By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Disc 3 contains consummate live renditions of “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Red House,” all examples of Jimi’s roots in and mastery of the blues. Like the alien in “Third Stone,” blues comes from the African-American experience as strangers in a strange land and the desperate need to survive by escaping the attendant shit and misery. The Hendrix obsession with flying saucers is a late-20th-century update of the blues — interstellar flight by a hounded man eluding his earthly captors. After his commercial success, Jimi was surrounded by cash masters claiming ownership; he was sapped the last two years of his life by legal hassles and management demands. Even after he flew this planet, his archives were cannibalized with the release of substandard product featuring posthumously overdubbed musicians, a problem rectified once the Hendrix family won control of his catalog.
But capitalism is the archenemy of the artist, and the burnt-out Hendrix’s output in his last two years, as chronicled on Disc 4, was by his previous standards lackluster and self-derivative (while still extraordinary by anyone else’s). He never completed First Rays of the New Rising Sun, his first studio album after Electric Ladyland, and his songwriting was not on par with his first three albums. He died on September 18, 1970, of an accidental overdose of booze and sleeping pills, never to hear surf music again.
If you’re going to throw cash around, put off the laser hair removal till next year and do yourself a favor. This box set is a feast — delicious, nutritious, satiating, inspiring. The Hendrix estate has also released three “bootlegs” that can be purchased at www.jimi-hendrix.com or by phoning (888) EXP-JIMI. Morning Symphony Ideas is an excellent starter containing further examples of the artist sketching unfinished work, including a very cool solo 12-string acoustic instrumental recorded in Jimi’s apartment.
Jimi Hendrix drew a line in the sand and dared future generations to create their own renaissance. It takes a visionary to turn one’s most far-out dreams into art. And very few dreamed like Jimi Hendrix.JIMI HENDRIX | The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Experience Hendrix/MCA) Morning Symphony Ideas (Dagger) Live at Clark University (Dagger) Live at the Oakland Coliseum (Dagger)