JIMI HENDRIX — Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

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JIMI HENDRIX - Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) cover
4.62 | 40 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1967


A1.Foxy Lady (3:19)
A2.Manic Depression (3:42)
A3.Red House (3:42)
A4.Can You See Me (2:33)
A5.Love or Confusion (3:11)
A6.I Don't Live Today (3:55)
B1.May This Be Love (3:11)
B2.Fire (2:43)
B3.Third Stone From the Sun (6:44)
B4.Remember (2:48)
B5.Are You Experienced (4:14)


Jimi Hendrix / guitar, vocal
Noel Redding / bass
Mitch Mitchell / drums

About this release

Track Record – 612 001 (UK)

Debut album for band, 1st issue (mono only). 1st album on Track Record label

Thanks to snobb, Chicapah for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

In August of 1967 I was just about to turn into an adult while living amidst the most tumultuous yet exhilarating years of the 20th century. Things were changing by the hour, it seemed, especially in music where almost every new song that came wafting across the radio waves unveiled some heretofore unknown sound effect or odd influence. My adventurous peers and I participated in a never- ending contest of "top THIS," a game that involved discovering virginal artists/bands and proudly sharing our finds with each other. But nothing had sufficiently prepared me for that hot summer day when my friend Rick Cramer brought over the debut of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and left it for me to munch on for a couple of days. First of all, the three wan musicians on the cover (on the USA release, that is) looked as if they'd been teleported into someone's back yard from a distant galaxy and their eccentric fashion sense coupled with frizzy 'fros confirmed it. In an era when the wildly outrageous and shocking was the norm rather than the exception, this curious threesome still managed to stand out from the herd. Obviously, these funky dudes weren't from around here. "Be forewarned" the notes on the sleeve exclaimed and, for once, the record biz pukes weren't just a whistlin' Dixie. As entertaining as the package was to my fascinated eyes, my pal assured me that what I was about to hear and funnel into my brain would be life-changing. In a year that downloaded the likes of "Sgt. Peppers," "Disraeli Gears," "Surrealistic Pillow" and "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" into my mental data base, nothing (and I mean NOTHING) would top the impact that "Are You Experienced" had on my inner being. As a fledgling, amateur guitarist who idolized the holy trinity of Clapton, Beck & Page I thought those virtuosos had already done all that could be done with the instrument. Wrong. From the moment the needle touched vinyl I knew that Jimi Hendrix had single-handedly destroyed that notion forevermore. This was exploratory rock music by every definition of the term. "Are You Experienced?" changed EVERYTHING.

Take the stunning opening cut for example. Those of you born after the swingin' 60s have heard "Purple Haze" so many times it might as well be elevator muzak but I'm here to testify that at the time of its release this song sent seismic shock waves cascading through the terrain of society as a whole. From its dissonant, semitone clash between bass and guitar that serves as a startling wakeup call to its freaky Octavia-processed guitar lead to Hendrix's shameless oohs and hahs slicing underneath, this track announced without a trace of humility that there was a new, badass sheriff in town and every 'slinger better line up to turn in their guns. Besides that, the radical black nuance in Jimi's vocal delivery was wholly alien to the tame Motown croonings we were used to and the brazen subject matter, well. Let's just say that he ain't describing the nicotine buzz from a Marlboro when he shouts "'scuse me while I kiss the sky.!"

Next up is the monstrously aggressive "Manic Depression" with its unparalleled-for-its-time, in-your-face frontal assault. It's totally riff-based from start to finish with nary a chord to be found, Hendrix's solo is so fierce I got the impression that he was trying to scalp me and Mitch Mitchell's cartwheeling drums are relentless throughout, especially towards the end when he throws in terrific fills one after another without ever letting the momentum flag for a nanosecond. The haunting "Hey Joe" had been around for a while but had never strolled the runway in this soulful getup. Jimi utilizes the clean, naturally tubular sound of his Stratocaster to create an almost pastoral openness for this tale of revenge. To this day I still look forward to those deep, growling guitar/bass lines that define the tune's underlying strength. The man's drastic and liberally plunging employment of the tremolo bar on "Love or Confusion" was revolutionary, making the suspenseful ending spasms absolutely mesmerizing. The number's lively midsection also added the first pinch of jazz into the stew they were cooking.

"May This Be Love" showed how differently Hendrix handled a ballad. He imaginatively lets his guitar paint the song's shifting moods but he never lets it become intrusive or boorish. The track also showcases the lost art of clever stereo panning for effect. It makes today's mixes sound like they're in mono. "I Don't Live Today" features a harsh, metallic tact that's downright menacing. There's a great "what's he doing NOW?" moment that occurs just before a wondrous, feedback-infested melee ensues where Jimi casually steps in front like a talk-show host to add his personal narrative to the mayhem roiling behind him. "The Wind Cries Mary" is another unique, iconic composition whose importance can't be ignored. The looseness of the intro only emphasizes that Hendrix & Co. were more interested in the overall feel of the track than its tightness, just one of many reasons why it endures. The beautiful guitar ride is indicative of how Jimi was acutely aware of playing exactly what the tune needed. The song is brilliant in its simplicity and moving in the emotions it constantly evokes.

You wanna indulge in a brief bout of headbanging? Give the thrilling "Fire" a spin and you'll be well done in a jiffy. Mitch Mitchell blazes forth like a fistful of sparklers from start to finish while Noel Redding's solid bass lines keep the tune from flying off its axle. What's amazing is how Hendrix instinctively knew that to overplay his hand would've been counterproductive to the track's steamrolling inertia, therefore he intentionally kept his snarling guitar on a leash. His reputation may be that of a flash but the fact of the matter is that he was the master of understatement more often than not. The longest cut of the album is also its most mind-expanding and jazz-related. "Third Stone from the Sun" is an awesome journey. Psychedelic voices slither in and out of the jazz/rock fusion atmosphere and the instrumental's monumentally grandiose melody is statuesque. Jimi even dares to toss in random lines of beat poetry! Mitchell nudges the intensity upward a notch halfway through to show off his jazz upbringing while Hendrix proceeds to make his guitar scream in tortured agony and proclaims to all that "you'll never hear surf music again." (Believe you me, after this we didn't WANT to.) Following a powerful return to the celestial theme the group leaves us hanging out to dry as the planets surrounding us whirl in their orbits to the sound of a cosmic freight train rolling on endlessly into the night. Magnificent.

"Foxey Lady" may be the most commercial and accessible cut on the record but it's no sellout by any stretch. Jimi's overt, unabashed sexuality oozes from the speakers and his guitar solo sizzles and pops like frying bacon. But it's the album's namesake song that really made us aware that a fresh, exciting wing of the music building had finally been dedicated and opened. The Beatles and a few of their cronies had toyed with reverse engineering but Hendrix made it the foundation of "Are You Experienced?" and fully exploited the hypnotic spell it could summon in the listener. Not only does it have an unanticipated chord change as the cornerstone of its droning arrangement but the backwards guitar lead is nothing short of otherworldly. Earth had been invaded.

I remember my first run-through clearly. Afterwards I immediately got on the phone to my buddy Rick and told him that, in spite of never having tasted a drop of liquor or inhaled even a whiff of mother nature (much less ingested a hallucinogen), when the last pinprick shot of feedback faded into the ether and the turntable shut off automatically I truly felt "altered." No joke. I felt high. He said "No, man, it's just that now you're EXPERIENCED" and I knew of what he spoke. No other album has ever had that severe an impact on my psyche and, believe me, I've heard a LOT of albums in my time. This is one for the ages and one that every music lover/historian worth his or her salt should know by heart. Jimi changed the way electric guitarists, jazz and otherwise, looked at their instrument. Influential? Are you kidding me? It just may be the most rebellious album of the 60s, bar none. It broke every existing rule there was to break.

Members reviews

siLLy puPPy
Most of the time in music history progressions are made by tiny increments of experimentation where an artist tries something new and it is incorporated into the works of others and so forth and so on but the 1960s were one of those decades that was a musical equivalent of the big bang of ideas and innovation and JIMI HENDRIX and his EXPERIENCE were one of the innovators of this musical explosion with a totally new sound, style and approach on the musical landscape.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? was an immediate and outstanding success. Only a year before Jimi was struggling to survive covering R&B songs as a back-up guitarist but as his latent talent was gestating he managed to capture the attention of Keith Richards' girlfriend who ultimately introduced him to Chas Chandler (of the Animals) who catapulted him from rags to rock'n'roll riches in a very short time.

This album took the world by storm. Jimi perfected the feedback guitar sound that the psychedelic world only hinted at and delivered a burst of energy to the whole musical industry that single-handedly inspired the whole world we know today. He was the prototype for heavy metal as well as blues rock, psychedelic music and outlandish stage antics such as his famous burning his guitar on stage or playing with his teeth. Mr Hendrix literally dropped the equivalent of a musical bomb on the world which reverberates into the present world. Although it took me a while to appreciate the album as a whole (I always liked a few cuts) I now can't imagine how the world of rock music would be the same if Jimi hadn't contributed his signature sound to it and this album has grown on me. The varied influences ranging from soul, blues and total freakouts conspire to make one of the most influential releases in the entire history of music.

This is another one of those albums where the UK and US versions differed substantially. The UK version had the rather uninspiring black backdrop with the members posed while the much better US version had the Summer-Of-Love psychedelic cover. The track listings were different as well. For some strange reason the most familiar songs “Purple Haze,” “Manic Depression” and “Hey Joe” were left off the UK version despite being huge hit singles there.
The impact of the Experience's first album can be summed up very simply: nobody, absolutely *nobody*, had ever heard anyone play guitar like Jimi before this came out. Lou Reed and John Cale had been experimenting with distortion and feedback, of course - that's obvious from the Velvet Underground's debut album - and Syd Barrett's guitar experiments on Pink Floyd's debut were notable, but nobody had taken a shrieking, screaming demon like Jimi's guitar and made it perform like he did. Purple Haze and Foxy Lady both benefit from the extra heaviness unleashed, whilst compositions like Red House and The Wind Cries Mary show that Jimi could do electric blues-rock with the best of them. It was all his backing band could do to keep up, and to their credit they do. The cover of Hey Joe outshines other attempts by the likes of Love and the Byrds by slowing the song right down and giving it a blues interpretation, whilst experimental segments such as Love or Confusion or Are You Experienced? show that the trio could freak out with the best of them. Absolutely essential.
Sean Trane
Difficult to find a more influential album than JHE's debut, but in 67, these abounded. Found by ex-Animals Chas Chandler and brought back to the UK, it wasn't long before the swinging London was buzzing all over this newcomer. They hired two local musicians, bassist Noel Redding and the excellent drummer Mitch Mitchell and the JHE was born. Their first album took the planet by storm and today still is an unavoidable classic, where there isn't a single weak track or filler. This album received different track list and artwork, depending on which side of the Atlantic you bought.

Although most of the album is made of shorter tracks that aimed at commercial success, many of these were still quite progressive, mainly because of Jimi's outstanding guitar playing techniques. Tracks like Foxy Lady, Fire, the stupendous Hey Joe and Wind Cries Mary were filled with unusual sounds, but hit the spot on the single-buying public. More adventurous tracks like the title track (with its reversed tape beat), the riff-laden Purple Haze or the excellent (and longer) Third Stone From The Sun (this track talking of Earth could be played at both 33 and 45 RPM, and you'd get a very different track with new Space-vocals)

Recent reissues of this album have come with a bunch of bonus tracks of great added value for the disc. Indeed all the non-album tracks of the era have been added and believe me, this is good news, even if only Stone Free is fairly well known. Groundbreaking, certainly. Progressive, in a sense. "Prog", maybe not; but excellent? Certainly. Enough to warrant an excellent rating.
Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? is a milestone debut like no other.

I am reviewing the CD version with all the extras such as Purple Haze of course!

OK, so get this. Hendrix comes along, soon to be recognised as the greatest guitarist on the planet ever! And he unleashes his debut album upon an unsuspecting audience that features not 2, not 3 not even 4, but 5 of the most influential songs to come out of the rock machine. The songs are like a best of Hendrix, they are all here; Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Fire, Hey Joe and Purple Haze, not to mention the title track. There are other standout tracks such as The Wind cries Mary and Stone Free. Incredible for an artist to come out with such a track list on his debut but then again this is Hendrix, a gifted singer, songwriter, guitarist that captured a generation and became part of the iconography of the late 60s. Images of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, humping the amps, rolling on the floor and screaming out the US national anthem were yet to come to assault a generation's conscious, but this is as good a debut as an artist can hope for. It is the beginning of greatness and a legend is born.

The songs on 'Are You Experienced?' are always linked to Hendrix especially Purple Haze, and the awesome power riffs therein are indelible to the rock industry itself, so to give this album less than 5 stars would be unthinkable. 'Are You Experienced?' is an absolute essential purchase for rock connoisseurs.

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