Ah, Saint Jimi. The master of the guitar, the king of the riff, hero to many. He is much beloved by the masses, and the art of the rock and roll guitar was propelled forward by him into an unknown stratosphere.
As previously stated in my other Hendrix album recap, God is taken on blind faith alone, but Hendrix is truth. This album builds on the lyrical content and propels musicality forward by all three members of the band. It gave us a Noel Redding composition that had his lead vocal (“She’s So Fine”).
Mostly it gave us “Bold As Love”, the fierce, magical, totally proto-metal love song that gave us some of Jimi’s most amazing melodious music and literally colourful lyrics. It’s amazing to me just how beautiful the song and the imagery of the lyrics are considering the squealing and expertly played guitar.
The coda of the song is pure guitar genius, full of arpeggiated flashes of brilliance.
It begins though with space. Hendrix uses the space age to fuel a rousing experiment in feedback before launching into the alien on earth tale “Up From the Skies”. I’m a huge fan of space inspired music, as it creates interesting textures and sounds. Jimi uses jazz tones and some wah-wah to make for a lighter, bouncier song. The almost delicate “Little Wing”, with its glockenspeil, is among the loveliest of Hendrix’s compositions. It is also one of his most covered.
Other highlights include the grimy blues of “If 6 Was 9”, the heavy jazz of “Spanish Castle Magic” and the sweet lyrical “One Rainy Wish”. This album shows Hendrix’s growing confidence as a songwriter and the maturity of a master musician. It’s a reminder of what we lost a few short years later.