This is a review of the Disc 1 of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set.  The tracks and live performances included on this installment of the box set are those representative of the first year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Late 1966 through 1967.  This is an excellent survey of the band that charts their way through the first year of their existence.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, unreleased instrumentals, and even an unreleased song.  An excellent variety here.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 1

And away we go…

  1. Purple Haze (Alternate Recording) – An extremely early recording, one of the first from the newly formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Rougher sounding but by no means bad. Signature distortion on the guitar.   Breath filled breathing throughout the song. Vocals are raw and at times seem slightly off beat. Killer guitar work. Shredding guitar distortion and spacey vocals bring this song to an end.
  2. Killing Floor (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 18, 1966) – One of the first performances by The Jimi Hendrix performance.  Jimi’s vocals are strong and full of desire.  His guitar work is slightly distant but still searing.  Mitch Mitchell provides excellent drums which give great traction to the song.  Very high quality recording, especially for being so old.  Jimi’s solo shreds even though it seems a bit distance sound wise.
  3. Hey Joe (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 18, 1966) – Another song from the early Olympia performance.  The song starts off slow and Jimi’s vocals are a bit more mellow and harmonious than later recorded versions.  Jimi’s guitar work is right on the mark.  The drums are slow and guiding.  The recording isn’t the greatest which contributes a bit more a distorted effect to Jimi’s guitar at times.
  4. Foxey Lady (Alternate Recording) – One of Jimi’s all time classics.  An early recording of the song shortly after The Jimi Hendrix Experience became a unit.  Jimi’s vocals show the fact that he hadn’t sang this song hundreds of times as later recordings/performances would reveal.  The guitar work is gritty, rugged & raw.  The guitar riff has a slightly different flare in it which can be slightly heard towards the end of the song prior to the screeching ending and the studio chatter.
  5. Highway Chile (Alternate Recording) – The song starts off with an excellent tempo guided by Jimi’s vocal and the drums.  Jimi’s guitar is raw and sounds great.  Jimi’s solo is searing and slightly repetitive.  Jimi’s signature finger rolls can be heard in his playing.  The course is excellent.
  6. Hey Joe (Alternate Recording) – This song starts of hilarious as Jimi messes up on vocals.  You can hear his chatter for a while before getting back into the vocals.  Another early recording on this song.  Female background vocals not heard on other versions accent the song.  Jimi’s guitar sounds like it has a “ping” type of sound to it but still rocks as usual.  Noel Redding provides solid guidance throughout the song with his consistent bass.
  7. Title #3 (Previously Unreleased Recording) – This instrumental is a heck of a jam track.  Jimi’s guitar rocks throughout and is guided by Mitch Mitchell’s drums.  Jimi’s guitar has a nice amateurish (for Jimi) distortion sound to it.  In one portion of the song, remnants of “Winter Wonder Land” seem to be present.  Jimi’s fast moving finger rolls stand out as do his screaming, distortion led guitar shreds.  The song ends with faded chatter.
  8. Third Stone From the Sun (Alternate Recording) – The song starts outs with mistakes in the opening of the space invader type dialog and Jimi laughing uncontrollably.  Very funny beginning.  A rare occurrence of hearing Chas Chandler contributing to a song via the dialog in the beginning.  Jimi then goes into his poetry laced verses with occasion laughs about the oddness of the track.  The music then drops in with weird alien sounds accenting throughout.  The beautiful opening riff is present and makes you immediately stop and take notice.  Jimi’s solo work is in perfect form and adds to the excellence of the song.  Jimi recites his poetic lyrics in talkative style throughout.  There are sound effects which mimic the sound of a space ship gliding through the universe.  Mitch Mitchel provides lively drums which make the track come alive as does Noel Redding’s funky bass riff.  Heavy distortion and breaks in the song mirror the effect of space type sounds.  Jimi’s guitar shreds and effect driven dialog further add to this effect.  Jimi’s statement “You’ll never hear surf music again” is an ode to the musical direction that he was headed in.  Unpredictable breaks and space sounding distortion command the song.
  9. Taking Care Of No Business (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The song starts with dialog before going into Jimi and his guitar singing a bluesy track with the sound of glasses clinking together and people chattering similar to a club scene.  This ambiance was later carried into the song My Friend which showed up on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.  Jimi says “Play the horn” and then goes into using his voice to mimic a horn sound which actually sounds awesome.  There is a tamberine present to accent the beat and rhythm of the song.  Jimi’s guitar is a bit muffled and murky.  Jimi cracks a few funny jokes in “I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention” and “I’m so poor I couldn’t even give you the time” towards the end of the song.
  10. Here He Comes (Lover Man) (Previously Unreleased Instrumental) – An instantly fast moving song driven by Jimi’s fast guitar riff.  He’s joined by drums that keep their place in the background.  Noel Redding provides a thumping bass riff.  Jimi’s guitar riff is soloesque.  Jimi’s playing throughout has a good amount of distortion that works well.  This is the instrumental version of this song which would later be finished by the band.
  11. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with a carnival/Asian sound combination which is hard to be explained but sounds cool.  Jimi plays a harpsichord instead of his usual guitar.  Jimi messes up in the beginning and starts over again.  This song is a short test instrumental which ends abruptly.
  12. If 6 Was 9 (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with echoed vocals by Jimi.  Jimi’s guitar is hidden in the background a bit with his vocals commanding the song.  Mitch Mitchell provides sparse drums to accent Jimi’s commanding vocals in the beginning of the song.  Jimi’s vocals weave in and out of a kind of poetic dialog to singing.  A muffled sound seems to be purposely present in areas of the song as are echoes.  The song is full of soft spoken vocals, echoes, distortion, and unpredictable breaks which seems to be the theme of the song.  The song ends with shrieking distortion that made my dog go nuts while I was listening which eventually fades to silence.
  13. Rock Me Baby (Live: Monterey International Pop Festival, June 18, 1967) (Alternate Mix) – While the song is live, the sound quality is excellent.  The song starts off with Jimi’s shy chatter to the crowd before he let’s his guitar, which is not shy, take control and launch into this fast moving guitar driven track.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums fire like machine guns.  There is plenty of distortion on Jimi’s guitar.  Jimi’s combines his guitar skill with distortion and feedback masterfully during his solos.
  14. Like A Rolling Stone (Live: Monterey International Pop Festival, June 18, 1967) (Alternate Mix) – Jimi starts this song playing his guitar and talking to the crowd.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are clear and on track.  Jimi’s guitar is rugged and beautiful.  Jimi’s vocals evoke emotion in the listener.  The song is mellow with a dark bass presence.  Jimi maintains a playful dialog like rapport with the audience throughout his vocals, chuckles included.

The first disc of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a perfect blend of alternate and early takes, mixed with live tracks and a couple of unreleased tracks sprinkled throughout.  This disc earns an easy 5 out of 5 stars as it accomplishes it’s goal of being a rarities box set well on this disc.  That rating covers both experienced Hendrix fans which will love this as well as new Hendrix recruits.  The sound quality is superb, even on the early and live recordings…

5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

You can grab this disc and the rest of the collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,

Chris Elliott Signature

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