Miami Pop Festival Another Fitting Tribute To Hendrix’s Legacy

Courtesy:  Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix, LLC

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix, LLC

November 27th, 1942 is one of the most important dates in modern music history.  It is such an important date because that was the day on which one of the greatest guitarists in modern music history was born.  His name was Jimi Hendrix.  If he were still around today, this November would mark his seventy-first birthday.  In honor of the upcoming anniversary, Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix, LLC will release the never before released live recording, Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival on November 5th.  This latest live release is another welcome addition to the home library of any true purist Hendrix fan.  Fans will appreciate and enjoy this latest live release first and foremost because as any fan knows, Hendrix and his band mates never played the same song the same way twice.  This was the case both in The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys.  And that holds true even in the case of this release.  Audiences will also take note that in this performance, they get Hendrix’s very first ever recorded live performance of ‘Hear My Train A Comin’’ and ‘Tax Free.’  And sealing the deal for fans is the fact that as old as the performance is, the sound quality is just as good as any live recording released today.  The sound quality combined with the set list and overall performance makes this recording one that is deserving of many more than just one listen.

Anyone purist Hendrix fan knows that one thing that makes his live recordings so special is that he and his band mates never performed the same song the same way twice.  This applied both in the case of his performances with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and with his Band of Gypsys.  And it rings especially true on this recording.  Listeners will love how the band spontaneously breaks into jam sessions on every song.  One of the best of those moments comes in the band’s performance of ‘Red House.’  One can instantly see the band on stage, letting the music take over as it flows within the moment.  Drummer Mitch Mitchell’s playing is incredible to say the least.  Even throughout his performance in the band’s jam session here, he never misses a single beat.  And one can almost close one’s eyes and see Jimi, his own eyes closed as he lets the music flow from his fingertips.  This is a moment that is more than just part of concert.  It is part of a musical experience (pun fully intended).  It’s just one of so many moments that audiences will appreciate throughout this recording.

Hendrix and company offer so much enjoyment throughout The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival.  Listening to this new release is just as good as having been there.  The performance itself is just part of the equation, though.  Listeners get an extra special treat in this new live release that they’d never gotten in previous live Hendrix recordings.  That special treat is the inclusion of the first ever live recordings of ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ and ‘Tax Free.’  The first ever live recording of ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ is a wonderful musical experience.  It really served to exhibit Hendrix’s talent on the guitar.  The song’s old school blues roots come out so powerfully throughout the song, showing perfectly the connection between rock and the blues.  And again, Mitchell’s drumming perfectly complements Hendrix’s playing, while bassist Noel Redding maintains the songs foundation just as expertly.  ‘Tax Free’ by contrast is something that simply has to be heard to be appreciated.  This song is a full on jam session.  There are no words here.  Just music.  And the music is incredible. It is a rock song.  But it is also a chance for the band members to show the extent of their talents.  And to say that each one is talented would be an understatement.  It is one more small portion of the whole that makes this recording a must for any fan of Jimi Hendrix or of real music with soul and substance.

The set list and overall performance presented by Jimi Hendrix and his band mates on this latest live release are both extremely impresses parts of the whole presentation.  There is one more aspect of this recording’s presentation to consider in its success.  That factor is its audio mix.  More than forty-five years have passed since this performance was originally recorded.  Considering how much time has passed, it’s incredible that the masters have stood the test of time so well.  Just as interesting to note is that they survived the transfer from tape to CD.  The sound on this recording is just as clear as if one were actually at the performance as it was happening.  That is a tribute to both those that transferred the show to CD and to the man originally responsible for putting the recording to tape, Hendrix’s friend and sound engineer Eddie Kramer.  Kramer handled his recording duties with the utmost expertise in this performance.  And it shows from start to finish.  No one part overpowers the other at any one point throughout the show.  This added to the mix puts the recording over the top and that much more worth picking up when it hits stores in November.  More information on this and other upcoming Hendrix recordings is available online at http://www.jimihendrix.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Priest’s New Live Release One Of 2013′s Top Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest’s latest live release is a must have for any true hardcore fan of this legendary metal act.  The closing show of what is said to be the band’s last live tour spans the band’s forty year career together.  The good news is that while this show marked the end of the band’s last tour, fans still allegedly have another new album for which they will be waiting after the release of this recording.  So much could be said of this latest live recording that fans will appreciate.  Right off the bat, fans with surround sound home theater systems will appreciate it more than anyone else.  And then of course, there is also the quality of the footage.  Home viewers will especially enjoy the overhead shots of drummer Scott Travis and the multiple angle shots of the band’s multi-guitar attack from Richie Faulkner, Glenn Tipton and bassist Ian Hill.   The talent of this group of old dogs is just as worthy of discussion as the audio and video quality of the recording.  So is the set list for the band’s career defining show.  When the trio come together for its classic multi-guitar stage stance, it will take fans of old school metal shows back even more, adding that much more to what is an incredible live show all the way around.

The very first thing that audiences catch from Epitaph is the audio quality of this recording.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will love the full-on live concert effect that they will experience.  Even those without home theater systems will still get quite the experience when they go into their television’s settings and set the audio to match the recording.  Those with digital televisions should easily be able to simply hit a button on their remote to adjust the sound accordingly.  Once the sound is set, one need only sit back and enjoy the show, or even get up and move with the performance whose footage was caught just as expertly as its audio.

The footage recorded for this performance was maintained just as expertly as its audio.  Whether on DVD or Blu-ray, the footage is crystal clear.  Even those watching it on DVD on a Blu-ray player and HDTV can still see just how clear the picture is.  Combined with the audio quality, audiences get a recording that is easily one of the best live recordings of 2013 for these reasons alone.  Staying on the footage though, audiences get more than just a crystal clear recording.  They get a show whose cinematography makes seeing this iconic show at home just as enjoyable as seeing it live, if not more so.  Sometimes the cameras get some rather impressive wide angle shots.  At other times, the cameras are right up there with Faulkner, Tipton and Hill.  In some songs, the camera angles switch back and forth with a ferocity that equals that of the music, fully highlighting the intensity of said songs.  If that doesn’t impress audiences, it’s anyone’s guess what will. 

The intensity of the songs culled for this set is something else that should definitely be noted that makes it so impressive.  While the collective age of the band’s members is pretty high, these old dogs have shown that they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  From front man Rob Halford’s still solid, soaring pipes to the musicianship of his band mates, the band proves here that a band doesn’t need to have lots of special effects and other goodies to make a show memorable.  Though, there were laser lights and pyro peppered throughout the course of the show.  That aside, the band’s members showed collectively with their musicianship why Judas Priest is still one of the most revered and respected bands in hard rock.  Whether for guitarist Richie Faulkner’s solos, Halford’s incredible vocal talent and or drummer Scott Travis’ timekeeping, every member of this group of veteran rock band brought something to the table that ultimately make this show one of the best in the band’s catalogue of live releases.  On a side note, audiences will especially appreciate how Halford commands the stage in a fashion similar to that of equally revered front man Freddie Mercury when he has the audience sing back to him.  This brief moment is a direct mirror of Mercury.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.  It goes to show the command that Halford has over the audience and why he remains one of the greatest front men in not just hard rock but in the rock community as a whole.  It is just one more aspect of so many that could be discussed that makes Epitaph one of the year’s best live recordings.

The quality of the footage from this recording and the talent of the band’s members do so much to make Epitaph a great show for any hardcore Priest fan.  It’s just as impressive for anyone wanting an overview of the band’s music.  That is thanks to the career-spanning set list.  The band’s performance spans nearly two and a half hours and twenty three songs.  Among some of the favorites included that fans will enjoy are: ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Judas Rising’, ‘Turbo Lover’, ‘The Sentinel’, and of course, ‘Breaking The Law.’  This is just part of what fans can expect out of this recording.  Fans will all have their own favorite.  And considering that there are eighteen other songs included here, fans have more than their share from which to choose a favorite or favorites.  That extensive set list set alongside the show’s equally impressive recording quality and the band’s energy makes Epitaph a show that will prove to be one of the year’s best live releases.  It’s one of those releases that will be just as enjoyable the first time around and the fiftieth.  It will be available May 28th on Blu-ray and DVD.

While Priest fans wait to pick up their copy of this must have live release, they can keep up with the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest and the band’s official website, http://www.JudasPriest.com. Fans can even check out a trailer for the upcoming release on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7W6NJs_HRw.  Fans can also check out more material from the band on its own YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/JudasPriest

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Dust’s Re-Issue A Welcome Re-Introduction To The Rock World

Courtesy:  Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings/Kama Sutra Records

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings/Kama Sutra Records

New York based hard rock trio Dust will finally see its albums Hard Attack and Dust re-issued later this month thanks to Legacy Recordings and Kama Sutra Records.  While the trio only released two records in its time together, the records became the forebear to records from the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and others of its era.  But again, thanks to the aforementioned record labels, this band’s music can once again be enjoyed by fans of true guitar driven rock and roll.

Both of the band’s albums have been culled on a single disc with a total of seventeen tracks between the two.  Audiences will be taken aback right from the opening moments of Hard Attack.  Drummer Marc Bell—who would later go on to become Marky Ramone of Ramones fame—plays just as bombastically and solidly as the late great John Bonham on the album’s opener, ‘Pull Away/So Many Times.’  Vocalist/guitarist Richie Wise is equally solid in his duties providing some rather impressive guitar licks.  And bassist Kenny Aaronson maintains the song’s low end without missing a beat throughout the dual song’s roughly five minute run time.  That same energy and solid musicianship is carried into the album’s second track, ‘Walk in the Soft Rain.’  This song is just as impressive as anything released by the band’s counterparts across the pond during what is easily rock music’s greatest era.  So with any luck, this song will prove to be just one of so many that will open a whole new generation’s ears to one of the best bands that they’ve never heard.

Hard Attack offers listeners quite the experience, especially for those who are new to the band’s sound.  It offers quite a few tracks that will opener said listeners’ ears to a whole and much needed breath of fresh air in an environment overly filled with bands whose music is dominated by down tuned, crunching guitars and cookie monster growls.  If the music on Hard Attack isn’t enough, then maybe the band’s complete seven track debut self-titled record will win over new listeners.  One of this record’s best tracks is its second song, ‘Chasin’ Ladies.’  This pure blues-infused rock song will impress any true rock and roll reveler.  The up-tempo guitars and hard driving drumming mixed with Aaronson’s base work make this great party music and equally great driving music, especially with the warmer weather right around the corner.  And the audio effect used on Wise’s vocals on this song adds another interesting touch.  This critic doesn’t know the exact term for the effect in question.  But it’s something of an echo effect.  It’s one more interesting element to the song that makes it the highlight of the album.

Just as impressive as ‘Chasin’ Ladies’ is ‘Love Me Hard.’  It’s just as hard driving as the aforementioned song.  What’s more, listeners will love how Wise mixes in a touch of flamenco style guitar work into the song’s otherwise hard rocking sound.  Even had that flamenco flourish not been added in, this song still would have exemplified everything that was and still is today, right with real guitar driven rock and roll.  Hopefully with the release of this dual album disc, other audiences of all ages will realize this too about this song and others on this re-issue.  And while Dust may have been long broken up, hopefully this release will help re-introduce a whole new generation not just to Dust, but to what seems to be an increasingly lost art.  The only thing that would make this record any better is a vinyl release for nostalgic types such as this critic.  The dual album disc will be released April 16th via Sony Legacy and Kama Sutra Records.

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Sony Legacy Re-Issuing Veteran Rock Band’s Albums

Courtesy:  Sony/Legacy

Courtesy: Sony/Legacy

Sony Legacy is set to release two classic albums from veteran rock band, Dust.  Fans of the band—Richie Wise (guitar), Kenny Aaronson (bass), and Marc Bell (drums)—will see the band’s self-titled 1971 record and its follow-up, 1972’s Hard Attack released on CD April 16th.  As an added bonus, the label will release a special vinyl edition released especially for Record Store Day on April 20th.  Both albums will be released on one single CD.

Most of today’s audiences might not recognize the name of Dust or its members under the band’s banner.  However as solo musicians, they came to much more fame.  Marc Bell went on to become Ramones drummer Marky Ramone.  After Dust disbanded, Aaronson went on to record and perform with some of rock’s top names, including: Bob Dylan, Sammy Hagar, and Joan Jett.  Wise and fellow songwriter Kenny Kenny Kerner went on to become a rather well known production duo.  Among the pair’s credits are the debut and sophomore albums from legendary rock act, K.I.S.S. 

The band’s members recently sat down and discussed the impact of the band on the music industry and memories of performing and recording.  We were loud and fast, and it was just unreal,” Wise said.  “When we got our record deal, I got three Marshall stacks, Kenny Aaronson bought four Acoustic 360 watt amps, Marc bought this huge set of Ludwigs with a big 28-inch bass drum.  On stage, it was just an amazing amount of exhale – not a whole lot of inhale.”  Bell echoed Wise’s thoughts.  “Musically, locally, we stuck out,” he said.  “We were teenagers, but we were pretty developed as musicians – concerning that genre.  Nobody else in Brooklyn that I knew of could do what we do as a threesome.  And we had a style.  Yeah, we could all play blues and rock, but we took it further.  We took it to different time changes within the songs, and people weren’t doing that at that time.”

Bassist Aaronson shared his own thoughts as the topic of the remasters came up.  “We tweaked it a bit,” he said.  “But didn’t want to stray too far from the original, because that’s what people who do know it are used to.  If it was up to me, I was thinking, ‘I wish I could remix the whole record,’ but the remastering was nice.” 

Wise’s co-songwriter Kerner also shared his thoughts on the music.  He expressed his feelings about the relevancy of the band’s music in today’s music industry.  “I think the music is relevant today,” he said.  “I think young kids who never heard it before will find new metal heroes, and people who grew up with Dust will rekindle their love for this music and this band.”  For more from the band, fans can go online to YouTube at http://www.youtu.be/U4KnOFDxW0c.  For more information on the band’s upcoming re-issues, audiences can go online to http://www.legacyrecordings.com.

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Official Record Store Day Poster Released

Courtesy:  Experience Hendrix, Inc./Merlis for Hire

Courtesy: Experience Hendrix, Inc./Merlis for Hire

The official poster for the 2013 Record Store Day—Saturday, April 20th–has been released.  The poster in question features legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix in record store.  The original photo was taken by photographer Ira Rosen just before the release of Hendrix’s famed album, Are You Experienced.  It just so happened that Hendrix was a fan of record stores and was spending the morning of that photo shopping around for some of the day’s latest releases. 

Hendrix’s sister Janie—the head of Experience Hendrix, Inc.—spoke on the use of the photograph.  Here is what she had to say regarding her brother being used to promote Record Store Day.  “It’s entirely appropriate that an image of Jimi Hendrix is on the official Record Store Day poster.  He was an avid music fan and record collector himself and, of course, his recordings are among the most enduring and cherished of all time.  Jimi’s musical legacy and influence grow with every passing year, so in a sense, he makes Record Store Day last much, much longer than 24 hours.”

The poster featuring Hendrix will be printed in very limited quantity.  Only 5,000 copies of the poster will be printed.  The 24” x 36” poster will be printed on heavy paper and gratis to fans who take part in Record Store Day at record stores across the country.  Fans interested in getting their hands on a poster should contact their local record store ahead of time to get details on whether their store will carry copies of the poster.

As an added bonus to the poster, Experience Hendrix, Inc. will also make available in celebration of Record Store Day a 7” vinyl single featuring the original mono mixes of ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Stone Free.’  Neither of these mixes has been available since their original 1966 release. 

The upcoming celebration of Jimi Hendrix’s life and legacy comes fresh on the heels of the release of the new Hendrix album, People, Hell & Angels, which will be released Tuesday, March 5th.  Record Store Day is held on the third Saturday of April each year.  This year marks the sixth consecutive year that music fans will celebrate Record Store Day.

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Experience Hendrix Announces New Slate of Releases for 2013

Bob Merlis/M.f.h./Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

Bob Merlis/M.f.h./Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

The world celebrated the seventieth anniversary of the birth of the iconic musician Jimmy Hendrix this past November.  While the anniversary has passed, Experience Hendrix, LLC continues to celebrate his legacy with more new releases this winter.  The company is set to release a new compilation of previously unreleased material in March titled, People, Hell and Angels.  In anticipation of the upcoming release, the single, ‘Somewhere’ is now available online at http://www.rollingstone.com.  The song is just one of the twelve tracks that comprise the new release.  It will also be available in a variety of formats beginning February 5th.  It will be available as a CD single available only at Wal-Mart.  It will also be available as a digital single and a special double-sided vinyl single available only at independent record stores nationwide.  The vinyl single will come with a bonus B-side that is a previously unreleased recording of ‘Power of Soul’ recorded by Band of Gypsys.  The CD single will come with a bonus live recording of ‘Foxey Lady’ recorded live at the Fillmore East in January 1970.  Both the vinyl and CD singles will be limited editions.

The upcoming album and limited edition singles are just part of the ongoing celebration of Hendrix’s birth and life.  Now, Experience Hendrix, LLC has made a new announcement about even more releases.  Along with the upcoming release of People, Hell and Angels, Experience Hendrix, LLC will also release a pair of Hendrix’s classic albums on 12” mono vinyl’s for true Hendrix aficionados.   The companion releases will be re-issues of his classic albums, Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love.  Both albums will be struck on 200-gram audiophile vinyl.  Each one will be individually numbered and will include original artwork and sequencing.

The track listing for each vinyl is as follows:

Are You Experienced (U.S. Sequence and Artwork)

Side 1                                                    Side 2

1.  Purple Haze                                  1.  The Wind Cries Mary

2.  Manic Depression                      2.  Fire

3.  Hey Joe                                          3.  3rd Stone From The Sun

4.  Love or Confusion                      4.  Foxey Lady

5.  May This Be Love                       5.  Are You Experienced

6.  I Don’t Live Today

Are You Experienced (U.K. Sequence and Artwork)

Side 1                                                    Side 2

1.  Foxey Lady                                    1.  May This Be Love

2.  Manic Depression                      2.  Third Stone From the Sun

3.  Red House                                    3.  Remember

4.  Can You See Me                         4.  Are You experienced

5.  Love or Confusion

6.  I Don’t Live Today

 

Axis: Bold as Love

Side 1                                                    Side 2

1.  EXP                                                   1.  You Got Me Floating

2.  Up From the Skies                     2.  Castles Made of Sand

3.  Spanish Castle Magic                                3.  She’s So Fine

4.  Wait Until Tomorrow                4.  One Rainy Wish

5.  Little Wing                                     5.  Little Miss Lover

6.  If 6 Was 9                                       6.  Bold as Love

 

For all of the latest news on the latest Hendrix releases and more, fans can go online to http://www.jimihendrix.com.

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Legendary Live Hendrix Show Is Among 2012′s Best Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony legacy

The 1960’s and 1970’s were without a doubt two of the most turbulent eras in America’s history.  They were eras of political and social unres.  By contast, they were also eras that created some of the greatest music in the country’s history, too.  One of the greatest names in music in those days was a young man from Seattle, Washington by the name of Jimi Hendrix.  His music epitomized the free expression of the time.  It also captured the tensions of the times.  Nowhere was this more evident than at his performance at the Berkeley Community Theater in Berkeley, California on Memorial Day, 1970.

The two concerts held that day were among the most important and impressive of Hendrix’s career.  The footage of the unrest right outside the theater as Hendrix played was a complete juxtaposition of the vibe of togetherness inside the theater.  His music became an escape for those in attendance as conflict brewed outside.  That both shows sold out that day showed Hendrix’s influence; his ability to join people together for peace, love, and music, despite all the problems of the world.  Just over forty-two years have passed since his performances that day.  That the original footage from those shows has lasted so long is simply incredible.  And thank goodness it did.  It captured an important momtn both in music history and American history.  Because it has been so well preserved, music lovers the world over can re-live these two shows on CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and even on double disc 200 gram vinyl.

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

The brand new release, “Jimi Plays Berkeley” is part of a bigger collection celebrating what would have been his 70th birthday later this year.  If Jimi were alive today, it would have been one heck of a gift to him.  Instead, it’s a gift to fans of his music, and music lovers in general.  Being that over four decades have passed since these shows were originally recorded, audiences will be amazed at thequality of the video and audio transfer.  Reading the included story of the journey made by the footage adds to the appreciation of the performances.

Those who pick up the blu-ray presentation of “Jimi Plays Berkeley” get more than just one amazing concert, speaking of footage.  Included in the blu-ray set is the second set that is also available in CD only format.  This is a big bonus for audiences.  It allows them to choose whether they want the CD, the blu-ray, or even both.  Even if fans pick up the DVD, they are still getting a performance that is not only one of 2012’s best live recordings, but also one of music’s greatest live shows.  “Jimi Plays Berkeley” is available now in stores and at most online retailers.

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

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