Arts & Entertainment, Music

CD REVIEWS: Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune

Where would Jimi Hendrix fit into today’s music scene? Seasoned but pushing into the mainstream like Eric Clapton? Playing Super Bowl halftime shows like Pete Townsend and The Who? The release of Valleys of Neptune, a posthumous follow up to 1968’s Electric Ladyland, may convince you that Hendrix was simply too much of a psychedelic, blues-thumping, break-through-the-boundaries-of-your-brain invention to ever escape the “27 Club.” “Fire” and “Red House” offer avid fans the chance to experience a fresh Hendrix take on the classics and revisit the rhythm section of Noel Redding (bass) and Mitch Mitchell (drums). The “king of slide guitar” Elmore James would be proud of the Hendrix interpretation of “Bleeding Heart,” which peaks with the lone hollers of a “sold my soul to the devil” guitar solo that Hendrix fans have grown to expect. Producers have also uncovered a lively rendition of “Lover Man,” a raw, acid-rock jaunt that is among the never-before-released studio tracks, despite having held its own during the Hendrix live performance heyday. The title track, however, is the album’s crown jewel. “Valleys of Neptune” has the insightful songwriting, soul-soothing guitar riffs, and virtuosic playing that seats Hendrix on his throne in the mythologies of music history. You probably shouldn’t buy the hypotheticals on what Jimi Hendrix would have become, but Valleys of Neptune is one album worth getting your hands on.

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