‘Both Sides Of The Sky’ Available Now; Performance & More Planned For Celebration

Photo Credit: Mike Berkofsky

The wait is officially over for the latest Jimi Hendrix compilation.

Both Sides of the Sky hit stores and online outlets today.  The 13-song record, co-produced by Hendrix’s lontime producer and friend Eddie Kramer, Hendrix’s sister Janie and fellow friend John McDermott, is available on CD, 2LP vinyl and digital platforms.  In celebration of the record’s release, an all-star cast of musicians — Billy Cox (whose work can be heard throughout the compilation), Buddy Guy, Nato Nanji, Tim Austin and The Slide Brothers — will perform live on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! next Tuesday, March 13.

Fashion designer John Varvatos is also joining the celebration.  He has created a new t-shirt featuring exclusive artwork.  the shirt is available exclusively via Varvatos stores, online and via retail partner Bloomingdales.  As an added bonus, the album’s 2LP vinyl pressings are also being sold in select John Varvatos locations.

The record’s track listing is noted below.

Both Sides of the Sky tracklist:

1)    Mannish Boy*

2)    Lover Man*

3)    Hear My Train A Comin’*

4)    Stepping Stone*

5)    $20 Fine*+

6)    Power Of Soul^

7)    Jungle*

8)    Things I Used to Do#

9)    Georgia Blues++

10)  Sweet Angel*

11)  Woodstock*+

12)  Send My Love To Linda*

13)  Cherokee Mist*

 *Previously unreleased

^ Previously unavailable extended version

+Featuring Stephen Stills

#Featuring Johnny Winter

++Featuring Lonnie Youngblood

Produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott for Experience Hendrix, L.L.C.

More information on Both Sides of the Sky is available online now along with all of the latest Hendrix news at:

 

Website: http://www.jimihendrix.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JimiHendrix

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JimiHendrix

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

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‘Both Sides Of The Sky’ Is Another Fitting Tribute To The Legacy Of Jimi Hendrix

Photo Credit: Mike Berkofsky

The wait for the next new Jimi Hendrix album is almost over. This Friday, March 9, Both Sides of the Sky will finally be available in stores and online. This 13-song, 66-minute collection of previously unreleased compositions, it goes without saying, was one that was well worth the wait, and a fitting finale to the trilogy of albums started eight years ago with 2010’s Valleys of Neptune. It is a record that will easily appeal to Hendrix’s longtime fans while also serving as yet another solid introduction to him and his body of work for those less familiar with said music. That is due in no small part to the songs that make up the record’s body. They will be discussed shortly. The companion booklet that comes with the album’s physical copy also plays an important part in making the album so impressive. It will be discussed later. The album’s production and sequencing collectively round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own way, as will be pointed out through this review. All things considered, they make it a must have for Hendrix fans of all ages and one of this year’s best new overall albums.

Both Sides of the Sky, the latest Jimi Hendrix compilation record from Experience Hendrix, LLC and Legacy Recordings, is one of this year’s top new overall albums and a must have for Hendrix fans of all ages, hands down. That statement is proven in part through the songs that make up the body of this new compilation. As has been noted already so many times, the songs featured in this record were crafted at the height of Hendrix’s career. Given, not all of the songs featured here are his — the record’s opener is a Muddy Waters cover and ‘The Things I Used To Do’ pays homage to blues legend Guitar Slim. It also features Johnny Winter alongside Hendrix. There is even a take of Joni Mitchell’s hit single ‘Woodstock’ featuring none other than Stephen Stills (of CSNY fame) alongside Hendrix and company — but each of the songs still stands firmly on its own merits. One of the best of the featured songs is the extended take ‘Hear My Train A’ Comin’.’ This bluesy, down-tempo, fuzz-filled composition expertly puts on display Hendrix’s rock chops right alongside his blues talents alongside those of drummer Mitch Mitchell, who just as expertly keeps the song moving forward even with all of his fills, and bassist Noel Redding (the other 2/3 of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience). The overall impact of the trio’s combined talents serves to — as is noted in the album’s liner notes (which again will be discussed later) — push “blues far beyond any parameters its founders had ever imagined.”

‘$20 Fine’ is another of the featured songs that serves to show why the music in this record is so important to its presentation. This laid back arrangement, complete with organ and vocals from Stephen Stills is completely unlike anything else that Hendrix had recorded in his career. That’s because it wasn’t the standard blues-based rock arrangement or even straight up blues arrangement for which he had become known. Rather, it was more along the lines of works from CSNY, The Doobie Brothers and others of that ilk. What’s really impressive here is that even being such a departure for Hendrix, he still pulls off his line with full expertise. When the fuzz of his guitar line couples with Stills’ vocals, the organ and the song’s other elements, the end result is one of the album’s most standout moments.

In the same vein as ‘$20 Fine,’ ‘Woodstock’ is another departure for Hendrix in this collection. Unlike that composition, the organ takes center stage this time, laying the foundation for the arrangement. Buddy Miles’ work on the kit solidly builds on that foundation while Stills’ vocal delivery puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Even more impressive is that while it is more of a roots rock-based arrangement — again like ‘$20 Fine’ — it doesn’t just re-has that song’s arrangement. Instead it boasts its own arrangement that is just as enjoyable as that of the prior song and even the rest of the album’s entries. What’s really interesting here is that considering the time at which this song was crafted, its arrangement leaves one wondering if maybe Hendrix didn’t play at least some influence in the development of Deep Purple’s sound. Yes, this critic just aligned Jimi Hendrix with Deep Purple. Those familiar with their music history will hear the comparison, too. Odds are there likely isnt’ a connection, but one can’t deny the similarity between the latter’s work to the prior, regardless. That in itself shows even more the importance of this song to this record’s whole. When it is joined with the rest of the songs not noted here, the end result there is proof positive of why the album’s songs are key to the album’s presentation. They are not the album’s only collectively important element. The record’s companion booklet is just as important to its whole as its songs.

The companion booklet that comes with Both Sides of the Sky is critical to its overall presentation in that it provides audiences with so much valuable and interesting back story on the songs in question first and foremost. Right off the top, audiences learn through the booklet’s provided information that the recording of ‘Mannish Boy’ marked the very first recording session for the group that would eventually go on to be called Band of Gypsys. Each song’s personnel is listed in the back of the booklet — yet another positive to the booklet, proving again why the physical object is better than the digital — allowing listeners to learn that the group in question consisted of Hendrix, Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. Another interesting piece of information provided in the album’s companion booklet is the revelation that ‘Lover Man’ featured a tribute to the original 1966 Batman series. It’s a tribute that otherwise might not have even been realized, even with the riff, without this note. The liner notes also reveal that ‘Send My Love to Linda’ was never completed, so the version presented here is an edit of sorts that was done to “complete” it. What’s more listeners also learn in this discussion that just as with ‘Send My Love to Linda,’ much of Hendrix’s creative work was done in studio rather than outside. As if all of this is not enough, listeners are also treated to an in-depth back story on ‘Power of Soul’ that includes note of its creation starting with Hendrix hearing Cox playing a bass line from a song called ‘Mary Ann,’ which was made famous by Ray Charles. The take featured here, the notes state, was just one of a handful of takes recorded for the song. Audiences learn that the masters for an abridged take of the song were lost and have never been found. That shortened version, audiences learn, was included in the rare 1974 Hendrix record Crash Landing. This in-depth back story is just one more example of what makes this album’s companion booklet so critical to the album’s whole. When it is joined with the rest of the stories presented in the booklet, including the revelation that until now ‘Georgia Blues’ — which was part of the soundtrack to PBS’ documentary Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues — has never been commercially available, the whole of the stories makes the booklet its own entertaining presentation. When it is coupled with the songs, that pairing shows even more clearly why this record is so impressive. Even with that in mind, there is still at least one more element to discuss that makes the album so enjoyable. That element is the record’s collective production and sequencing.

The collective production and sequencing presented throughout Both Sides of the Sky are pivotal to its presentation because without the time, thought and effort put into these elements, the booklet and songs themselves would be worthless. Luckily, the team of John McDermott (who also crafted the booklet’s liner notes), Hendrix’s sister and not least of all Hendrix’s longtime producer Eddie Kramer, didn’t allow that to happen. It was thanks to their tireless efforts that each song was expertly re-mastered prior to being presented. Every riff, every word and every note is clearly represented in every single song. At no point does one part overpower the others. In other words, each song is expertly balanced, giving listeners the full experience. Staying on that note the effect of that time and effort is heightened even more through the record’s sequencing. Thanks to the time and thought put into the album’s sequencing, the energy that is exhibited through that expert production never wavers. That is the case even in the slower, full-on blues arrangements. Even as they are slower in tempo, the power in their arrangements still maintains the energy exhibited in the album’s other songs. Keeping this in mind, the whole of the album’s production and sequencing goes a long way in itself toward making this record enjoyable. When it is considered alongside the record’s songs and stories, the whole of those elements shows without doubt why Both Sides of the Sky is a must have for Hendrix fans and true music lovers alike and why it is unquestionably one of this year’s top new overall albums.

Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recording’s latest Jimi Hendrix compilation Both Sides of the Sky is a wonderful must have for Hendrix fans and true music lovers alike. What’s more, it is one of this year’s top new overall albums. These statements are supported in part through the album’s featured songs. They give listeners something familiar and also something not so familiar, showing the reach of Hendrix’s talents. The stories provided by John McDermott — who co-produced the album with Hendrix’s longtime producer Eddie Kramer and Hendrix’s sister Janie — add even more interest and depth to the record. That is because they make the record’s companion booklet its own entertaining element. The collective production and sequencing used here put the finishing touch to the album’s presentation. Each element is important, as has been noted in this review. All things considered, they make Both Sides of the Sky another solid Hendrix offering from Experience Hendrix, LLC and Legacy Recordings, one that is, once more, one of this year’s top new overall albums. more information on Both Sides of the Sky is available online now along with all of the latest Hendrix news at:

Website: http://www.JimiHendrix.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JimiHendrix

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JimiHendrix

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sony Legacy’s Latest Hendrix Profile Is One Of The Best Overall Albums Of 2015

Courtesy:  Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix, LLC

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix, LLC

Sony Legacy’s new record You Can’t Use My Name is one of this year’s best new records. It is also one of the most important pieces of music history to be released in a long time. The record is a compilation of songs on which legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix lended his talents during his short stint with Curtis Knight and the Squires from 1965 – 1966. The songs culled for this record have never been released in any form. That is,as is noted in the album’s companion booklet, a result of legal issues that were only hammered out by the people at Experience Hendrix, LLC. Speaking of the booklet, it is just one part of what makes this record so important regardless of one’s level of knowledge in regards to Hendrix and his body of work. Confused? It’ll all be explained shortly. First and foremost though, the songs are central to the overall enjoyment of the record. They, along with the record’s companion booklet, make perfectly clear why any music lover overall will want to hear this record. Last but not least of all worth noting is the production values of the songs presented across the record. Considering that they have apparently sat in limbo for decades, they sound especially impressive in this presentation. Each element by itself makes You Can’t Use My Name enjoyable for any Jimi Hendrix fan. All three elements taken collectively into account they prove this record to be an equally important piece of music history. That collective importance and enjoyment makes You Can’t Use My Name one of this year’s best new album’s overall and a piece that both Hendrix fans and music lovers overall should add to his or her collection.

There is a lot to be said of Sony Legacy’s new compilation You Can’t Use My Name. The fourteen-track record is a compilation of songs that were recorded by legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix between 1965 and 1966 when he served as a backup member of Curtis Knight’s group Curtis Knight & The Squires. Its release on Tuesday, March 24th marks the first time ever that these songs have seen the light of day. They have hung in limbo for so long because of legal issues that Experience Hendrix, LLC only recently finally got settled. The issues in question had to do with ownership and distribution rights for the songs. The efforts to get the rights to the songs were well worth it as listeners will agree in hearing these songs. As listeners will note on this record, Hendrix’s guitar playing in each one of the compilation’s songs displays the roots of his talents. His guitar solo on ‘Gotta Have a New Dress’ and his work on the near seven-minute-long ‘Knock Yourself Out (Flying on Instruments) both display those roots. Though, the latter of the two shows more hints of the timeless tunes that he would churn out in the years to come with Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, and Billy Cox. For all of the breadth of talent displayed by both Hendrix and the members of The Squires on this record, listeners get to hear a glimpse of the consequences of those talents in the uncut take of ‘Gloomy Monday.’ Listeners hear Hendrix talking to Curtis Squires and to producer Ed Chalpin, head of PPX in regards to his name being used in the song’s credits. His reasoning for keeping his name off of the recording is fully justified, as audiences will read in the album’s companion booklet. Speaking of that story and the booklet in whole, the companion booklet that comes with You Can’t Use My Name both that story and the larger story presented in the booklet proves to be another reason that music lovers and Hendrix fans alike will enjoy and appreciate You Can’t Use My Name.

So many consumers today have turned away from purchasing physical albums and turned more towards directly downloading specific songs from given acts’ albums. Ever since the creation of iTunes so many years ago, people have increasingly turned their backs on the physical object. The main argument given for this turn is that there are so few full albums worth purchasing anymore. To a certain point, that argument does hold water. In the case of You Can’t Use My Name, it is an argument that is one giant hole. In this case, the hole is so large not only because of the amount of impressive songs included for the compilation’s body but for the inclusion of its companion booklet. The booklet included with You Can’t Use My Name gives an in-depth background on Hendrix’s early days and his rise to stardom as the mouthpiece of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. While many audiences know plenty about Hendrix’s time with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys, it’s likely that far fewer audiences know about the legal issues that he faced during his rise to stardom. The booklet included with You Can’t Use My Name outlines in detail the legal issues in question courtesy of writer John McDermott. Those legal issues even boil over onto the album itself as can be heard in the rough cut of ‘Gloomy Monday.’ McDermott goes so far as to clearly transcribe the conversation heard between Hendrix, Knight, and PPX head Ed Chalpin before the recording begins. It clearly displays Hendrix as being very untrusting of Chalpin but trying to play off his discomfort at the situation in which he had found himself. That’s just part of the whole story that makes this record a must have for any music lover, historian or Hendrix fan. McDermott goes on to detail how perhaps Hendrix’s own interpretation of his contract with PPX versus Chalpin’s view obviously led to the ongoing dispute and the rift formed between Hendrix and Chalpin. McDermott notes in his history that these disputes followed Hendrix into his career with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It would explain why in Sony Legacy’s Hendrix documentaries Jimi Plays Berkeley (2012), The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hear My Train A’ Comin’ (2013), and Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight, Hendrix is seen as being somewhat closed off from others while not on stage. He even shows a little of that side on-stage, too. It is visible and audible in his stage presence. Despite his powerhouse performances, he himself comes across as being a little reserved for lack of better wording. The impact of these legal issues would seem to explain at least to some extent that reserved nature. Regardless of whether or not the legal issues outlined in You Can’t Use My Name’s companion booklet played a role in who Jimi Hendrix became over time, one can’t help but wonder. The very revelation of those issues–which may or may not have played a role in his personal life–thanks to John McDermott and the potential discussions that they could lead to as noted here, prove without a doubt why the booklet included with You Can’t Use My Name is just as important to the whole as the music itself. It still is not all worth noting of what makes the record work, either. The record’s production values are well worth noting, too.

The music chosen for You Can’t Use My Name and the record’s companion booklet are both of equal importance to the record’s enjoyment and success. That has been noted above. The music presents Hendrix before he was a star. And not only that, but it also presents a clear picture of his musical roots. The in-depth history of the legal issues challenging Hendrix as his star rose is just as key to the record’s enjoyment and success. It is more ammo in the argument in favor of owning the physical object and against the digital. Those that buy the album in its physical form will get the full experience, including that history and music. Those that only download the music won’t get the full background on the music and why the songs on this record are so important in the overall history of popular music and of Jimi Hendrix’s career. Now, having noted all of this, the music and the history lesson behind the music would be useless without quality production values. From the socio-politically charged protest piece that is ‘How Would You Feel’ to the uptempo, blues-infused instrumental that is Knock Yourself Out (Flying on Instruments) to the album’s controversial closer ‘Gloomy Monday,’ each song collected for the album sounds equally impressive. And that is thanks to those charged with resurrecting them and re-mastering them. If not for their painstaking efforts, none of the elements noted above would mean anything and this record would otherwise end up collecting dust on store shelves. But thankfully that is not the case. Because it isn’t the case, every song on the record is equally worth the listen. In hearing the quality sound of each song and taking in the important history behind the songs, listeners that are open-minded enough will agree that You Can’t Use My Name is not only one of this year’s best new albums but one of the most important pieces of 20th Century music history to come along in a very long time.

You Can’t Use My Name proves in the end to be an aptly titled new collection of songs from Experience Hendrix, LLC and Sony Legacy. The history provided behind the songs courtesy of John McDermott illustrates this clearly and concisely. This leads the songs themselves to prove all the more valuable both because of Hendrix’s performance on each one and simply for the fact that they were held in music limbo for so long. And thanks to the hard work of those charged with restoring the songs, the songs are clear and completely enjoyable. The end result of all of these elements is an album that once again proves to be one of the year’s best overall new records and one of the best pieces of 20th Century music history to come along in a very long time. You Can’t Use My Name will be available Tuesday, March 24th in stores and online. Though, the purchase of the physical item in the case is highly recommended. More information on this and other titles from Experience Hendrix, LLC and Sony Legacy is available online now at:

Website: http://www.jimihendrix.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JimiHendrix

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Blue Wild Angel Is A Fitting Memorial To Hendrix’s Legacy

Courtesy:  Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix, LLC released their latest archived live Jimi Hendrix performance this week.  Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week.  The latest archived concert to be released by Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix, LLC, this archived concert is one more wonderful addition to the ongoing series of archived concerts that the companies have released in recent years.  The first reason for that is the concert’s set list.  Included in this concert are some familiar pieces.  There are also some not so familiar pieces included in the show’s set list, too.  Those songs are a great addition to the concert in whole.  Just as worth noting in this new concert recording is the show’s collective audio and video mix. The recording’s bonus material—primarily the interview with director Murray Lerner and the bonus live footage of ‘Hey Joe’—completes the presentation, making Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel a definite candidate for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings.

Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel is one of the most important live recordings that any Jimi Hendrix fan and music historian alike should add to their own collection. The reason for that is that while it wasn’t his last concert, it was his final full official performance before his untimely passing in late 1970. One of the key reasons that viewers will enjoy this concert recording so much is that it includes more than the typical Hendrix hits. He pays homage to The Beatles with a performance of the title track from the band’s 1967 alum Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band early on. Before the concert begins, there is a near fifteen-minute documentary of sorts that sets the stage so to speak, for the concert. During the course of the documentary, Hendrix notes in some of the footage that he was in fact a fan of The Beatles. Taking this into account, that comment makes Hendrix’s performance of the Beatles’ hit all the more special. Audiences will agree that Hendrix does the song justice even with his rendition. Just as intriguing is the juxtaposition of Jimi, Mitch [Mitchell] (drums) and Billy [Cox] (bass) performing ‘God Save The Queen.’ It is intriguing in that also included in the pre-concert mini-documentary” is a clip of Jimi discussing his performance of the National Anthem at Woodstock and the reaction to said performance. He also discusses his military service with Cavett during said clip. It makes the group’s performance of ‘God Save The Queen’ almost a response of sorts to those that came out against him for his rendition of the National Anthem even after the fact. Add in performances of ‘Dolly Dagger,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘Spanish Castle Music,’ and others that are less commonly seen in previous Hendrix live recordings alongside Hendrix’s standards, and audiences get a set list that by itself, makes plenty of reason to check out this new live recording.

The set list that Jimi and his band mates had assembled for what would be their last full official concert is in itself reason enough for audiences and music historians to want to purchase this recording. The collective audio and video mix of this recording makes it even more of a success. Almost forty-five years (that’s almost three quarters of a century) later, the footage looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original recording. That is a testament to those charged with bringing the concert back to life for audiences of all ages. The footage looks and sounds especially good in its transfer to Blu-ray. The grainy quality of the original recording is still there. So that vintage feel was not lost in the transfer. It just looks more well defined for lack of better wording. And the audio is just as impressive. It sounds impressive on an HDTV. But those with home theater systems will truly appreciate the quality of the audio in the original concert audio’s re-mastering and transfer to Blu-ray. Making the experience even more special is the inclusion of extra camera angles on specific songs as bonus material. It adds even more to the overall experience, especially being that they largely come from the stage.

Speaking of bonus material, the bonus performance of Jimi and company performing ‘Hey Joe’ puts the final piece in place for this recording. The performance had not been included in the original concert recording. So having it included this time gives audiences the full experience in terms of the show’s set list. The bonus interview with director Murray Lerner rounds out the presentation. His insight and behind-the-scenes tidbits regarding the pre-show preps and reaction by the fans shows a troubled show that seemingly came close to not happening. And even when it did happen, it wasn’t without its share of problems. But because it did happen, audiences today get what is a fitting final end to a career that would ultimately be cut far too short.

Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. It can be ordered directly from the official Jimi Hendrix website, http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/home. More information on this and other Hendrix releases, as well as the upcoming 2014 Experience Hendrix Tour and more Jimi Hendrix news, is available via the official Jimi Hendrix website and Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/JimiHendrix. 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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 https://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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