower
16) Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Normally, I'd post a single video, but as Jimi is the god that birthed a hundred million guitarists, he gets two.

1 comment:

  1. Always a good time for Jimi, thanks for sharing this, Nik