Sunday, October 01, 2006

105. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love (1967)

Track Listing

1. EXP
2. Up From The Skies
3. Spanish Castle Magic
4. Wait Until Tomorrow
5. Ain't No Tellin'
6. Little Wing
7. If 6 Was 9
8. You've Got Me Floating
9. Castles Made Of Sand
10. She's So Fine
11. One Rainy Wish
12. Little Miss Lover
13. Bold As Love


We have all heard of the Axis of evil. This is the Axis of rocky goodness. The album starts out with a very weird track, but 2 minutes into the album it gets its stride, and what a stride. Jimi is God, quite literally on the cover of the album, but also throughout the album.

You can't but be impressed by almost all tracks here. Particularly such classics as Spanish Castle Magic, with it's fantastic lyrics and hard rocking riffs, Hendrix is bringing something new, fresh and very, very vibrant to the world. You will surely recognise a lot of the tracks in this album, and if you don't, you should familiarise yourself with it as soon as possible.

The energy of this album is contagious, in fact you can't stop bobbing your head or singing along for the most of it... as well as the sadder exploits or air guitarring and air drumming. And it should be said that Hendrix is so big that he unfortunately eclipses his band, due to his sheer iconicity (I've just invented a new word), but remeber it is not called Jimi Hendrix, but The Jimi Hendrix Experience... it's a band and not a man, and they are great.

Most definitely give it a listen, one of the best albums ever although you can say that about all of Hendrix's. Stream it from Napster or buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Spanish Castle Magic
2. Bold As Love
3. If 6 Was 9
4. Little Wing

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Many of the album's songs were composed with studio recording techniques in mind, and were rarely played at live performances. Only "Spanish Castle Magic" and "Little Wing" were performed regularly at concerts. "Spanish Castle Magic" is named after a well known jazz club. "Little Wing" has become one of Hendrix's best-known songs. It was covered by Eric Clapton's short lived band, Derek and the Dominos, three years later and also an instrumental cover by Stevie Ray Vaughan is well known, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica has also covered the song on live performances. On this original recording, Hendrix plays his guitar through a Leslie speaker, that is typically used with electric organs, for the first time. Because of a distortion effect used at the same time, the resulting sound does not resemble that of an organ however. On later recordings and live performances Hendrix used the "Univibe" effect pedal to get a simulated Leslie sound, instead of using a real speaker. "Little Wing" is the name of Hendrix's guardian angel (like "Waterfall", that is mentioned in the song "May this Be Love" on the debut album).

The title track, "Bold as Love", is oft considered to be the first pop recording to feature a stereo flanging effect. The effect can be heard during the outro of the track. The Beatles had notably used a mono flanging effect some time earlier on the Magical Mystery Tour album and EP. (As far as mono flanging effects go, Miss Toni Fisher released "The Big Hurt" in January 1960. That song had flanging effects that preceded any other 1960's psychedelic tune). The song "Little Miss Lover" was the first to feature percussive muted wahwah -effect (with the fretboard hand "killing" notes) - a technique that was later adopted by many other guitarists (it can be heard for example on Isaac Hayes's famous Shaft -theme). "Little Miss Lover" is also notable for being a predecessor of "funk rock" music that Hendrix later developed further.

The intro track of the album features conversation between Mitchell and Hendrix about UFOs. A person mentioned, Paul Carusoe, is a harmonica player who plays on the track "My Friend" that is placed on First Rays of the New Rising Sun album. "Up From the Skies" features Mitchell playing with brushes. The song is about space creature who has visited the earth before thousands of years ago and now returns to see how it has changed. "Wait Until Tomorrow" is pop-song with equipped with notable R&B -guitar riff. Mitchell and Redding sing backing vocals. The fourth track, "Ain't No Telling", is a rock song with a complex structure despite of its short length. The last song of A-side, "If 6 was 9", is album's longest track and arguably also the most psychedelic. Hendrix plays some little Indian flute. Chas Chandler and Graham Nash use their feet during the outro to make some stomping.

A regular rock song, "You Got Me Floatin'", starts the second side of the album. It features some backward played guitar just like the following track, "Castles Made of Sand", which is a "dylanisque" ballad. During the song Hendrix tells three different stories about dissappointments or failures. After that comes Redding's contribution to the album as a composer. He sings lead vocals himself with some help from Mitchell. "One Rainy Wish" begins as a ballad but gets rock feel during the chorus that is in different time signature than verses.

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