Hendrix hot in 2018: New ‘Sky’ set, 2 SACDs

The final chapter of what’s being called a Jimi Hendrix unreleased-track trilogy lands March 9. “Both Sides of the Sky” features 10 recordings that the Hendrix estate says have never been released, along with three others.

Jimi Hendrix psychedelic albumLater in the year come the highly anticipated rereleases of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first two studio albums — “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold as Love” — on the audiophile SACD format. “Axis” also will see a limited release on the Ultra High Quality Record vinyl format. Those rereleases will be remastered by Bernie Grundman “from the original analog master tapes” via Analogue Productions.

“Both Sides of the Sky” follows the Hendrix estate’s albums “Valleys of Neptune” (2010) and “People, Hell and Angels” (2013). Both of those collections of (officially) unreleased tracks were generally well received. The concept of an unheard-track trilogy — “featuring the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in the Hendrix archive” — appears to be new, however.

The latest posthumous collection was recorded as random studio tracks by Hendrix and supporting musicians between 1968 and 1970. The guitarist died in the summer of 1970.

A handful of the tracks were recorded by Band of Gypsys, Hendrix’s trio with drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox. “The hairs just stand up right on the back of your neck” while listening, producer Eddie Kramer told the Associated Press.

Tracks include “Mannish Boy,” “Send My Love to Linda” and “Power of Soul” (Band of Gypsys), “Things I Used to Do” (with Johnny Winter), another “Hear My Train A Comin'” (Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding), “Georgia Blues” (Lonnie Youngblood), and “$20 Fine” and “Woodstock” (Stephen Stills). There are also alternate versions of “Stepping Stone” and “Lover Man.” “Jungle” appears to be an early “Villanova Junction Blues.” Hendrix plays guitar and sitar on “Cherokee Mist,” backed by Mitchell. And there’s an instrumental “Sweet Angel” (“Angel”).

Expect the latest Hendrix archive album to be released on all major formats, including a double-LP album, via Sony Legacy. The Hendrix family renewed its licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment last summer.

Hendrix’s music made its debut on the SACD format a year ago with the release of “Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69” and the rerelease of “People, Hell and Angels.” While artists such as Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra have been the subject of major SACD release campaigns, Hendrix’s catalog had remained mostly limited to CD, vinyl and regular digital files.

Release of the latest Band of Gypsys live set on SACD raised hopes that Hendrix’s classic studio albums would emerge in the audiophile format. No word yet on “Electric Ladyland.”

The “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold as Love” SACDs will include both stereo and mono mixes, and will retail for about $35. Analogue Productions has not set a release date for the hybrid SACDs.

The UHQR vinyl release, “newly remastered by Bernie Grundman,” will be available as separate stereo and mono editions in deluxe boxes with booklet. Price is $100 and the discs will be available in “late summer” 2018.

Update: The mono UHQR version of “Axis” quickly sold out. The stereo remained on sale as of early February. /update

The UHQR format originally was introduced by JVC Japan in the 1980s. The Hendrix album will be cut into Clarity Vinyl, which skips introduction of the familiar black coloring.

“These are going to be the best records ever made,” said Acoustic Sounds and Analogue Productions CEO Chad Kassem. “To announce the series properly we wanted to hit a home run with a huge title, and I don’t know that we could have done much better than this.”

The UHQR and SACD Hendrix albums will be presented in their original U.S. versions.

Analogue Productions also teased upcoming SACD releases of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here.” They will contain stereo and 5.1 mixes. The Pink Floyd reissues appear to be less buzzworthy than the Hendrix titles because the Floyd titles have been rereleased in audiophile formats numerous times. They too are expected at some point in 2018.


Comments

  1. Hendrix on sitar and “Woodstock” with Stephan Stills is enough to make me drool. I can’t wait! It’s got to be better than People Hell and Angels.

  2. Stephen Huerta says:

    When will Dec 31, 1969 (New Years Eve) first night/second set of Band of Gypsies, Fillmore East, be released? First night/first set has been out for about a year, I’m ready and hungry the second set. … please. Thank you. And there’s still the second night.

  3. peter chrisp says:

    From what i have heard most of the tracks have already been on compilations and a number of people have suggested it’s rubbish — surprisingly i have read a number of reviews and they are quite awful, it’s difficult to judge, is it a brand new studio album or once again outtakes and leftovers cashing in on the Hendrix legacy? …

    But there is a pretty good review details: Mannish Boy 1st ever studio session by hendrix just before the name change to Band Of Gypsies, Lover Man just before their nye concert a dynamic studio rendititon, Stepping Stone a totally unique take on a Hendrix fave both blues & country $20 Fine Stephen Stills joined Jimi Mitch & Buddy M & express keyboard player duane hutchings @ this 1969 session with steve handling lead vocals & Jimi adding multiple guitar parts Power Of Soul 1970 studio session came 3 weeks after the Band Of Gypsies concert at the Filmore East while the live version is the highpoint for the first time its presented by Jimi & Kramer in prepared of the complete Elecrtic Lady August 22nd 1970.

    Jungle: Influence Curtis Mayfield can be heard as Jimi expands on Villanova Junction blues theme he made famous by it’s inclusion on the Woodstock doco Things I used to do: Jimmy is joined by Johnny Winter playing slide weaves around the foundation set by Billy C & CSN&Y’s drummer Dallas Taylor Georgie Blues reunited with Lonnie youngblood a superb 12 bar blues neatly undermined with Jimmy’s sublime rhythm & blues playing Woodstock: Stephen Stills came fresh to this session after visiting Joni Mitchell who had a new song long before CSN&Y’s version while Stephen Jimi & buddy recorded this amaing version

    And finally Send My Love To Linda: A superb Hendrix original recorded with The Band Of Gypsies in the aftermath of the Filmore East performances. Cherokee Mist: together with drummer Mitch, Jimi created this moody evocative song complete with his playing of a sitar & his traditional electric guitar & no details as yet on Hear My train a comin’ — well there it is, it does sound ok?

  4. Greg Williams says:

    The Hendrix pretend-family, cash-grab machine is now scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrel. Much of this ‘exclusive’ material has indeed been available on bootleg LPs for many years. As a collector/owner, starting from 1967 to the present, of 20 full boxes of JH vinyl from all over the world, l can back it up.

    The issue isn’t whether there is inspired playing in some of these cuts … it is the principle of releasing music in a state that the artist (Hendrix was a studio perfectionist), would NOT have allowed. l empathize with fans young enough to regard these compilations as exciting ‘new’ music, & it’s fantastic that Jimi is on their radar, but I’m griping about the way Experience Hendrix is marketing their star. The now-ancient “Cherokee Mist”, for just one example, would not, in my opinion, have seen the light of day, had it been Hendrix’s decision. lt’s all about the money (isn’t it, Janie?) … the complete opposite of what Jimi would have wanted or tolerated. He was, in life & death, always plagued by vultures & parasites (Mike Jeffrey, Ed Chalpin, Alan Douglas, etc.), & it is absolutely no different today. l am one of those who not only suggest, but condemn this grave-robbery is far beyond “rubbish”, but instead, opportunistic treachery from a ‘family’ that does a great musician’s legacy no honor. Their next offering will be various mixes of the kazoo riff in “Crosstown Traffic”, which will be a double LP.

  5. Greg Williams says:

    For the sake of full disclosure, a kazoo-‘ish’ riff will be analyzed … with bonus celebrity interview/debates as to whether Jimi played a comb & tissue paper, wax paper, or cellophane.

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