Album Review: "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (4 CD/ 1 DVD Collectors Box)"
Before I get started, I must let you know that this album is absolutely essential if you are a Hendrix fan. If you aren't a Hendrix fan, but you know one, if you give that person a copy of "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology" for Christmas, that person is likely to leave you something in their will.
A brand new release just arrived in my mailbox today from Experience Hendrix. It appears as though Experience Hendrix, is now partnered with Sony Legacy, after spending the last decade or so partnered with Universal.
It's called "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology"
Well I can understand why (::::crickets::::) might just be your first reaction to this news if you are a longtime Hendrix fan. After all most of the Hendrix material that has been released over the past few years has actually done more to damage the legacy of Jimi Hendrix than had those projects never been released. From ill conceived "tribute albums" to the so called "Band of Gypsy's Rehearsals" (that would have been best left unheard) to the awful Band of Gypsy's Reunion album (Which you can hear me and Buddy Miles discussing/trashing the album, during our 3 hour interview just prior to his passing at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.net/buddymiles.ram)
As well you might imagine, all of this was quite distressing to me on a personal level. Jimi Hendrix is one of the three "core artists" of the www.Soul-Patrol.com website (the other two are Miles Davis & Smokey Robinson/Miracles.) The musical/cultural breakthrough that Jimi Hendrix facilitated in the late 60's is a watershed event in American history. In short, without a Jimi Hendrix in 1968 (or someone like him) there could not have been a Barrack Obama in 2008. In fact, even today 40 years after his passing Jimi Hendrix is STILL one of the top 5 most recognizable Black Americans on Planet Earth (Michael Jackson, Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama, Muhammad Ali)
So you can imagine how upsetting it has been for me for damn near a whole decade to have to either write a negative review or no review at all of the various Hendrix projects that have come out over the past few years.
However, this "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology," leaves me breathless.
(if you dig Hendrix)
About a month ago, I got the single disc "sampler" in the mail and fired up the CD player... Awesome, awesome, awesome
First off....great sound quality
Secondly (and most important)...
ISLEY BROS (w/JIMI HENDRIX) - TESTIFY (PT1&2)
This is the first time in my life that I have ever owned a "pristine" copy of the song ISLEY BROS (w/JIMI HENDRIX) - TESTIFY (PT1&2). And as soon as I heard it on the sampler, I knew that the album; "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology" was going to be something truly special.
If you go to the following link on the Soul-Patrol.com website
(http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/testify.htm) you will see that we have an ENTIRE page devoted to the song. Not only do we go into a detailed analysis of "ISLEY BROS (w/JIMI HENDRIX) - TESTIFY (PT1&2)" but we also make a fairly compelling case for why "TESTIFY" just might be the VERY FIRST COMMERCIAL FUNK RECORDING.
And that really is the point...
As a person who has fanatically immersed himself into the legacy of Jimi Hendrix, since he was a teenager in the early 1970's, I have always been offended by the marginalization of his work prior to going over to England in 1967. The inclusion of this song on the sampler told me all I needed to know about what the perspective of the full album was going to be.
When I opened up the envelope the "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology" package fell out. I picked it up and looked at the cover. The cover is a collage of photographs of Jimi Hendrix. About 1/2 of these photos are of Jimi Hendrix, prior to 1967. Then I flipped it over and read the track listing of the 4 disc set....
Isley Brothers - Testify (1964)
Don Covay & the Goodtimers - Mercy, Mercy (1964 - #1 Cashbox R&B - #35 Billboard Hot 100)
Don Covay & the Goodtimers - Can't Stay Away (1964)
Rosa Lee Brooks - My Diary (1965 - written by Arthur Lee)
Rosa Lee Brooks - Utee (1965)
Little Richard - I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me (1965)
Little Richard - Dancing All Around The World (1965)
Frank Howard & The Commanders - I'm So Glad (1966 - written by Billy Cox)
Isley Brothers - Move Over And Let Me Dance (1965)
Isley Brothers - Have You Ever Been Disappointed (1965)
Ray Sharpe - Help Me (Get The Feeling) (Part I) (1966)
The Icemen - (My Girl) She's A Fox (1966)
Jimmy Norman - That Little Old Groovemaker (1966)
Billy Lamont - Sweet Thang (1968)
King Curtis - Instant Groove (1969)
Fire (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Are You Experienced (1967) - Previously Unreleased Recording
May This Be Love (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Can You See Me (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Love Or Confusion (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Little One (1967) - Previously Unreleased Recording (featuring Dave Mason on sitar)
Mr. Bad Luck (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Cat Talking To Me (1967) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Castles Made Of Sand (1967) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Tears Of Rage (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Hear My Train A Comin' (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
1983 (A Merman I Shall Turn To Be) (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Long Hot Summer Night (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
My Friend (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Angel (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Calling All The Devil's Children (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
New Rising Sun (1968) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Hear My Freedom (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Room Full Of Mirrors (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Shame, Shame, Shame (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Messenger (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Hound Dog Blues (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Untitled Basic Track (1968) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Star Spangled Banner (1969) - Previously Unreleased Original Mix
Purple Haze (1969) - Previously Unreleased Original Mix
Young/Hendrix (1969) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Mastermind (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Message To Love (1969) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Fire (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Foxey Lady (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Stone Free (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording (live at the Fillmore East, New York, December 31, 1969)
Burning Desire (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Lonely Avenue (1969) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Everlasting First (1970) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording (featuring Arthur Lee)
Freedom (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Peter Gunn/Catastrophe (1970) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
In From The Storm (1970) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
All God's Children (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Red House (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Play That Riff [Thank You] (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Bolero (1970) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) - Previously Unreleased Alternate Recording
Suddenly November Morning (1970) - Previously Unreleased Recording
Of course the first thing that caught my eye is the track listing for disc #1. All classic 1960's R&B songs from the Isleys, Little Richard, Don Covay, King Curtis and more. These are all recordings that Jimi Hendrix played on as a sideman, including recordings that he made with our friend Rosa Lee Brooks, prior to the time he went to the UK and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
After you get past disc #1 you will notice that ALL of the rest of the songs on the other 3 discs are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED. In other words, I don't care how big of a Hendrix fan you might be, YOU AIN'T NEVA HEARD ANY OF THIS BEFORE.
And that's why it's essential to own....
Take for example disc #4...
the version of STONE FREE at the start of Disc #4. Of course it's a live recording from the Band of Gypsy's. But something is different, cuz it's a previously unreleased track (I guess?) It's way rawer/funkier. At first the song is a Buddy groove, then Jimi goes off, but still remains under the timekeeping of Buddy Miles, while Billy lays down the funky bass in the background. Hell the three of them sound great...
Or backtrack if you like to RED HOUSE, on the same disc. Of course RED HOUSE is Jimi's "blues standard." Here RED HOUSE just sounds so damn fresh and of course I know the reason why :) You see this version of RED HOUSE was recorded live at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30 1970. That means it was part of the same concert from which the live recording of "HEY BABY (LAND OF A NEW RISING SUN)" was taken from for the "Rainbow Bridge" album.
"HEY BABY (LAND OF A NEW RISING SUN)" also appears on disc #4 of "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology." However this is a different version than what appears on "Rainbow Bridge." This is a studio version, recorded at Electric Ladyland with Jimi, Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell and? "HEY BABY (LAND OF A NEW RISING SUN)" is directly preceded on disc #4 by "BOLERO." According to the liner notes the original intent was for "BOLERO" to flow right into "HEY BABY (LAND OF A NEW RISING SUN)," and that is how it had been recorded in the studio. However according to the liner notes, the original tapes were all "cut up," so the two songs had never been heard in the configuration that was originally intended till now (I learned something new)
Bouncing back to track #3 "LONELY AVENUE," a song that I had never heard before tonight. This is an AWESOME cut. According to the liner notes, it was recorded in the fall of 1969 and features Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and an "unknown percussionist." This song is a FUNKEE as it wants ta be. In fact you could drop this song right into Funkadelic's "Music For My Mother," and not miss a trick. I've already listened to this song 3 times. It's some d*ck burnin gonorrhea funk :)
I need to stop writing for the moment.
However there are tons of nuggets on this 4 disc set which also includes a DVD (which I haven't watched yet). For example there is the song "MASTERMIND" on disc # 3 which features the late Larry Lee on vocals & Rhythm guitar. YOUNG/HENDRIX also on disc #3 features organist Larry Young, and Jimi in an instrumental duel. On "MESSAGE TO LOVE" also on disc #3 Jimi's vocals have never been better. "HEAR MY FREEDOM" on disc #3 is a stnk azz funky run that is reminiscent of the song "Free Your Mind." Only problem is that "Free Your Mind" didn't come out till years after Hendrix died. I could go on and on.... (and perhaps I will soon) But not tonight.
All I can tell ya is that if you are a Hendrix fan, this collection called, "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology" is worth taking your last unemployment check, yeah I'm talkin about the one that you will get during your 99th (and last week of unemployment that the federal government will give you) week and purchasing "West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology."
(it's that good)
Quote of the Day: "move over rover and let Jimi take over..."
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com
Concert Review: The School of Black Rock...The Experience Hendrix Tour 2010
Tuesday evening at the Benedum Auditorium a class was indeed in session and the "students" were the audience in Pittsburgh as they got schooled by Billy Cox, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Brad Whitford. Pittsburgh was the kickoff location for the second part of the Experience Hendrix Tour. The former Stanley Theater became a classroom and Rock church for this sold out concert.
Despite the out standing performances a reviewer who obviously does not get it, said this in a local blog.
"I also got a few letters complaining about the antics of Living Colour, particularly front man Corey Glover. I agree they were a bit over the top, but they did add a spark of energy that the show needed, so it was a trade-off." Well here's what I saw. Living Colour got into a revival type atmosphere with their renditions of "Power of Soul" and "Crosstown Traffic". Corey Glover, the lead vocalist of the group, took to the floor and balcony of the auditorium and got the concert goers into a call and response frenzy."
Over the top? Give me a break.
The Experience Hendrix tour crisscrossed the country this past March for a string of concerts and returned with a new set of U.S. and Canadian dates for October and November. The tour offers multiple opportunities for performers and audiences to witness unique collaborations. Featured artists performing music associated with the legacy of Jimi Hendrix include some of the best known and highly regarded names in contemporary rock and blues including Jonny Lang, Steve Vai, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, The Slide Brothers a/k/a Chuck and Darick Campbell of Sacred Steel, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Brad Whitford (of Aerosmith), Noah Hunt, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Double Trouble's Chris Layton and Mato Nanji from Indigenous, along with bassist Billy Cox. The tour is presented by Experience Hendrix, LLC, the Hendrix family-owned company founded by James A. "Al" Hendrix, Jimi's father, entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.
Cox, is the legendary bassist whose relationship with Jim Hendrix and his music dates back to the early 1960s when the two met while serving in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. The two bonded over their love of music and would later work together backing R&B acts on the "chitlin' circuit." They reunited when Billy was recruited with Buddy Miles to be part of the Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies. Cox, who has been part of all previous Experience Hendrix tours, notes, "It's always a great thrill and honor for me to play Jimi's music for audiences now just as it was in the 1960s.The Experience Hendrix tours have shown how timeless this music really is and is just wonderful that we've continued to get an infusion of new, very enthusiastic artists to participate and are able to offer the most wide-ranging Jimi Hendrix-related repertoire possible."
Billy Cox also had a homecoming. Billy was born in nearby Wheeling, West Virginia and he attended Schenley High School in Pittsburgh before entering the Army. Along with Cox, Ernie Isley and drummer Chris Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughn fame, we became "Stone Free ", and got a "Message to Love" as part of an amazing concert. Ernie Isley gave an account as how when he was in school, many times he would witness Jimi and his brother's practice in the dining room of the Isley household in New Jersey while he did his homework. Hendrix lived and played with the Isley Brothers for over two years.
Will Calhoun , the drummer of Living Colour joined Ernie Isley onstage for "Manic Depression" as the guitar master put on a performance that included him playing the guitar with his teeth in classic Jimi Hendrix style. Other amazing performances included Brad Whitford, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai with Living Colour. The 43 song set concluded with Billy Cox on "Red House".
--Kevin Amos tha Funkoverlord
To Experience more of Jimi: Click here