Jimi Hendrix Re-experienced
With apologies to Jeff Beck and Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix is arguably the greatest rock guitarist of all time. While at times the reissuing of his catalog becomes redundant at best, the latest reissue series from Legacy is truly welcome. First up is Valleys of Neptune, an excellent single-disc, primarily of unreleased tracks, on par with First Rays of the New Rising Sun and South Saturn Delta, which were released in 1997, and BBC Sessions, which was released in 1998. The music here is from early 1968 and features the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the studio fresh off the success of the group’s monster double album Electric Ladyland. The disc includes versions in various stages of such Experience staples as “Stone Free,” “Fire” and “Red House.” While it’s great hearing different versions of those classics, there are plenty of previously unreleased tracks. Of particular note is the title track that fans have longed for as an official release, which includes Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and percussionist Juma Sultan. The other gems are previously unreleased covers of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and the Elmore James song “Bleeding Heart,” which features bassist Billy Cox, who would join Hendrix in the Band of Gypsys and drummer Rocky Isaac. Other previously unreleased tracks include “Ships Passing Through the Night” and “Lullaby for the Summer/Crying Blue Rain.” While some of these songs appeared in different versions on previous reissues, these versions are either far superior or are now the only official releases of the songs that are still in print. The other reissues in the series include the first three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums (Are You Experienced, Axis Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland) and the previously mentioned First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Each set includes a remastered disc of the original album, a 36-page booklet and a bonus DVD that includes making of the album documentaries.
Oasis: What’s the Story?
In what will no doubt be the final word on the career of Oasis, Big Brother/Columbia is releasing Time Flies…1994-2009. While it’s always possible that the feuding Gallagher brothers may get back together again, after 15 years and a lifetime of brotherly infighting, it would appear that this could be it for Oasis. Released in three separate configurations, this collection features the band’s 26 A-side, single releases on two-CD’s. A four-disc version also includes a DVD compilation of all the bands video clips and a CD of the final concert that Oasis performed that was recorded at the Roundhouse in London in July of 2009. A U.K., five-album vinyl version of the package is also available.
Joan Armatrading Live
Fans of Joan Armatrading won’t want to miss the DVD Steppin’ Out, Greatest Hits Live from Rockpalast. This 1980 concert, filmed at Armatrading’s peak in Germany is a reminder of what a powerful and unique artist she was at that point in her career. The DVD is also a reminder of what a major influence she would have on future artists such as Tracy Chapman, among others. The disc includes a bonus interview.