Oh boy, here is another artist who evokes such rabid support from critics and fans alike, it is hard to know where to start writing about him. A very large amount of books have been written about Hendrix's influence on modern music, his prodigious abilities with both the guitar and the ladies and using him as a kind of starting pin on the map of modern rock.
I've only ever read Charles Shaar Murray's effort, Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and the Post-War Rock 'n' Roll Revolution. Despite the thesis-like title, this fascinating read doesn't do anything to contain the myth of Hendrix but instead, reverently parlays the sounds of the time into an well-written, intellectual and very-readable look at the way blues music has influenced music, with Hendrix's tracks acting as the guiding light.
I can't recall a time when I wasn't hearing Hendrix. He has been on my musical spectrum since I was a young lad first learning to play the guitar. Songs like Hey Joe and All Along The Watchtower were constants at my parent's parties in the early 70s while tracks such as Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Fire and Crosstown Traffic became party favourites of mine and my friends years later.
In fact, it is Crosstown Traffic I often reference as being one of the pinnacle tracks of influence for me. It is one of my funeral playlist songs (yeah, my friends are gonna rock out at mine wake, for sure). Hendrix has the privilege of being the only artist, apart from The Beatles, to appear a number of times on this playlist, the other track being the gorgeous Little Wing. After all, who can not fail to be touched by this:
When I'm sad, she comes to me
With a thousand smiles, she give to me for free
It's alright she says it's alright
Take anything you want from me,
Fly on little wing
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
So, let me preface this by stating for the record: I'm not particularly a Hendrix fan. No, back! Stop pelting me with those rocks! It's not because the tunes aren't good, because HELL YEAH they are great. But there's two things abut Hendrix that stop me being a real enthusiast.
One is, I lack whatever gene it is that finds guitar solos entertaining. It's kind of how mostly everyone except drummers feels about drum solos. I don't have that Guitar Hero inside of me - and I use that term advisedly, I'm not a fan of the game, either.
The second is, I kind of hear a lot of it as stripper music. Now don't get me wrong, I'm as fond of ecdysiasts as the next person (being in this case, YourZ) (YourZ sez: see, how could I not love this lady) but mental images of tassels, pasties and feather boas tend to distract me from the tunes themselves. It's not a problem, just a mental tic. Nothing to do with the cover of Electric Ladyland, either. What?
I also have to admit that while I never experienced the famous mondegreen for Kiss The Sky, I still do a mental double-take every time I see Voodoo Chile because I think it's talking about a a bowl of magical food.
I did have fun listening to this CD. And as a side note, the London apartment where he lived in 1968 has just been open to the public, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/home