The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Sony Seminal masterpiece gets deserved bells, whistles and package.
Electric Ladyland was the most complete manifestation of Hendrix’s stratospheric but beleaguered visions to be realised while he was still alive. Too expansive for a single disc after exploring 12-track recording, the album presented Jimi’s past (R&B title ballad, Come On), present (Crosstown Traffic, House Burning Down) and future (epic sound painting 1983), while the blues remained his timeless backbone on Gypsy Eyes, heaving delta jam Voodoo Chile and its searing Slight Return offspring. Throw in All Along The Watchtower and the album stands as a career peak and an era classic.
The guardians of Jimi’s legacy knew they had to amp up previous reissues to mark its half century, and they have. This Deluxe Edition presents the newly remastered original (with Central Park cover photo Hendrix wanted before label Track insisted on green-tinged naked ladies), along with bootleg-familiar demos that still offer something new to the legal marketplace. These March ’68 solo sketches Jimi recorded on his reel-to-reel at Manhattan’s Drake Hotel (joined by early studio sojourns) include tracks that didn’t make the album (Angel, Cherokee Mist) and ones that did (Voodoo Chile, 1983, Long Hot Summer Night and Rainy Day, Dream Away).
Then there’s September 1968’s Hollywood Bowl at which fans invaded the stage-front pond, tangible mayhem drawing a good-natured but inflammatory performance against threats to cut the power (Jimi mind-blowing on I Don’t Live Today and Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze).
The Blu-ray disc contains the insightful 1997 TV documentary At Last The Beginning… The Making Of Electric Ladyland, Eddie Kramer’s 5.1 surround-sound mix and another in hi-res stereo. The fulsome book presents Jimi’s handwritten lyrics, David Fricke’s spot-on notes, and fab pics.
“I don’t consider myself a success. I haven’t even started yet,” Jimi declared in an interview. Maybe not the sonic galaxies glimpsed through his mental telescope, but he had opened the gate to uncharted musical realms glimpsed on his first two albums. Jimi spent the next two years exploring new possibilities in this world before being taken far too early to the next.
Experience Hendrix have done him proud with this reissue. Take it as his ultimate monument.