Review: “Valleys of Neptune,” Jimi Hendrix

For a guy who only released three or four albums in his lifetime, Jimi Hendrix is certainly more prolific in death.  No less than 10 different albums of new studio material have emerged in the 40 years since Hendrix’s death, and today we see the release of the 11th such album, Valleys of Neptune.

It’s part of a joint effort by the Hendrix estate and Sony, cataloging and reissuing everything that Hendrix recorded.  Valleys of Neptune contains seven previously unreleased studio tracks and five new recordings of some well known songs.

A lot of this stuff was recorded in 1969 after the release of Electric Ladyland using a variety of back-up musicians.  The original Experience (Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass) play on many of the cuts, including “Fire” and “Red House,” cut for Hendrix’s 1967 debut Are You Experienced?

There are also a couple of excellent cover tunes, including an Elmore James blues, “Bleeding Heart,” originally released on 1972’s War Heroes but included here as an alternate, extended version.  The fireworks really go off on Cream’s  “Sunshine Of Your Love,” played as an instrumental with Jimi’s guitar pyrotechnics taking center stage.

One of the great “lost” Hendrix tracks, “Valleys of Neptune,” shows up here with a remix that makes it sparkle.  Mitchell drums on this one, but they’re joined by Hendrix’s long-time bassist Billy Cox from the Band of Gypsys – it’s a nice signature tune for Hendrix, with typically spacey lyrics and breathtaking guitar runs, easily the best of the unreleased material.

As an album, Valleys of Neptune is naturally not very cohesive: the majority of this material sounds like rehearsals obviously never intended to show up on a commercial release, or at least unpolished early takes.   Even so, you can hear the obvious craftsmanship that went into making music back then, a trait sorely lacking on many releases by today’s top rock practitioners.  The Hendrix people promise there’s a lot more left in the vault, and I wonder what the quality of that material may be.

At any rate: this is Hendrix, man.  If you’ve ever wondered about this guy’s legend, Valleys of Neptune may not be the place to start exploring.  But if you’re in the mood for some good, old-fashioned psychedelic rock, put it on and fire up a fatty – this music will certainly take you on a little trip.

Listen: “Bleeding Heart”

MP3: “Fire”

Jimi Hendrix official website

5 Responses to “Review: “Valleys of Neptune,” Jimi Hendrix”

  1. Nice write up. I thought Bleeding Heart turned out very good.

  2. MattKlomp Says:

    Great review – kind of surprised that more people haven’t heard about this yet. Definitely worth checking out, though – the new songs are really interesting and there’s some interesting tweaks with some of the classics. Here’s the video for “Valleys of Neptune.” http://www.vevo.com/watch/jimi-hendrix/valleys-of-neptune/USSM21000158

  3. There is no doubt that a lot of people have heard of Jimi Hendrix. He truly is one of the most revered guitar players in the music industry. He has developed a following that stretches until today

  4. Barry Levene Says:

    Contact 3sixtypr@gmx.com

    JIMI HENDRIX MURDERED? “NOT IMPROBABLE” SAYS NOEL REDDING….

    The name Jimi Hendrix conjures up some of the most colourful and wildest moments that the sixties produced. Hendrix arrived, he conquered and took the music world by storm, got inside your head and went onto the great gig in the sky – all by the age of 27.

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience , left you in no doubt that it was exactly that – an experience.

    A trio of musicians who came together from both sides of the Atlantic and found common ground, fame and for one third of the group not very much fortune.

    For Noel Redding the bass player in the group the experience was not to be forgotten. Since the death of Hendrix 40 years ago, much has been documented about him and the group.

    Looking back to the sixties and you could be thinking you are on another planet. Any history relating to that period is taken up with music and culture. The Jimi Hendrix Experience played

    it`s part.

    Making a timely appearance is a DVD that is being put out by Discs International, containing a never before seen interview with Noel Redding recorded at his home in Ireland in 1988.

    It makes fascinating viewing. All the years of seeing film of them in concert and photographs of Hendrix, Redding and Mitchell, you find yourself sitting in a living room not with just a legend – but an ordinary guy talking about his early days with the group. No rock star here, no pretentious name dropping, just plain talking. Listening to him you are left wondering how they made it to top.

    I asked Producer Will Scally who had the foresight to record this interview how it all came about.

    “ I had known and been friends with Noel for many years and always found him a very upfront, straightforward guy. We often spoke about doing an interview, he wanted to speak about the band, money, drugs and the death of Hendrix and much more – even speaking about the possibility of Hendrix being murdered. He was on good form that day and wanted to record this for posterity.

    Sadly Noel Redding died back in 2003 aged 57.

    For those interested in Hendrix, Redding and the history of sixties rock music this rare visual documentary should not be missed.

    Release date NOVEMBER 2010.

    Barry Levene.

  5. Ana Raquel Henriques Says:

    Jimi Hendrix – Assassinado?? “Não é improvável” Diz Noel Redding…

    O nome Jimi Hendrix evoca os momentos mais alegres e selvagens que os anos 60produziram. Hendrix chegou, conquistou e levou o mundo da música ao seu auge, entrou nas nossas cabeças e deu os melhores espectáculos sobre o céu – Isto tudo aos 27 anos.

    A Experiência Jimi Hendrix, deixou-nos sem dúvidas, exactamente nisso – na Experiência.

    Um trio de músicos que se uniu vindo dos dois lados do Oceano Atlântico encontraram terreno comum e fama, mas não muita fortuna.

    Para Noel Redding, o baixista do grupo, a experiência não é para ser esquecida. Desde a morte de Hendrix há 40 anos atrás, muito está documentado acerca dele e da banda.

    Olhando para trás, para os anos 60, pensamos que estamos num mundo completamente diferente. Qualquer história relacionada com este período é dedicada á musica e á cultura. A experiência Jimi Hendrix teve a sua parte.

    A marcar isso mesmo é o DVD que está a ser produzido pela Discs International, descrevendo uma entrevista nunca publicada de Noel Redding, em sua casa na Irlanda em 1988.

    É fascinante, depois de tantos anos a vermos filmes e fotografias de Hendrix,Redding e Mitchell, encontramo-nos perante, não o que chamamos de lenda – mas sim uma pessoa simples a falar dos seus primeiros tempos com o grupo. Sem se tentar passar como uma das maiores estrelas de rock que o tempo já viu, tem uma conversa aberta e honesta. Ao ouvi-lo pensamos como é que eles conseguiram chegar ao topo.

    Perguntei ao Productor Will Scally quem teve o cuidado de fazer esta entrevista, de como tudo aconteceu:

    “Eu conheci e fui amigo do Noel por muitos anos e sempre o achei muito franco ehonesto. Nós frequentemente falavamos sobre fazer uma entrevista acerca da banda, do dinheiro, das drogas, da morte de Hendrix e muito mais – até falar da possibilidade de Hendrix ter sido assassinado. Ele estava em boa forma nesse dia e quis gravar isto simplesmente para a posterioridade”.

    Foi com tristeza que Noel Redding morreu em 2003, com 57 anos.

    Para todos os que estão interessados no Hendrix, Redding e na história de músicarock dos anos 60, este raro documentário visual não pode ser perdido.

    O DVD estará disponível no dia 6 DE DEZEMBRO de 2010.

    Ana Raquel Henriques

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