This is a review of the Disc 3 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 third year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; 1969.  This is another excellent survey of the band that follows them through their junior year.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, and unreleased songs.  An excellent variety here.

On to disc 3…

  1. Stone Free (Alternate Recording) – This alternate take starts of with what sounds to be a more funky take than the original song.  Jimi’s vocal’s are lively butThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 3 sound a bit demo like in places.  Noel’s bass offers a constant buzz.  Jimi’s guitar  isn’t as vivid in this track as it could be but that shows why this take wasn’t used as the master.  However, on the solo Jimi’s gritty guitar work certainly shines in spite of a slight muffled tone to it in places.  The end of the song ends in a garage demo smash out style.
  2. Spanish Castle Magic (Alternate Recording) – The song starts out abruptly with muffled and rugged guitar work and drums.  Jimi’s vocals are distant and lower quality.  Overall the track just seems lower quality than the usual Jimi – an obvious demo/jam track.  However, it does have a rugged angry feeling, which would be perfect for those times you want to crank something loudly in the car doesn’t necessarily sound great, but drowns out your thoughts and gives you something to rock to – if that makes any sense.  Jimi’s solo work is wondering in places but his finger rolls are classic.  The solo work here is lengthy and it’s interesting to hear Jimi’s work in the development process.
  3. Hear My Train A Comin’ (Previously Unreleased Studio Recording) – The infamous track that most likely would have ended up on the album Jimi was working on before his untimely passing.  Jimi’s guitar is slowly melodic and funky like molasses in the most beautiful way.  Noel’s bass guitar is funky as well and the ever present foundation of the song.  Jimi’s vocals have demo quality at times and this sounds like a demo track that was being used for jamming or song development.  Jimi’s guitar work is certainly looking for a groove at times but the majority of the guitar solo work is beautiful.  The liveliness of Mitch’s drums seem to be mostly drowned out by both the strength of Noel’s bass work and the quality of the overall track, while they are present.  A pop filter was likely not used with the many pops in Jimi’s vocals on the P’s.  The song concludes with a lengthy rhythm/solo jam by Jimi in truly distorted fashion.
  4. Room Full of Mirrors (Previously Unreleased Studio Recording) – Very interesting track which starts with Jimi providing guidance on the drum’s and how he wants the bass drum dropped.  The track then kicks into Jimi’s guitar jamming in solitude which is shortly accompanied by the drums as Jimi builds harmony with his vocals.  Once the bass drops and meshes with the drums and Jimi’s guitar, the track takes on a more rhythmic sound.  Jimi’s vocals are demo like and off beat at times, which show’s this track is an obvious development track.  The entire track lack’s the liveliness and sound quality usually heard by Jimi which accounts for it being an unreleased track.  Jimi’s solo at the end is certainly interesting and the shining point in this track.  The solo has phasing, distortion, finger rolls, and shrieks.  The track ends with studio clapping and chatter.
  5. I Don’t Live Today (Live: Los Angeles Forum, Ca., April 26, 1969) (Previously Unreleased Original Mix) – This live number starts with about a minute of Jimi talking to the crowd and then drops into the song with the drum beating.  The drums on this track are mesmerizing in beginning with a African drum circle type of feel.  The way that Jimi’s guitar drops in along with his vocals is very cool.  Jimi’s guitar work is incredible throughout, both in the lead lick and the searing solo work.  Noel’s bass really becomes evident as Jimi dives into his soloing.  This is one of those songs that would have been an incredible track to experience live.  Four minutes into the song Jimi works the whammy bar and does some spaceship type soloing which winds the song down to an eventual end with the audience cheering.
  6. Little Wing (Live: Royal Albert Hall, London, February 24, 1969) – Already one of my favorites of Jimi, I initially wasn’t sure how this song would fair live, being the delicate nature of it.  This concern was instantly put to rest when Jimi’s guitar floats into the track and sings beautifully.  Jimi’s vocal’s then drop in with perfect soul and rhythm, accompanied by Noel’s precise bass and Mitch’s guiding drums.  Jimi’s guitar is extremely clear and perfect in every way.  The solo is something that truly can’t be accurately put into works – completely emotionally charged and soul engulfing.  Mitch’s drums are in perfect form here.  The cohesion of the band and the special chemistry they shared is evident on this song.
  7. Red House (Live: San Diego Sports Arena, Ca., May 25, 1969) – This track starts with Jimi introducing the track to the audience after applause.  The track has sound reminiscent of 1960’s recordings.  The track starts off with a signature, down south blues meter.  Jimi’s guitar is bluesy.  Jimi’s vocals are soft and lusty throughout and his guitar jagged and loaded with finger rolls and slight distortion.  Right around five minutes, fifty seconds into the song, the tempo increases and Jimi’s guitar work get’s into rhythm and really starts smoking which lasts for several minutes.  The last couple of minutes, the song slows back down and Jimi’s bluesy vocals reappear.  The song ends in a furry of drums, guitar, and bass and is closed with cheer from teh audience.  A thirteen minute composition, this is a real gem that doesn’t get boring.
  8. Purple Haze (Live: San Diego Sports Arena, Ca., May 25, 1969) (Previously Unreleased Original Mix) – The ultimate Jimi classic presented in live format.  The song starts much as the studio version with Jimi adding in additional finger work on the guitar.  Jimi says “Scuze me while I kiss that guy,” which is Jimi’s playful side coming out.  The drums are excellent in quality and Noel’s bass a bit distant in the background at times.  Jimi’s vocals are excellent for a live performance and his guitar has it’s signature searing tone although I think his guitar could have been a touch louder.  The song ends with Jimi shredding through a solo using the whammy bar and his turbo speed finger rolls and Jimi saying “Thank you and goodnight, and peace – and peace to you, and happiness.”
  9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (Live: Royal Albert Hall, London, February 24, 1969) – This song opens up with choppy guitar work which slams into the signature guitar lick Voodoo Chile is famous for.  Mitch’s drums and Noel’s bass aren’t far behind.  This recording show’s not only Jimi’s guitar mastery extremely well, but also showcases high quality recording quality.  Jimi’s vocals are on point and his solo work is incredible in this performance.  Listening to this on quality stereo speakers really allows you to hear the various layers and sounds in the stereo field.  Noel’s bass work is in perfect form and doesn’t miss a beat.  Jimi’s guitar solo work is loose and perfectly interwoven into the track.  About five and a half minutes into the track, the song slows down to a crawl and Jimi’s vocals reemerge, first softly, then right back into a powerful presence.  The song ends with about a minute of Jimi weaving in and out of the track with his lead guitar alternating between finger roll’s and rhythm work.
  10. Izabella (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with guitar that sounds a bit muffled but once the track drops accompanied by bass and the drums, the song pulls together well.  Jimi’s vocals are a bit int he background but still accent the song perfectly – signature Jimi.  The lead guitar, possibly the overdubs, seem turned up a bit too high in some parts of the song, and too low in other parts – possibly a mixing issue.  While certainly a worthwhile listen, and an enjoyable archive piece, it’s clear why this was not released as the master.

This disc in the collection certainly has some great highlights.  However, I don’t think any of the studio/alternative takes were really all that stellar.  The real gems come in the form of some of the live recordings such as Voodoo Chile, Little Win, and I Don’t Live Today.  Certainly not the best disc in the set and this one comes in extremely short at only 10 songs.  The live recordings however, hold this disc up and keep it at a 3.5 stars…

3.5 Stars 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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