Hendrix wows yet again, with another posthumous release from his seemingly endless vault of yet to be released music and performances.
By Patrick Jude
When it comes to posthumous album releases a few names come to mind. Tupac Shakur and Bob Marley have had numerous releases after their untimely deaths, and Prince’s people have begun digging through what has been described as an endless vault. None, however, boast the insane amount of releases that the legendary Jimi Hendrix pumps out seemingly every other year. Most of the albums are comprised of live cuts of classics, or alternative takes of old favorites. The new album, Both Sides of The Sky, is a little different though since almost all of the tracks are entirely new.
Much like 2014’s Valley of Neptunes, Both Sides of The Sky was prefaced with massive critical acclaim – and for good reason. The cool thing about Jimi’s late releases is that fact that he was in his prime, a state which he never left. The most notable track, “Lover Man”, sounds like it could have been a hit off any of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s three albums. The sound is wild, untamed, it’s that exact same whirlwind of sound that had stiff “Blues / Rock” guitarists like Jimmy Page worried when Hendrix burst onto the scene.
As any Hendrix fan knows, Jimi was a huge fan of covers. All Along The Watchtower and Hey Joe were two of his favorite covers to perform. Both Sides of The Sky stays true to this with a few takes on classic songs like “The Things I Used To Do”, which Stevie Ray Vaughn also covered, and a show stopping take on Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”. Hendrix wows guitarists again in this track with an effect that is some sort of combo between a rotary, and his famous Wah effect pedal.
Of course Both Sides of The Sky does feature some freshened up classics, and the new version of “Hear My Train A Comin’ (Electric)” is arguably the best rendition yet. It’s slow. It’s sludgy. Hendrix’s guitar is fuzzed out to the max, and certainly seems like a sort of pre-cursor to the style of guitar that was eventually played by Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.
I won’t lie, I thought the Valleys of Neptune cover art was a bit goofy. I could have never seen it as a cover Jimi himself would have chosen. The artwork for Both Sides of The Sky makes up entirely for its predecessors though. A haunting image of a time-locked Hendrix, and a simple backdrop of luscious swirling emeralds, and dark blues, proves that plain can be cool.
I can safely say without the slightest hesitation that any Hendrix fan, and possibly even the man himself, will be more than happy with the incredible new collection from a musician who loved being in a studio more than being in life itself.
Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan