JIMI HENDRIX — Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix Experience) (review)

JIMI HENDRIX — Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix Experience) album cover Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
Jimi's wish to remain in America caused a few changes in the Experience. Indeed Chandler was resigned to leave his "discovery" to another manager, and bassist Noel Redding went home after a tour and would not really come back, as he was not on that friendly terms wiyth Jimi and the latter was also an accomplished bass player. Recorded in Jimi's custom-made studios (still under construction) in NYC, Electric Ladyland was a double album. As a sort of publicity stunt the album first came out with some 20 English naked girls holding his albums, but the US rejected the artwork (so did Jimi) and only a short series was put on the market, before a second artwork was issued. So this double album was made with mostly Jimi and drummer Mitchell, but also an impressive list guest stars such as Jack Casady, Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason & Chris Wood (Traffic), Buddy Miles, Brian Jones, Al Kooper amongst other.

Opening on toilet flush made from guitars scratching was certainly a better publicity stunt than naked girls on the cover?.. leading to the title track; where Jimi pulls one of his best vocal performance. After the short Crosstwown Traffic, the mood is right for a 15 mins blues jam Voodoo Chile where Winwood and Casady participates. Certainly one of the album's centrepieces, this was recorded in one take and live in the studio, with the witnesses commenting and applauding in the final mix. The flipside is made of 5 shorter tracks, which are definitely more accessible and probably aimed at AM radio airplay, most of which are of the calibre of the group's debut album. I'll point out Midnight Lamp and Little Miss Strange (sung and penned by Noel Redding) as the highlights of this side.

The second disc starts on coughing before Rainy Day takes into programmed boredom to lead us to the other centrepiece of the album, which was often butchered and considered as nonsense by experts and public alike. But 1983 and Moon Turns The Tides amount to 15 minutes of the most celestial and spacey music that have been recorded and show that Jimi had the capacity of writing longer tracks and think of constantly changing music. There is not one single minute of music in this "mother track" is wasted or redundant, most of it filled with soft spacey guitars and flutes. Grrrrrrrrreat stuff!! Although relegated on the flipside, Still Raining was probably meant to bookend the 1983 track with Rainy Day. Jimi Closes the album with three classic, House Burnin" Down (Buddy Miles singing), the fantastic Dylan reprise of All Along The Watchtower and the fabulous Voodoo Child, that makes him a god of the guitar.

Note that some of the changes are happening now, but will affect Jimi's career in the future, such as the unannounced sack of Noel Redding and the loss of Chas Chandler as a manager to old Animals manager Michael Jeffreys. The album will come out as an Experience album, but Jimi was tired of the usual tricks and routine of his early days and was looking elsewhere. Once again although not progressive per se, JHE's EL is a stunning piece of music, one of the cornerstones of psychedelic rock and rock in general. Personally I still spin the third side of this album at least once a year, which is an achievement given my collection's continued growth.

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