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Monday, March 1, 2010

Jimi Hendrix

Valleys of Neptune (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

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The surprising thing about Valleys of Neptune is that it took more than 40 years for this collection of 1969 Jimi Hendrix recordings to surface. Some songs—“Stone Free,” “Fire” and “Red House”—aren’t new, but new versions appear on this 12-cut CD. Other numbers like “Lullaby for the Summer” and “Crying Blue Rain” have never been heard before.

Despite the four-decade delay, the CD has a consistent blues-flavored sound and feel, with the title cut echoing the dreamy nature that came to be associated with Hendrix’s high-flying sound. Rocking versions of Elmore James’ “Bleeding Heart” and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” give the disc an unflagging energy. This was the studio album scheduled for release after Electric Ladyland, and it’s unfortunate it took so long to arrive. Die-hard Hendrix fans should be thrilled that Jimi’s legacy has paid them such a welcome, albeit belated, visit.