It is difficult to comprehend that Jimi Hendrix released only three studio albums in his short, storied and mostly stoned career.
This month marks the 41st anniversary of the passing of Hendrix, another member of the infamous “27 Club” that includes Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and its most recent inductee, Amy Winehouse. Gee, the initiation fee for that group is a little too high for me.
After Jimi’s death in 1970, countless in-concert compilations have been cobbled together by various record companies. It took the Hendrix family a staggering 24 years to regain the use of his image and get control of his work. Thankfully, the results have been terrific.
Their most recent project has just been issued as Winterland, a four-CD set of some of the most spectacular Hendrix performances ever committed to tape. Drawn from three nights at the historic San Francisco Ballroom just as Electric Ladyland hit the stores, the box features mostly unreleased versions of some of his best-known songs. You can also purchase the set on vinyl.
Backed by the crack rhythm section of Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, the Winterland shows boast a Seattle slew of classics that include Fire, Little Wing, Foxey Lady, and, of course Purple Haze.
But for my money, it’s the well-chosen covers and album tracks that make this release so exhilarating. Red House, Manic Depression, Spanish Castle Magic and even a reprise of his Monterey Pop Festival curiosity Wild Thing show just how playful Jimi was during these six shows.
He reinvents Sunshine of Your Love in a way that practically curdles Clapton’s Cream and his rendition of Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone makes me want to revisit Highway 61 as soon as possible with this wondrous collection at maximum volume.
A few years back, Rolling Stone magazine named Jimi the “greatest guitarist of all time.” In this case, the rag got it right. Winterland proves that if you aren’t “experienced,” you should be!
LAST WEEK’S contest winner is Stewart Ray, who gets a pricey $75 “shopping spree” from J.M. Fields on Washington Road. Check out the new “blue light” specials each and every day at J.M. Fields!
TURNER’S QUICK NOTES: Livingston Taylor performs Sept. 29 at the Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Theatre in Evans with tix available at
augustaamusements.com … It’s difficult to believe it was 20 years ago that the Spin Doctors issued their great Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the disc with the hits Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, Two Princes and Jimmy Olsen’s Blues. A new edition is out now with all sorts of bonus goodies.