Let me first say that I really enjoy listening to this CD. It IS good stuff but the major problem I found was the major false advertising on the part of Experience Hendrix and Sony Legacy. They put a big sticker right on the front of the packaging that says “Over 60 Minutes Of Unheard Jimi Hendrix” when that’s far from the truth.

Jimi Hendrix Valleys Of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix Valleys Of Neptune

What you *actually* get is 1 new track and 2 new instrumental tracks for a total of 3 tracks that are truly *new.* The other 11 tracks are songs that have appeared on other Hendrix releases in the form of different versions. Technically you could say that “Crying Blue Rain” is a new song because Jimi says “Yeah” a handful of times on the song but besides that one word, there are no lyrics.

The Target version of the CD has two bonus tracks, which I’m including in this review, which also are available on other Experience Hendrix releases.

Astonishingly, Experience Hendrix and Sony Legacy took the liberty of actually re-titling some of the songs just to make them appear *new* but anyone who knows many Hendrix tunes will pick up on these.

Below I’ve listed the track list with two sets of parentheses. The first set of parentheses tells if the song is an alternate version of a released song as well as clarifies if it was re-tilted and which song it actually is. The second set of parentheses tells which Hendrix album the song appeared on.

  1. Stone Free (Alternate Version)(Are You Experienced?)
  2. Valleys Of Neptune (New Song)
  3. Bleeding Heart (Alternate Version)(South Saturn Delta & Blues)
  4. Hear My Train A Comin’ (Alternate Version)(Blues)
  5. Mr. Bad Luck (Alternate Version Of Look Over Yonder Just Re-titled)(South Saturn Delta)
  6. Sunshine Of Your Love (New Instrumental)
  7. Lover Man (Alternate Version)(South Saturn Delta)
  8. Ships Passing In The Night (Alternate Version Of Night Bird Flying Just Re-titled)(First Rays Of The New Rising Sun)
  9. Fire (Alternate Version)(Are You Experienced?)
  10. Red House (Alternate Version)(Blues)
  11. Lullaby For Summer (Alternate Instrumental Version Of Ezy Ryder Just Re-titled)(First Rays Of The New Rising Sun)
  12. Crying Blue Rain (New Instrumental)
  13. Slow Version (Exact Version On Hear My Music From Experience Hendrix/Dagger Records)
  14. Trash Man (Exact Version On Hear My Music From Experience Hendrix/Dagger Records)

Now, I can hear the die hards already saying “This is new Hendrix man, these are studio recordings.” I agree with that to an extent. However, regardless if this is “Jimi” stuff or not, false advertising is false advertising.

When you buy “Over 60 Minutes Of Unheard Jimi Hendrix” music, and you’ve *heard* 11 of the 14 songs on various other Hendrix albums, that’s an issue. Experience Hendrix knows much better than doing what they’ve done with this “new” album.  This was demonstrated by their release of the albums South Saturn Delta and First Rays Of The New Rising Sun which really DID include new tracks.

It appeared when they released South Saturn Delta and First Rays Of The New Rising Sun that they were attempting to clean up the scattering of releases that chopped up all of Jimi’s work after his passing which I applaud.

Instead of being billed as a new *album*, Valleys Of Neptune should have been accurately billed as *studio sessions & alternate takes* with a couple of bonus tracks to account for the 2-3 new songs. Another accurate way to think of this disc is as if it were one of the discs from the 4 disc, Jimi Hendrix Experience Boxed set which had alternate versions of songs with a couple of new tracks sprinkled on each disc.

Again, I do love this CD. I am keeping it and playing the heck out of it…this is great music and is a great disc.  I do recommend buying Valleys Of Neptune as the sound quality kicks ass and there are a few gems included.

Hopefully Experience Hendrix has a quality control team that reads market reactions such as this review and will take this information to heart and properly advertise their releases from now on and hopefully we’ll get a real album of new material because it does exist.

Now for a song by song review of the entire album…

  1. Stone Free – A bit of a slowed down version of Stone Free.  While I think the original is better, this song certainly still rocks.  Jimi’s guitar solo sears and works perfectly with the pinging drums.
  2. Valleys Of Neptune – Valleys Of Neptune is an excellent sounding track that just lacked Jimi’s addition of his lead guitar licks.  Truly cool to hear a new song in studio form.  Jimi’s guitar is forceful and guides the song well.  The bass guitar present keeps the song on cue.  Jimi’s vocals ride his guitar playing.  The drums sound excellent and crisp.  The spaces left for Jimi to add his signature guitar licks are extremely obvious but the song is still great.  The spaces in the song surprisingly don’t seem to leave the track bare.
  3. Bleeding Heart – Certainly one of the best songs on the album.  Sure, it’s been released before but the quality on this version is absolutely incredible.  Jimi’s guitar riff is incredible and sets the tone for a great track.  Jimi is really into the vocals and this emotion shines.  The song is fast paced and bluesy.  The song is about being left alone.  Jimi’s solo work is gritty and loud.  There are several breaks that allow Jimi’s vocals to stand alone and his guitar work to stand alone which makes the track more interesting.
  4. Hear My Train A Comin’ – One of Jimi’s bluesiest songs.  A swaying blues guitar riff.  Jimi digs into his gut for the vocals for this track.  A song about catching your train to start over anew or to be a “voodoo chile” or a “magic boy.”  The drums are powerful and extremely clear.  Jimi hums and sings with his guitar licks which shows his connection the song.  There is feedback in certain parts of the song which compliment the feel of the track.  The end of the song slows down dramatically and fades out with Jimi whispering and then a sudden crashing end.  It’s great to hear this song as a studio cut but the live version on Blues is longer and the quality is also superb.  I feel that the live version on Blues is better.
  5. Mr. Bad Luck – The song that would eventually become Look Over Yonder.  In reality, it’s not too much different.  Singing guitar work is the star of the song.  Jimi’s vocals are excellent.  While the song is short, it fits in perfect with the album.  The drums work well and the baseline is structured and clear.
  6. Sunshine Of Your Love – Sunshine Of Your Love is of course a Cream cover which is excellent to hear in studio quality.  Jimi’s signature guitar sound is vivid.  Noel Redding provides fuzzy bass which compliments Jimi’s guitar work perfectly.  Mitch Mitchell uses the symbol well to inject more life into the overall track.  An instrumental cover.  Jimi plays muted strings which combined with Noel Redding baseline, creates a very unique sound.
  7. Lover Man – Consistent guitar work throughout the song.  Excellent drum variety by Mitch Mitchel make the song more diverse.  Jimi’s vocals have a hint of blues and are strong.
  8. Ships Passing In The Night – Dirty guitar work mixed with Jimi’s signature sound work well here.  This song is a bit slower than most others but maintains a consistent flow throughout.  Jimi’s guitar solo is screaming, yet mellow at the same time.  Jimi’s vocals are relaxed and have hints of R&B style.  The song ends with multiple breaks, Jimi’s guitar solo work and an eventual fading out via one of Jimi’s guitar licks.
  9. Fire – This version is no where near as good as the original but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s bad.  After all, it is Fire, right?  The definite difference in this version of the song is Mitch Mitchell’s drums.  Noel Redding contributes great backing vocals.  Jimi’s solo is a shredding affair.
  10. Red House – A blues ridden jam that clocks in at more than double the time of the version that appears on the Blues album.  Jimi’s vocals carry well and are crisp and clear.  The guitar work is loaded with Jimi’s finger rolls and sways audibly.  Mitch Mitchel provides drums which move from slow, carrying rhythm to machine gun type fills.  Noel Redding provides steady bass throughout to keep the song cohesive and the provide the stomping ground for Jimi’s guitar to spread out.
  11. Lullaby For Summer – A rockin’ instrumental that would eventually become the song Ezy Ryder.  Wild guitar flares.  The drums make their presence known and keep the song on track.  Noel Redding’s bass in funky and nicely contributes to the song.  The song moves fast and stays consistent throughout.  A nice jam track.
  12. Crying Blue Rain – While Crying Blue Rain is just an instrumental, I absolutely love the track and while there are no lyrics other than Jimi’s “Yeah’s” throughout the song, the “Yeah’s” do add to the liveliness of the track.  The song is very bluesy and Jimi’s guitar and Noel’s bass add to this factor.  It’s clear that Jimi really felt this song as he played it.  Mitch Mitchel provides slow and steady drums.  A little more than halfway through the song, the pace picks up and guitar, bass, and drums are all easily heard.  The song fades out while still moving at a fast pace.
  13. Slow Version – A bonus track only available on the Target edition of the CD which I picked up.  An excellent instrumental rock track.  This track is fuzzy and a real driving song.  Jimi’s guitar is murky and provides a solid rock vibe.  The fuzzy sound of the song makes the bass a little harder to hear.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are in perfect form here.
  14. Trash Man – The second and final bonus track only available on the Target edition of the CD.  Another instrumental rock track.  This is an excellent jam type track that gets the band in the groove.  Jimi’s guitar work portrays strength which is accentuated with the distortion used.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are present but not overbearing.  Noel Redding provides solid bass work.  Jimi’s guitar work goes from blues to loaded with finger rolls and funk. An excellent track which shows variety in Jimi’s guitar work.

I initially gave this album 2 out of 5 starts because of the false advertising on the part of Experience Hendrix regarding this album.  To be fair, I think that I should revise that rating by assigning a separate rating to the advertising/marketing and the music.

The Advertising/Marketing Rating

I have to assign a 1 out of 5 star rating to the advertising marketing based on the fact that only 20% of the music is actually new and the advertising clearly states that it’s all new.

The Music Rating

As for the music itself, there is a lot to love here.  Valleys Of Neptune, Crying Blue Rain, Bleeding Heart, Hear My Train A Comin’, and Sunshine Of Your Love are all gems. Because of this, the album easily gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Final Rating & Conclusion

Averaging the 1 out of 5 star rating for the advertising/marketing with the 5 out of 5 star rating for the music gives us the score of 3 out of 5.  I’m comfortable with that rating.  Don’t think that a 3 star rating means that this CD doesn’t rock because it does.  I love this CD and am certainly glad that it came out versus nothing coming out.  If you aren’t a die hard that knows all of Jimi’s songs and can easily spot tracks that have been previously released, the advertising/marketing will probably make no difference to you.

Both the avid Jimi fan and the casual Jimi observer will enjoy this album and I do recommend picking it up.

3 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

If you would like to grab a copy of Valleys Of Neptune, you can get a copy at Amazon. If you order through the link below, they kick me back a few cents…

Until the next review,

Chris Elliott Signature

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6 Comments on Jimi Hendrix – Valleys Of Neptune Review

  1. […] Valleys Of Neptune – Valleys Of Neptune is an excellent sounding track that just lacked Jimi’s addition of his lead guitar licks. Truly cool to hear a new song in studio form. Jimi’s guitar is forceful and guides the song well. The bass guitar present keeps the song on cue. Jimi’s vocals ride his guitar playing. The drums sound excellent and crisp. The spaces left for Jimi to add his signature guitar licks are extremely obvious but the song is still great. The spaces in the song surprisingly don’t seem to leave the track bare. [Excerpted From My Valleys Of Neptune Review] […]

  2. […] Valleys Of Neptune – Valleys Of Neptune is an excellent sounding track that just lacked Jimi’s addition of his lead guitar licks. Truly cool to hear a new song in studio form. Jimi’s guitar is forceful and guides the song well. The bass guitar present keeps the song on cue. Jimi’s vocals ride his guitar playing. The drums sound excellent and crisp. The spaces left for Jimi to add his signature guitar licks are extremely obvious but the song is still great. The spaces in the song surprisingly don’t seem to leave the track bare. [Excerpted From My Valleys Of Neptune Review] […]

  3. FireEater says:

    I appreciate your thorough review. One comment about Red House which is an outstanding version except that it fades out just before the ending. It definitely diminishes the song somewhat since it’s a song that actually has a memorable last line, “I know her sister will,” that is integral to the song’s story. I just found that really odd. I assume that it’s because there was something wrong with the end of the song (either a technical glitch or a musical breakdown) but the otherwise thorough booklet insert makes no mention of it.

  4. russell ramo says:

    I do not really agree with your review in saying that “you’ve heard” these songs. These are all unreleased versions of jimi tunes. And every TRUE jimi fan knows that every time he plays a song he approaches it completely different. It is almost a new song when you hear these versions. Not only that but in these songs, you here EXTREMELY refined guitar playing. If you really LISTEN to hendrix and his guitar playing, then you can HEAR these differences in these songs. Red house on this album is completely different from the original version (not to mention, some of the best guitar playing he has cut). Are these new “songs”? Technically, no. But if you can not hear the differences in his approach to these concepts for songs, OR his achievement of mastery on his instrument, then you need to deeply listen to much more hendrix.

    • Hi Russell,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Of course I disagree with you on the claim of these tracks being “EXTREMELY refined,” which is far from accurate 🙂 Valleys Of Neptune was an unfinished song; Stone Free and Fire were experimental jam sessions of existing songs to get the juices flowing in the studio; Lullaby For The Summer, Crying Blue Rain, Slow Version, and Trash Man were nothing more than instrumental jam tracks. Sunshine Of Your Love is a song that Jimi wouldn’t have released as an instrumental – If it were to be released, Jimi would have added vocals. Listening to this album and comparing it’s level of “refinement” with an album Jimi released reveals how truly unrefined these songs are.

      Not to detract from the music, I love it, but these songs are far from anything that would be considered refined. They are still awesome tracks though. I agree that Bleeding Heart, Hear My Train A Comin’, and Red House are excellent to hear in this quality and are the shining tracks of the release.

      I think you need to reconsider your statement that “every time he plays a song he approaches it completely different.” Sure he added a certain level of originality to each version of a song, but the majority were very similar. If we go by your logic, it would be fine for Experience Hendrix to release an album of the exact same songs every year for the next decade just putting alternate versions of each song on each release. No way!

      And to be clear, I’m AM a true Jimi Hendrix fan. I have every release that’s ever been put out, I have a huge collection of his unreleased work as well so I do know what I’m talking about. In fact, I think I only need to review his Two Box sets to complete reviewing all of his official Experience Hendrix releases.

      Thanks for offering your perspective, I love it when fans come to talk about Jimi.

      Thanks,
      Chris Elliott

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