If rock and roll taught me anything, it’s that greedy hands love to touch the Hendrix legacy. Remasters, reissues and compilations bearing the guitar god’s name showed me the meaning of capitalism, and the almighty dollar almost stretched three albums’ worth of material beyond their threshold. So, with the promise of 12 fully-completed, untainted studio recordings that have otherwise gone unheard by the public (and even the most inventive of bootleggers), I arrives with considerable significance to all things guitar-worthy.
Way past experienced It’s been nearly four decades since Jimi Hendrix laid down his Stratocaster forever, and two since the release of his first posthumous LP Radio One. Enter Valleys of Neptune, a grimy, blues-slicked collection of previously unreleased tracks and deep cuts plucked from the Experience Hendrix Group’s studio vaults. The album’s crisp production captures every nuance of Hendrix’ technical wizardry—drums snap and guitars burble in simpatico, offering a hazy and heavy backdrop to road-trip yarns (“Stone Free”), flirtations with bluegrass (“Crying Blue”) and show-stopping covers (“Sunshine of Your Love” and “Bleeding Heart”).
Wouldn’t it ?be nice if this were a brilliant collection of never-before-heard Jimi Hendrix songs recently discovered in some catacomb? Keep dreaming. On Valleys of Neptune, from ”Stone Free” to ”Red House,” most of these tunes are glaringly familiar. The good news: The alternate versions don’t seem (too) ?redundant, since Hendrix was one musician whose castoffs ?and outtakes are worthy of obsessive scrutiny.
After 40 years, a number of ill-conceived posthumous albums, and countless bootlegs, one would almost have to be skeptical of a new album billed as "12 previously unreleased studio recordings -- almost 60 minutes of unheard Jimi Hendrix!" The good news is that Valleys of Neptune largely delivers on that promise. Even hardcore collectors will likely be surprised at how much of this album they haven't heard. But much of this material has been available before in some form, official and otherwise.
The latest posthumous Hendrix album offers underwhelming ‘new’ material. Sean Egan 2010 Seattle-born guitar genius Jimi Hendrix died 40 years ago this September. Valleys of Neptune is the latest in the avalanche of unreleased Hendrix material that followed that premature demise. Apart from Axis: Bold As Love outtake Mr Bad Luck (a prototype Look Over Yonder), the dozen songs herein are studio recorded tracks laid down after 1968’s Electric Ladyland but before Hendrix began work proper on First Rays of the New Rising Sun.