[Review] Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
Sony Legacy (3/9/10)
Classic rock / Blues rock

About forty years after his last official release, the estate of Jimi Hendrix brings us his so-called newest studio album. Eddie Kramer is the man behind the mixing board just as he was back in the day, as the engineering genius behind Jimi’s earlier masterpieces.

Twelve tracks are included on the new recording, with five of them having appeared in different variations on previous albums and bootlegs. Those songs consist of a groove-oriented “Stone Free”, a decent take on “Hear My Train A Comin'” and an instrumental of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” that ends up being alittle too long. A less-stinging adaptation of “Red House” and an even faster, if you can believe it, version of “Fire” are also thrown on to the new release.

“Valleys of Neptune”, “Mr. Bad Luck” and “Bleeding Heart” definitely have that chord-melody Hendrix sound for which he’s known, while he dials down the tempo for “Ships Passing Through the Night” and ‘Lullaby for the Summer”. The album ends with “Crying Blue Rain”, in which it sounds as if Jimi might be going in a slightly different direction—almost a basic funk style, if you will, with him spending a lot of time on one chord.

Jimi Hendrix’s fourth studio album probably would have not had this same line-up of songs had it been recorded when he was alive. This more or less seems like a posthumous compilation of tunes from an artist who left us with a good number of unfinished and/or unmastered songs. I do like the fact that the people behind the project didn’t allow for overdubs or layer the release with too much overproduction. Don’t get me wrong, the CD is definitely worth the buy; it just doesn’t measure up to the creative prowess that we’re used to from Jimi Hendrix albums.