In 1966 Jimi Hendrix
was brought over to England under the management of ex-Animals bassist Chas
Chandler. Within months he had changed the landscape of rock music forever
and the role of the electric guitar within it.
With Jimi Hendrix anything was possible
and over the following two years he had hit singles and two hit albums as
well as performing and starring at all the major festivals of the time,
including Monterey, the Isle of Wight and Woodstock. Gobal domination had
occurred with Jimi Hendrix and his Experience sweeping all before them and
rising to be the highest paid band in the world.
In 1968 Hendrix released the double
album “Electric Ladyland” on which he not only performed all the lead guitar
work and vocals, but also produced the record. Along the way, in the party
atmosphere of the studio, various artists came in and contributed to the
music including members, of Traffic, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane
and the elite of New York’s session players. Hendrix also adapted or wrote
all the songs on the album apart from the rather ill advised contribution of
“Little Miss Strange” from Noel Redding.
“Electric Ladyland” charted at number
one in the American Billboard charts as well as going double platinum. It
also had a massive hit single in his definitive and searing version of Bob
Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” (Dylan stills plays the Hendrix
arrangement in his live set today). The double LP was a psychedelic epic
with many of the songs jammed out in the studio. In 1968 if you did not dig
“Electric Ladyland” you were labeled hopelessly ‘square’.
performs at the Isle of Wight festival in England. (AP Photo)
The album starts out with two spacey
soundscapes before Hendrix shows off his Rock’n’Roll hand by driving into
“Crosstown Traffic”. Next up is the album’s central track, a fifteen minute
jam of “Voodoo Chile” and whilst Hendrix’s amazing guitar licks are
certainly the central theme running through the glorious sounds, Steve
Winwood’s Hammond organ gives the master a fair run for his money. At the
end of this you can hear the musicians spontaneously applaud and
congratulate each other, a moment of pure joy.
Noel Redding’s contribution is easy to
skip over but from here on there is plenty to marvel at as Hendrix’s guitar
playing and arrangements leave you gasping at the audacity of it all. The
ethereal “And The Gods Made Love”, “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” and
“Moon Turn The Tides..... Gently Gently Away” can only hint at the
unfathomable profundity of Hendrix’s musical imagination. The revolutionary
adaption of stereo, echo and overdub techniques enhances his sky church
visions. It is also notable that Hendrix’s vocals have improved almost
beyond recognition from his earlier material, giving extra texture to the
What a tragedy it was then that this
was to be Hendrix’s last studio album released in his lifetime, as by
November 1970 he was taken from us at the age of 27. Of course, whilst alive
he was extremely prolific and recorded almost everything he put down, so
there have been hundreds of albums released under the Jimi Hendrix banner
since 1970, but nothing matches the splendor of “Electric Ladyland”.
After his death, “Voodoo Chile (Slight
Return)” was released as a single and topped the charts all over the world,
becoming his biggest ever selling single and probably his most covered song
by other artists on the live stage.
Put on “Electric Ladyland” and let your
ears ring to the dazzling Jimmy Hendrix Experience.
Rating: 5 Stars.
And The Gods Made Love
Have You Ever Been (To Electric
little Miss Strange
Long Hot Summer
Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)
Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
Rainy Day Dream Away
1983 ( A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
Moon Turn The Tides… Gently Gently
Still Raining, Still Dreaming
House Burning Down
All Along The Watchtower
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience:
Jimi Hendrix - guitar and vocals
Noel Redding - bass guitar
Mitch Mitchel - drums
Written in wonder by Mott The Dog at Fletchers’ Folly on Pattaya’s Dark