Re-experience Jimi Hendrix

"New" CD, revamped Catalogue to be Released in March

Jimi Hendrix is releasing a new CD -- forty years after his death. "Valleys of Neptune," a 12-cut album recorded in 1969, features the Jimi Hendrix Experience's final recordings along with Hendrix's early sessions with Army buddy bassist Billy Cox.

"Valleys of Neptune" includes revamps of Hendrix standards such as "Red House," "Fire," and "Stone Free," plus "Mr. Bad Luck," recorded during the "Axis Bold as Love" sessions. Hendrix also covers Elmore James' "Bleeding Heart" and Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love."

Following the profitable path blazed by the recent reissue of The Beatles catalogue, Legacy Recordings will release CD/DVD packages of "Are You Experienced?" "Axis Bold as Love," "Electric Ladyland" and "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" on March 9. The DVDs include a documentary about the making of each album produced by "Beatles Anthology" director Bob Smeaton with interviews with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding of the Experience, plus additional comments by Billy Cox, engineer Eddie Kramer and manager/producer Chas Chandler.

My initial reaction to the news was "Jeez, the dude only released four albums during his lifetime. They've put out 160 since his death. Haven't they picked Jimi's corpse clean by now? Should I invest in his catalogue for a third time?" On the plus side, Legacy is smart enough to throw in enough extras that make the upgrade worthwhile, and tweaking the sound with the latest technology is bound to make Jimi's phenomenal feedback sound more God-like. Being partial to singers rather than a Stratocaster turned up to 11, my favorite Hendrix tunes are the more melodic, introspective ones such as "Angel," "Drifting," "One Rainy Wish," "May This Be Love," and "Castles in the Sand." The upgrade is bound to uncover even more psychedelic subtleties to savor.

I listened to "If 6 was 9" on a pair of top of the line headphones back in the days when I indulged in non over the counter drugs. With Traffic's Chris Wood twittering on the flute in one ear and Jimi's cascading guitar in another, I was pole axed when Hendrix walked through the center of the phones declaring, "I'll know when it's time for me to die." For that brief moment, life, death and the meaning of the universe all converged in the headphones and made sense. I'm looking forward to reliving that feeling when I re-experience Jimi Hendrix.



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