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“Moreover, the primal energy of Ezy Rider and Room Full Of Mirrors presaged the funk explosion of the 1970’s and 80’s which followed in his footsteps”
--John McDermott (Liner Notes of First Rays Of The New Rising Sun)
“Hey baaaaaby.....where do you come from....well she looked at me and smiled & looked in to space and said....I’m coming from the Land Of A New Rising Sun....then I said Hey babaaaay ....where ya trying to go to ??..
--Jimi Hendrix - Hey Baby (Land Of The New Rising Sun)
"Long haired hippies.....afro blacks.....all get together across the tracks.....cause when we shows... up rhyhtm shows up.."
--Digable Planets - "Jimi's Diggin Cats"
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Rainbow Bridge was my favorite Hendrix album. Although Band of Gypsy’s is really Jimi’s first FUNK album, it really was just a taping of a live concert. Rainbow Bridge was an album produced after his death which provides the strongest evidence of where Jimi was going with his music.
It has always been thought that Rainbow Bridge & Cry of Love together would have comprised the double album that Jimi was working on at the time of his death.
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
is that album and with a few minor complaints, in my opinion it is a masterpiece. It’s the album I have been waiting for since 1972 !!
The liner notes are 20 pages or so and well written. For the first time we see documented on a Jimi Hendrix album that he was in fact a FUNK artist, something that was never acknowleged beforeon any of his albums. This is most likely due to the fact that Jimi’s family is now in control for the first time of his music, thus he will now be presented as the universal “fusion” artist that he was, not just as a “Drugged out SUPER SPADE” !!
My recommendation is to buy this album. Especially for those of you who can’t get past the psychedelic image that has been perpetrated about Jimi.. On this album you will hear an artist who is right smack at the beginnings of raw FUNK !!
For me personally, this album represents the clarification of a vison that Jimi Hendrix had for a better world....the "Land Of The New Rising Sun" This vision was later picked up on by other artists such as George Clintin & AFKAP, but Jimi was the originator of that vision.. His premature death had for nearly 30 years obscured that vision & with the release of this album, now that vision has been clarified.
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun - Track By Track Review
- Song of “Emancipation”. Funky & soulful jam if it came out today would be remixed for the dance floor. Lot’s of “stuff” going on in the backround & extremely powerful. I have always loved this jam & now I love it even more !!
....”Freedom......give it to me......so I can LIVE..”
- was originally released as a 45, reminicent of a Mandrill tune.....scorching, searing guitars, anti war song.
“Hey Izabella ....here come the rays of a rising sun...”
Night Bird Flying
- Great song, originally on Cry of Love.
She’s just a night bird making a midnight flight......she flying down to me....& tommorrow I’ll set her free....all we got is one precious night...”
- Slow jam, a staple of classic rock radio....somehow it fits here as well.
“And my angel she said un to me....today is the day for you to rise.....& then I said Fly On....my sweet angel.......forever I will be by your side....”
Room Full Of Mirrors
- The original “freak out jam”, highly dancable.....”early Funkadelic” if you will. Obviously “drug influenced” (as are many of the songs on this album), but a lot of his stuff is. Jimi’s got so much going on here in this song between guitar riff, backround vocals, etc....This is a great jam........
”all I could see was me......The whole world is here for me to see....now I’m searching for my love to be....”
- Jimi’s ode to Devon. Wilson. Another funky & soulful jam. I remember jamming to this one at parties back in the day. It’s the first single toi be released fron this album and it should be interesting to see what type of radio airplay it gets and I wonder if it will be remixed and played in clubs ??
“Her love’s so heavy it’s gonna make you stagger....”
- All out & raw Funk Jam in the best tradition of Mandrill/Funkadelic/WAR...!! This is a firece jam that just won’t quit.....
”Ezy Rider.....ridin down the highway of desire.....”
- best slo jam in the entire set, personal, insightful. Jimi’s ode to Curtis Mayfield..If everything had been right with the world, this jam would have been played right along with stuff by the Stylisics, Delfonics, Blue Magic, etc....
”Drifting on a sea of forgotten teardrops....on a lifeboat sailing for your love.....sailing home...”
- makes me think of a drive thru Harlem, Bed Sty, Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Houston’s 4th ward, North Philly, etc at 4am, circa 1968. Think of all of the MLK Boulevards in the United States !!
- uninspired & boring !!....they would have been better off using Pali Gap. In my opinion this is a perfect example of the type of music that Jimi’s “rock fans” loved & he was trying to get away from !! (bad choice)
- Blues jam, nightclub setting, juke joint style, makes up for the inclusion of “Stepping Stone” !!!
“Yall pass me that bottle & I’ll sing you a REAL song.....I’m lookin thru Harlem....my stomach squeals just a little more...”
- Sounds like a WAR jam to me, wonder where they got some of their ideas from ???.:)
“Hello my friend ....so happy to see you again...have you heard what the winds blown round.....Communication is comin on strong......I don’t give a damn baby....if your hair is short or long..”
Hey Baby (Land Of The New Rising Sun)
- The title song and Jimi’s signature blues cut (replacing Red House) although this jam is far too “kozmic” and deep to simply be labeled “Blues”....there is a whole lot more going .
Powerful, spiritual, erotic, “kozmic”, serious stuff here folks !!!....the mellow guitar solos in this song are some of the best I’ve heard from Jimi
“Hey baaaaaby can I step in to your world for a whlie......yes you can she said....come on back with me for a while .....were gonna go to Jupiter ....and see some of your people for a while.......ya gotta help your people out right now........that’s what I’m here & all about”
This song represents the embodiment of an entire philosophy to be repeated later under the guise of “One Nation Under A Groove” & “New Power Generation”.
- leftover cut from the Band of Gypsy’s LP & it also appeared on the Rainbow Bridge album......great song !!....Ronnie Spector on backround vocals...I keep expecting to hear Star Spangled banner come on next !!
Everbody....every sister ......gonna see the light.....we gonna live together....feel those earth Blues commin atcha baby......”
- Here is the “Black people in outer space theme” long before George was thinking about it !! Good example of where Miles Davis possibly saw Jimi fiting in
In From The Storm
- “psychedelic stuff”, I would rather have seen something else here.....boring.
Belly Button Window
.- boring blues cut....filler !!
Obviously the 3 missing cuts from here are Born Under A Bad Sign, Pali Gap and hear My Train A Commin. All three jams belong on this album.
All I can hope for is that the Hendrix family has some more goodies in store for us !!!
-- Bob Davis
I never followed up on your speculation question ......so here it is. At the time of his death it may have seemed as though Jimi was moving in many musical directions ....all at the same time.....(blues, funk, r&b, rock n roll, jazz, etc)
To me this represents both an evoloution in is thinking plus desire to remove himself from the rock star lifestyle (which ultimately destroyed him !!)
Hendrix was several years ahead of his time with respect to the diversity of his thinking and in my opinion we can see the result of this type of thinking in the work of AFKAP during the 1980s.
In my opinion had Jimi lived you would have seen an artist much like AFKAP only during the 1970s.
Imagine Jimi writing, directing, staring in a movie called "Purple Haze"....(in say 1975) ???
What do you think ??
Fascinating possibilities. Yeah, everyone has their ideas of what he might've done, and usually people try to imagine him in one category or another: jazz, blues, whatever. But I like what you're saying. He certainly had the mind and abilities to bring many styles together and create something totally new. I think he already had done that in the '60s anyway; it's just that he's been so influential, it's easy
to take his "sound" for granted....
Hmm, Jimi as film mogul... another interesting line! He did build his own recording studio, like Prince did, at a time when that wasn't so common. He might've liked to start a film company, too. Was he interested in film?
Most people seem to want to put Jimi in one category or another when they play "what if" about him, because they want to put him in to the category that THEY identify with most.
(& I suppose that I am really no different in that respect !!)
However consider this:
FUNK = jazz + rock n' roll + blues + soul (with a little gospel, reggae, latin, etc thrown in for spice !!)
...it is in my mind the ULTIMATE "fusion music" and Jimi is the ULTIMATE "fusion artist".
Since he is dead and we will never know the answer to this for sure, I think people tend to want to focus only on his virtuosity as a musician and tend to think that his diversity was the result of "confusion" and that he would have simply picked one genre and that would have been it.
But I think that was far from the case.....I think that Jimi was searching and evolving towards some type of soul/rock, black/white, drug/straight, domestic/international, etc...
....fusion of musical styles, people & cultures. The group that he put together that jammed in upstate NY was called
"Band of Gypsies Sons & Rainbows"
. To me that sounds awhole lot like "Prince & the New Power Generation". It's a similar theme.
The other point that I would like to rasie here is that Jimi Hendrix was a commercial artist & not some type of musical purist. He wasn't interested in producing obsure music that only hard core fans would listen to.
He wanted to sell records and play big concerts. In no way could I see him being satisfied as a "blues guitarist",.."jazz sideman", or anything like that. He was and would have continued to me a "mega star" of the highest proportion and would have done so on his OWN terms. Again this sounds a lot like someone else we know who recently "Emancipated" himself !!
Your point about the man building his own studio is right on the point (Electric Lady = Pasiley Park ???).
Yes I do think he would have gotten in to films, TV and every other form of media that a Black man in the 70's would have been permitted to participate in........sorry for being so long winded about this but it is something I have often thought about.
Jimi Hendrix died at a point in time when he was on the verge of bringing EVERYTHING together. In my opinion this made him a formidable/dangerous force not only for the music industry, but also for society at large.
The big question in my mind is:.....Could we have dealt with it ???
You pose a lot of very good questions here..The main one being.."Could we have dealt with it" ? Sadly enough..I would have to say that at that period in time.. The answer would have been no. I feel that Jimi Hendrix was an artist that was so jpgted..and so ahead of his time..not very many people understood exactly what it was he was trying to do.
Don't sweat the long posts; your speculations are interesting enough to justify the length. Plus, I agree with what you're saying. :)
I'm sure there are people reading this who may be wondering why I even think about Jimi Hendrix so much. After all he has been dead for over 20 years and many people reading this wouldn't even agree that his music was FUNK.
To me Jimi is an important historical figure and quite possibly one of the most influential Black people of the 20th Century. His influence was so far reaching and wide that people have forgotten to even associate his name with it..
Here is an example:
I know that you are a true Funkateer who was down with the whole program during the 70's, so you (and others will remember this). Look at pictures of Jimi Hendrix....how did he dress ???
"Big wild lookin Afro, colorful shirts, colorful vests, colorful pants & big floppy pimp style hats".
There was a whole generation of people in my neghborhood who dressed exactly like that who never for one miniute gave a concious thought that they were imitating Jimi, but they were !!
To me this represents a HUGE but yet unspoken influence.... ....The irony of course is that while he was alive Jimi felt terrible about the fact that by and large Black folks did not buy his records, attend his concerts and considered him to be a "sell out". He felt "disconnected" from the community.
Imagine how differently he might have felt if he could have lived to walk around ANY major American city in say 1975 and see thousands of people who looked like "clones" of him ??
Could we have dealt with it ??
I tend to agree with you........remember during the 80's when you would hear people whispering things like...."you know, I really like Prince, but I just wish that hewouldn't be phographed hanging around so many white women all the time"
Sound familair ???
Didn't Jimi have the same "problem" with some of the fans ??
In my opinion whenever you have someone who is truly all about bringing things together....
......They will be criticized by those who are closed minded and..despite what they may tell you......... really don't want to see things change !!
Here is some more stuff to consider:
1. The famous "No Nukes Concert" do you think that Jimi would have been a participant in that ??
I think it's quite possible that he would have organized it.
2. I could easily imagine Jimi making a record & doing an international tour with Bob Marley.
3. I could easily see Jimi taking up the cause of helping John Lennon to fight his deportation from the United States.
4. I also think that it is fair to assume that Jimi would have made an appearence on the song "Sun City" (possibly the"funkiest" all star jam ever !!)
Well, there's always been a famous story that just about a week after he died, he was supposed to start work on a project with band leader Gil Evans. Gil led that band that recorded Sketches Of Spain with Miles, and my understanding that this album could have been a similiarly important album. And you also hear about all these pieces he was working on, these extended suites and things that Reprise wouldn't let him record. Considering that by 1974 Yes had released Tales From Topographic Oceans (a double LP with one lengthy movement on each side), I think Jimi would have eventually been given the complete and utter free reign in the studio to create anything and everything he wanted. The 70's was a big era for music, there were a lot of technological break throughs that Jimi would have been able take advantage of. There's so much he could have done.
Also, the Woodstock show would be great to hear the way it was played. I have that entire show (except for the first song) and there are a lot of songs they left out, one of which was a straight up R&B ballad called Mastermind. I think that should be included if only to show the diverse things Jimi was at least hinting at in his music.
Many Hendrix fans will disagree with me but I for one am notone who feels that Alan Douglas "messed up".
I think that there are "purists" out there who are unwilling to accept Jimi as anything else other than as a "rock god" and don't like the fact that Allan Douglas with albums like
"Crash Landing" and "Doreiella DuFontaine"
expands the legacy of Jimi Hendrix in to the relm of FUNK (and yes...even in to hip hop !!) .......
In my opinion Alan Douglas while certainly contreversial did something for Hendrix in death than Hendrix himself could do while he was alive
He put the music of Jimi Hendrix right smack in the middle of the prevailing Black music style of the early 1970's and opened up a market for Jimi's music that Jimi himself could not reach......."young Black males"!!
Also not to be forgotten is Douglas's work with "Lighting Rod" soon after
the original "gangata rap" album ......."Hustlers Convention" !!!!
Check these two out if you can..they are both SMOKIN !!!!
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