Jimi Hendrix – Rainbow Bridge (1971)

FrontCover1Rainbow Bridge is a compilation album by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix. It was the second posthumous album release by his official record company and is mostly composed of recordings Hendrix made in 1969 and 1970 after the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite the cover photo and subtitle Original Motion Picture Sound Track, it does not contain any songs recorded during his concert appearance for the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge.Rainbow Bridge is a compilation album by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix. It was the second posthumous album release by his official record company and is mostly composed of recordings Hendrix made in 1969 and 1970 after the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite the cover photo and subtitle Original Motion Picture Sound Track, it does not contain any songs recorded during his concert appearance for the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge.
Continuing in the vein of The Cry of Love, the first official posthumous Hendrix album, Rainbow Bridge explores new guitar styles and textures. All the songs, except for a solo studio version of “The Star Spangled Banner”, are written by Hendrix and mostly performed with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass.
The songs on Rainbow Bridge represent material in various stages of development and were never finalized or approved for release by Hendrix. Four of the songs on the album, along with the ten songs from The Cry of Love and three from War Heroes, were planned for Hendrix’s follow-up album to the live Band of Gypsys, released in March 1970. These songs were later included on Voodoo Soup in 1995 and First Rays of the New Rising Sun in 1997, which were attempts at completing the double album Hendrix was working on at the time of his death.

Despite the title, Rainbow Bridge was not a soundtrack to the film of the same name but rather a compilation of one live song and studio recordings from a number of sources between 1968 and 1970, including some for his planned but unfinished double album Hendrix01First Rays of the New Rising Sun. “Look Over Yonder” began as “Mr. Bad Luck” while Hendrix was performing in Greenwich Village, New York City, with his group Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in the summer of 1966. The version included on Rainbow Bridge was recorded by the Experience in 1968.[5] Two songs by the Band of Gypsys, “Room full of Mirrors” and “Earth Blues” date from 1969, although the latter has subsequent drum overdubs by Mitchell. “The Star Spangled Banner” is a 1969 solo studio recording by Hendrix. The remainder of the songs were recorded with the “Cry of Love” group (Mitchell and Cox) in 1970: “Dolly Dagger”, “Pali Gap”, and “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)”. “Hear My Train A Comin'” is a live recording from the first show on May 30, 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theatre. An edited version appears in the 1971 concert film Jimi Plays Berkeley.
The album was the second to be produced by Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell, with John Jansen assisting. It was released in October 1971 in the US, and the following month in the UK where it reached numbers 15 and 16 respectively in the album charts. “Dolly Dagger” with “The Star Spangled Banner” as the B-side was released as a single in the US in October 1971. It appeared at number 74 in the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. In 2014, the original Rainbow Bridge album was reissued in both CD and LP formats.
According to Setting The Record Straight by John McDermott with Eddie Kramer, Izabella and Stepping Stone were pulled from the track listing in the final stages and replaced with the live version of Hear My Train A Comin’ from Berkeley. Izabella and Stepping Stone were instead used the improve the next posthumous release War Heroes per Mike Jeffery. Bleeding Heart was also considered but ultimately used on War Heroes. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, Tony Glover wrote favorably of the songs on side one, particularly the “really majestic version” of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Robert Christgau said in a retrospective review that The Cry of Love (1971) had highlighted Hendrix’s abilities as a songwriter, but Rainbow Bridge showcased his guitar playing:
Rich stuff, exploring territory that as always with Hendrix consists not merely of notes but of undifferentiated sound, a sound he shapes with a virtuosity no one else has ever achieved on an electric instrument. (by wikipedia)


Back when Rainbow Bridge was originally released, it was actually among the best of the posthumous Hendrix releases. Billed as “the original motion picture soundtrack” (it wasn’t, really), it was a mix of excellent, finished studio tracks and a couple of live tracks. Despite this, it’s understandable why it didn’t appeared in the digital realm until 2014 (officially, at least).

Once the estate went back to the Hendrix family in the ’90s, three of the tracks from Rainbow Bridge were used on the album First Rays of the New Rising Sun, which had previously only existed as Jimi’s hand-written track listing. The remaining tracks were orphaned out on various box sets and compilations. So while all the tracks on Rainbow Bridge have been made available elsewhere, it’s nice to finally have it assembled the way the original LP was, with excellent remastered sound (not just for the old-timers who had the LP the first time around, but for others who don’t necessarily want to shell out for the box set needed to gather these tracks). Highlights include overlooked gems like “Pali Gap” and Jimi’s rarely heard studio version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which is made of multi-tracked guitars and basses. (by Sean Westergaard)

Billy Cox (bass)
Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocals) backing vocals
Mitch Mitchell (drums)
Buddy Miles (drums on 04., background vocals on 02.)
Noel Redding (bass on 06.)
Juma Sultan (percussion on 01., 03. + 06.)
background vocals:
The Ghetto Fighters (Albert Allen and Arthur Allen) on 01.
The Ronettes (Veronica Bennett, Estelle Bennett, Nedra Talley) on 02.


01. Dolly Dagger (Hendrix) 4:45
02. Earth Blues (Hendrix)  4:20
03. Pali Gap (Hendrix) 5:05
04. Room Full Of Mirrors (Hendrix) 3:17
05. Star Spangled Banner (studio version) (Smith)  4:07
06. Look Over Yonder (Hendrix) 3:28
07. Hear My Train A Comin’ (live) (Hendrix) 11:15
08. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (Hendrix) 6:05


Recording details:
Tracks 1, 3 and 8:
recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York City, July 1, 1970

Track 2:
recorded at Record Plant Studios, New York City, December 19, 1969 and Electric Lady Studios, July 1970

Track 4:
recorded at Record Plant Studios, November 17, 1969 and Electric Lady Studios, July 1970

Track 5;
recorded at Record Plant Studios, March 18, 1969

Track 6:
recorded at TTG Studios, Hollywood, October 22, 1968

Track 7:
recorded at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California, May 30, 1970 (first show)




Jimi Hendrix – Blues (1994)

FrontCover1Blues is a posthumous compilation album by musician Jimi Hendrix, released April 26, 1994, on MCA Records. The album contains eleven blues songs recorded by Hendrix between 1966 and 1970. Out of these eleven, six were previously unreleased. The tracks include seven of Hendrix’s compositions along with covers of famous blues songs such as “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “Mannish Boy”. Most of the album’s material consists of leftover studio tapes that Hendrix might have never intended to release.

Compiled by MCA and released in 1994, Blues was met with favorable criticism and multiple chart success, selling over 500,000 copies in its first two years of release. On February 6, 2001, Blues was certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album was re-released on Experience Hendrix Records in 1998, following the Hendrix family’s acquisition of the musician’s recordings.

This collection was re-released again in October 2010 as part of the Hendrix family’s project to remaster Jimi’s discography.

The opening song “Hear My Train A Comin'” (aka, by Hendrix, “Getting My Heart Back Together Again”) is a Hendrix original that he often played live in concert, particularly in 1969 and 1970. The song was from a long lost master tape of Hendrix alone playing a 12-string acoustic right-hand guitar, strung for left hand and singing in a delta blues manner. This December 1967 live studio performance was filmed for, and included in the film See My Music Talking, and later included in the 1973 documentary Jimi Hendrix and accompanying soundtrack LP. The last song on Blues is a live version of “Hear My Train A Comin'”, recorded on May 30, 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theatre, that had previously been released on the posthumous Rainbow Bridge album in 1971.


“Born Under a Bad Sign” is an instrumental jam of the Albert King number originally written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell (performed by Band of Gypsys). “Red House” is the original (mono) take from the European version of Are You Experienced, but minus the outro chat (previously unavailable in US & Canada). Another take (stereo) from a different session was released on the US version of the 1969 compilation album Smash Hits. On this version Redding plays electric guitar tuned down to resemble a bass. “Catfish Blues” is from a Dutch TV show, Hoepla, which was recorded in November 1967.

Hendrix uses the first two verses from Muddy Waters “Rollin’ Stone” (which is based on older versions usually with “Catfish” in the title) and the last verse is from Muddy’s “Still a Fool” itself based on “Roll and Tumble Blues” by Hambone Willie etc.

“Voodoo Chile Blues” is another creation of Alan Douglas, recorded during the sessions that produced the finished track, “Voodoo Chile”, for the critically acclaimed Electric Ladyland album. This track is made up of two different takes of the song that were edited and joined together in order to come up with one consistent track. “Mannish Boy” is actually a hybrid of Muddy Waters’s “Mannish Boy” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man”, it is a similar edited studio creation that combines several takes. “Once I Had a Woman” is a slightly longer edited version of a song recorded at the Record Plant in New York City on January 23, 1970 with musicians Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass guitar. The band starts to jam during the second half of the long song and then a fade out follows. “Bleeding Heart” is a cover of the Elmore James number, performed here by Band of Gypsys. “Jelly 292” is actually take 2 of the song “Jam 292” (the name on the tape box) which appeared on the 1974 European-only LP Loose Ends. It is an uptempo jam based on Duke Ellington’s “Dooji Wooji”. “Electric Church Red House” is a jam from TTG Studios in Los Angeles featuring a group introduction by Hendrix (lifted from another, different jam at TTG) and Lee Michaels on organ.


Blues was well received by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine was impressed by how it showcases Hendrix’s ability to pay homage to his influences but also transcend them,while NME wrote that the album’s compilation of lengthy blues jams is distinguished by his “definitive” style of electric blues and the digital remastering quality. In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said that the ordinary blues concept and track selection are conducive to Hendrix’s unique and eclectic style. (by wikipedia)


While Jimi Hendrix remains most famous for his hard rock and psychedelic innovations, more than a third of his recordings were blues-oriented. This CD contains 11 blues originals and covers, eight of which were previously unreleased. Recorded between 1966 and 1970, they feature the master guitarist stretching the boundaries of electric blues in both live and studio settings. Besides several Hendrix blues-based originals, it includes covers of Albert King and Muddy Waters classics, as well as a 1967 acoustic version of his composition “Hear My Train a Comin’.” (by Richie Unterberger)


Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vocals)
Jack Casady (bass on 05.)
Billy Cox (bass on 02., 06. – 09. . 11.)
Sharon Layne (piano on 09.)
Lee Michaels (organ on 10.)
Buddy Miles (drums on 02., 06. – 08.)
Mitch Mitchell (drums on 03. – 05., 09. – 11.)
Noel Redding (bass on 03., 04. + 10.)
Steve Winwood (organ on 05.)


01. Hear My Train A Comin’ (acoustic version) (live) (Hendrix) 3.05
02. Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell) 7.37
03. Red House (Hendrix) 3.41
04. Catfish Blues (live) (Traditional/Hendrix) 7.46
05. Voodoo Chile Blues (Hendrix) 8.47
06. Mannish Boy (Morganfield/London/McDaniel) 5.21
07. Once I Had A Woman (Hendrix) 7.49
08. Bleeding Heart (James) 3.26
09. Jelly 292 (Hendrix) 6.25
10. Electric Church Red House (Hendrix) 6.12
11. Hear My Train A Comin’ (electric version) (live) (Hendrix) 12.08

Note: upon the 2010 re-release of the album, “Jelly 292” was retitled “Jam 292.”



Unknown Author – Jimi Hendrix (Discography + lyrics) (1986)

FrontCoverThis is a very item from my collection of music books.

I didn´t find any information about this book, written by an unknown author on the internet.

Jimi Hendrix was an exceptional musician and songwriter and justifiably considered as  one of the most outstanding artists of the twentieth century. The interpretation of him as simply a great or greatest guitarist has in a way overshadowed the sheer beauty of his music.
It is true that he transformed the whole approach to electric guitar playing with his audacious fusion of Chicago blues, R&B, rock and roll, free jazz, you name it. He had an enormous influence on so many musicians and not only in rock and blues circles. Even the great Miles Davis felt compelled to abandon traditionnal “Jazz” structures, even putting a wah-wah pedal on his trumpet, to get the “Hendrix sound” into his music. Hendrix’s influence reached out to soul artists such as The Temptations and subsequent Oscar winner Isaac Hayes who soon featured funky Hendrix-style “wakka wakka” or fuzzy guitars in their arrangements. Of course it was primarily in the field of rock and pop that his influence was so strongly felt and many artists and groups followed suit, featuring elaborate guitar playing in their music.

Hendrix01Jimi’s psychedelic image also launched a trend with many black artists adopting his look, from Sly Stone to James Brown to the young Michael Jackson and his brothers, who took the stage sporting psychedelic costumes and afros, looking like little Hendrix clones. Even Eric Clapton had an afro perm back in 1967, making him look like a white Hendrix fronting Cream !

The fact that he acheived so much in a short time, with such influence, is amazing. There again, what he did get down is frustratingly short of the real measure of his talents. His blossoming as a songwriter in 1967 and 1968 had established him as a major international artist. His three classic albums as The Jimi Hendrix Experience had perfectly suited and even defined their epoch. Two unbeleivable years of creativity and fun, like one long party, which couldn’t have lasted forever. (by hendrix.guide.pagesperso-orange.fr)

Here some scans from this book … And many thanks to the unknown person, who wrote this book ! This is a printed booklet *smile*



Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced (1967)


One of the most stunning debuts in rock history, and one of the definitive albums of the psychedelic era. On Are You Experienced?, Jimi Hendrix synthesized various elements of the cutting edge of 1967 rock into music that sounded both futuristic and rooted in the best traditions of rock, blues, pop, and soul. It was his mind-boggling guitar work, of course, that got most of the ink, building upon the experiments of British innovators like Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend to chart new sonic territories in feedback, distortion, and sheer volume. It wouldn’t have meant much, however, without his excellent material, whether psychedelic frenzy (“Foxey Lady,” “Manic Depression,” “Purple Haze”), instrumental freak-out jams (“Third Stone from the Sun”), blues (“Red House,” “Hey Joe”), or tender, poetic compositions (“The Wind Cries Mary”) that demonstrated the breadth of his songwriting talents.

JHE01Not to be underestimated were the contributions of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, who gave the music a rhythmic pulse that fused parts of rock and improvised jazz. Many of these songs are among Hendrix’s very finest; it may be true that he would continue to develop at a rapid pace throughout the rest of his brief career, but he would never surpass his first LP in terms of consistently high quality. [The British and American versions of the album differed substantially when they were initially released in 1967; MCA’s 17-song reissue did everyone a favor by gathering all of the material from the two records in one place, adding a few B-sides from early singles as well.] (by Richie Unterberger)


Jimi Hendrix (vocals, guitar)
Mitch Mitchell (drums, background vocals)
Noel Redding (bass (background vocals)
The Breakaways (background vocals on 13.)
Chas Chandler — producer

01. Foxy Lady 3.19
02. Manic Depression 3.42
03. Red House 3.42
04. Can You See Me 2.33
05. Love Or Confusion 3.11
06. I Don’t Live Today 3.55
07. May This Be Love 3.11
08. Fire 2.43
09. Third Stone From The Sun 6.44
10. Remember 2.48
11. Are You Experienced 4.14
12. Hey Joe (Roberts) 3.30
13. Stone Free 3.36
14. Purple Haze 2.51
15. 51st Anniversary 3.16
16. The Wind Cries Mary 3.20
17. Highway Chile 3.33

All songs written and composed by Jimi Hendrix except where noted.


US front+back cover:

US front+back cover

Jimi Hendrix – Stone Free – A BBC Radio 1 FM Documentary (1991)

FrontCover1This is a real interesting BBC documentary about one of the greatest musicians in music.

It was first broadcast on September 14, 1991. And all official tracks was replaced by alternate versions. !

Unfortunately I don´t know the source of these alternate versions, except all these brilliant live recordings, Jim Hendrix did for BBC radio shows. You must know, that all these UK – bands of the Sixties recorded their songs again live for the BBC Radio. And these versions are pure dynamite … live, raw and dirty !

And we will hear great alternative versions, for example “Hey Joe” with great background vocals, and a wonderful verson of “The Wind Cries Mary”.

This documentary includes many interviews with Chas Chander, Eric Clapton, M itch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Sting, Jeff Beck, DA Pennebaker …

This is a very item ..  decicated to all, who know, that Jimi Hendrix was one of the greatest musicians we ever had.


Jimi Hendrix (guitar, vovals)
Mitch Mitchell (drums)
Noel Redding (bass)

01. Stone Free (alternate take) (Hendrix) 3.40
02. Talk – Chas Chandler, Eric Clapton 4.10
03. Killin’ Floor (BBC Session) (Burnett) 2.27
04. Talk – Jeff Beck, Chas Chandler, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding 4.18
05. Hey Joe (alternate take) (Roberts) 3.04
06. Talk – Jimi, Sting 2.32
07. Purple Haze (BBC Session) (Hendrix) 3.15
08. Talk – Pete Townshend 1.12
09. The Wind Cries Mary (alternate take) 3.18
10. Talk – Sting, Chas Chandler 3.25
11. Fire (BBC Session) (Hendrix) 2.40
12. Talk – Jeff Beck 0.56
13. Are You Experienced (alternate take) 4.03
14. Talk – Mitch Mitchell, Jimi talks about Third Stone From The Sun, Chas Chandler, Jeff Beck 3.47
15. Foxy Lady (alternate take) 0.54
16. Talk – Jeff Beck 0.56
17. Wild Thing (Taylor) 1.43
18. Talk – DA Pennebaker, Klaus Berling, Jimi, Jeff Beck 4.06
19. If 6 Was 9 (Hendrix)  0.57
20. Talk – Jeff Beck, Noel Redding 1.50
21. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (alternate take) (Hendrix) 3.42
22. Talk – Chas Chandler 4.51
23. Talk – About Woodstock – Mitch Mitchell 1.23
24. Talk – Eric Clapton 2.05
25. Talk – Part of Jimi’s final Interview with Keith Altham 1.15
26. Talk – Chas Chandler 2.12
27. Angel (alternate take) (Hendrix) 3:32
28. Talk – Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page 3.31
29. All Along The Watchtower  (alternate take) (Dylan)  4.03


The Jimi Hendrix Experience: BBC Sessions (1998)

FrontCover1BBC Sessions is an album of recordings by the rock group The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released on MCA Records on June 2, 1998. It contains all the surviving tracks from their various appearances on BBC radio programmes, such as Saturday Club and Top Gear, recorded in 1967. At a BBC radio ‘session’, a practice still alive in British radio today, a band is required to record material in a studio quickly with limited overdubbing, largely limited to and relying upon their live sound. Many groups as part of this tradition choose to record some songs that are not part of their main repertoire. The album also includes the only two surviving Hendrix UK TV soundtracks (both BBC) Late Night Line Up (“Manic Depression” only survives) and the 1969 Lulu Show (complete).

BBC Sessions therefore offers its own unique example of the Experience sound, and a revealing glimpse of a song from their early repertoire Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and their only known studio recording of Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?”.

Inlay1Apart from the “live” in studio versions of well-known Experience songs, there are several unique studio recordings of songs, i.e. “Driving South” , which includes several licks derived from Albert Collins’ “Frosty” (1962) and “Thaw Out” (1965), “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Catfish Blues”, “Hound Dog”, “Hear My Train a Comin'” and a couple of novelty tracks: the amusing parody of a BBC Radio 1 jingle “Radio One”, and a recording with a young Stevie Wonder on drums (a cover of Wonder’s own “I Was Made to Love Her”). It also includes the sound track from the band’s infamous appearance on Lulu’s television show in 1969.

The Top of the Pops references were overdubbed by Brian Mathews onto Top Gear recordings for the BBC produced Swedish (English language) radio show of the same name. The original recordings minus Brian no longer exist.

Booklet-7AThis collection has been re-released as part of the Hendrix Family’s project to remaster Jimi’s discography in 2010 by Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings. The re-release contains 2 digitally remastered sound discs with “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” bonus track from August 24, 1967, and 1 DVD videodisc of footage from recording sessions, and 22 pages of program notes.

Some of this material had previously been released by Rykodisc in 1988 on an album titled Radio One. (by wikipedia)

Booklet-10AThese are the recordings that Jimi Hendrix made for BBC radio in the late ’60s. As such, they’re loose, informal, and off-the-top-of-his-head improvisational fun. These versions of the hits “Foxey Lady,” “Fire,” two versions of “Purple Haze,” and “Hey Joe” stay surprisingly close to the studio versions, but the tone of Hendrix’s guitar on these is positively blistering and worth the price of admission alone. There’s also a lot of blues on this two-disc collection, and Hendrix’s versions of “Hoochie Coochie Man” (with Alexis Korner on slide guitar), “Catfish Blues,” “Killing Floor,” and “Hear My Train A-Comin'” find him in excellent form. But perhaps the best example of how loosely conceived these sessions were are the oddball covers that Hendrix tackles, including Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her” (featuring Wonder on drums), Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?,” The Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” and, in recognition of his immediate competition, Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” No lo-fi bootleg tapes here (everything’s from the original masters and gone over by Eddie Kramer), the music and sound are class-A all the way, making a worthwhile addition to anyone’s Hendrix collection. (by Cub Koda)

Jimi Hendrix: vocals, guitar
Mitch Mitchell (drums)
Noel Redding (bass)
Alexis Korner (slide guitar on CD 1: 05.)
Stevie Wonder (drums on CD 2: 07. + 08.)


CD 1:
01. Foxy Lady (Hendrix) 2.59
02. Alexis Korner Introduction 0.27
03. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Dylan) 3.31
04. Rhythm and Blues World Service 0.12
05. (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 5.31
06. Traveling With the Experience 0.22
07. Driving South (Collins) 5.30
08. Fire (Hendrix) 2.43
09. Little Miss Lover (Hendrix) 2.57
10. Introducing the Experience 0.51
11. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Hendrix) 3.43
12. Catfish Blues (Petway) 5.28
13. Stone Free (Hendrix) 3.25
14. Love Or Confusion (Hendrix) 2.54
15. Hey Joe (Roberts) 4.01
16. Hound Dog (Leiber/Stoller) 2.42
17. Driving South (Collins) 4.49
18. Hear My Train A Comin’ (Hendrix) 5.00

CD 2:
01. Purple Haze (Hendrix) 3.17
02. Killing Floor (Burnett) 2.29
03. Radio One (Hendrix) 1.34
04. Wait Until Tomorrow (Hendrix) 2.57
05. Day Tripper (Lennon/McCartney) 3.24
06. Spanish Castle Magic (Hendrix) 3.07
07. Jammin´ (Hendrix) 3.20
08. I Was Made To Love Her (Wonder/Hardaway/Cosby/Moy) 3.04
09. Foxy Lady (Hendrix) 2.43
10. A Brand New Sound 0.54
11. Hey Joe (alternate take) (Roberts) 2.57
12. Manic Depression (Hendrix) 3.10
13. Driving South (alternate take) (Knight) 3.21
14. Hear My Train A Comin’ (alternate take) (Hendrix) 5.02
15. A Happening for Lulu 0.19
16. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Hendrix) 4.08
17. Lulu Introduction 0.22
18. Hey Joe (Roberts) 2.43
19. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 1.17

CD2A* (CD 1)
** (CD 1)

* (CD 2 + artwork)
** (CD 2 + artwork)

JimiHendrixIn other words: He was one of the greatest !

Martin I. Green + Bill Sienkiewicz – Voodoo Child – The Illustrated Legend Of Jimi Hendrix (1995)

FrontCoverThis is going to be heresy to a lot of people, but I’ve never been a fan of Jimi Hendrix. Oh, I respect that he was an influential musician and how for a lot of people he turned music upside down… but it just never did anything for me. When a copy of Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix fell into my hands, though, I found myself wondering if perhaps this could show me just what I was missing.

Born John Allen Hendrix, the musician had anything but an easy childhood. Born while his father was fighting in World War II, Hendrix was used to being sent to live with relatives as his mother struggled with her alcoholism. When his father returned from overseas, he was renamed James Marshall Hendrix and in many ways his life started over. Struggling to find somewhere that would let him record his music and respect what he was doing, Hendrix finally begun to find fame, but in the end, it would be all too fleeting…

Illustration01Martin I. Green’s script for Voodoo Child is certainly informative, but one gets the impression that he’s preaching to the converted. That’s perhaps not a surprise—the primary audience of a hardcover graphic novel about Jimi Hendrix would naturally be his friends—but for an outsider like myself it was a little disappointing. It’s a challenge to try and explain the appeal of Hendrix’s music through the printed page, but Green didn’t seem to even try and convey it to the reader. It’s a very dry story, matter-of-factly telling Hendrix’s life story as a memoir, embedded with quotes from songs here and there. At the end of the day, you leave Voodoo Child‘s script with a lot of facts and very little else.

On the other hand, I’ll be surprised if readers left Voodoo Child feeling cold from Bill Sienkiewicz’s art. Fully painted, Sienkiewicz’s art is brilliantly matched with the subject material, able to mix psychedelic emotions with the love of music into every single page. You’d swear that Sienkiewicz was painted over top photographs here, with a careful control of how he handles people and their body language. What’s great about Sienkiewicz is how he’s able to quietly take a perfectly realistic painting and then mix in things like musical notes, or words, and make them just as much a part of the page. Voodoo Child‘s writing may be dry, but Sienkiewicz’s paintings are alive and well.

Illustration02Towards the end of Voodoo Child I found myself all but giving up on actually reading the book, instead just basking in Sienkiewicz’s art. For those with only a casual knowledge of Hendrix, this is ironically what you’ll get the most out of the biography. You may still not have a hard grasp on the appeal of his music, but you sure will understand how much Sienkiewicz clearly loved the man’s work. And in the end, getting 128 pages of Sienkiewicz paintings is a good deal indeed. (by readaboutcomics.com)

Some more illustrations from this book: