What Jimi Hendrix’s new album (Both Sides Of The Sky) sounds like

March 9, 2018

One of the upsides to not being alive through the 60s & 70s is not having to wait for the music to be released. It’s all there. The Beatles, Rolling Stones ect, with less than two clicks of a button or by simply asking a small robot to play it (this really is the future).

Au contraire, 60s guitar god Jimi Hendrix has continuously been releasing new recordings since his death in 1970. During 1968-1970, Hendrix recorded a melange of songs that never made it onto his albums. So, Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings teamed up to release a trilogy series of Jimi’s unreleased archive.

Both Sides Of The Sky is the third and final record to be released after Valleys of Neptune and People, Hell and Angels. The previous releases both did quite well on the charts and stayed true to the Hendrix sound. It’s no surprise really when the whole trilogy was co-produced by John McDermott, Janie Hendrix and Jimi’s lifetime producer Eddie Kramer.

Both Sides Of The Sky begins with a cover of Muddy Water’s ‘Mannish Boy’. Hendrix’s signature heavy blues guitar and electric vocals dominate and give a lot of promise for the rest of the album. Not all tracks have been unreleased. There were various versions of Hendrix’s original ‘Lover Man’. Jimi was a perfectionist and often did several takes. Both Sides Of The Sky’s version is from 1969 and was chosen for being as close to the finished article as possible. It’s certainly enthralling and features Jimi’s homage to the Batman Theme- a nod to his more playful side.

Along with being playful, Jimi was known for being experimental with his instruments. The bluesy instrumental ‘Jungle’ shows his more formal playing while ‘Cherokee Mist’  is a track of discovery, sitars and guitars sounding like a builder’s toolbox.

One of the buried treasures on the record is the stripped back, grunge-esque ‘Send My Love To Linda’. I almost forget that these tracks were recorded in the ’60s which is astounding and proves that Jimi was really ahead of his time.

Other musicians feature on the album such as Stephen Stills, Mitch Mitchell, Johnny Winter, Dallas Taylor, Noel Redding, Duane Hitchings, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Stephen Stills contributed and provided the vocals for ‘Woodstock’ and ‘$20 Fine’. Dallas Taylor (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) gets old school on ‘Things I Used To Do’ and the track is presented for the first time in full and newly mixed by Eddie Kramer. Jimi was also reunited with his old, pre-fame bandmate Lonnie Youngblood on ‘Georgia Blues’.

There’s not a single bad track on the album. Although most of them don’t compare to his iconic releases, Jimi’s archive or unused tracks are better than most current band’s best. Although it may be decades after we said goodbye to Jimi Hendrix, Both Sides Of The Sky gave us a taste of what it was like to wait for a Hendrix release. And boy, was it worth the wait.


This post originally appeared on The Carouser, a magazine about 60s rock.

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