Valleys of Neptune
Label: Sony Legacy
Reviewed: March, 2010
The much ballyhooed release of Valleys of Neptune finally happened last month. I seldom write about new releases unless I’ve been provided a review copy or live stream of the project. However, since Janie Hendrix didn’t see to it that I received my own pre-release review copy, I had to swallow my pride and head down my local Target store to PURCHASE (it hurts my fingers to even type that word) a copy if I was going to enjoy listening to it, let alone write about it.
As an owner of almost everything recorded by Hendrix, I didn’t really know what to expect on this project. I mean, after all, everything he’s ever done has really been released, hasn’t it?
I read in another interview that Ms. Hendrix (Jimi’s step-sister) that there’s a vault full of recordings yet to be cleaned up and re-mastered for public consumption. For Hendrixphiles such as me, this is very good news indeed but not surprising since it’s a widely known fact that Jimi after did something north of 40 takes of the same song before he felt he had it right. If I could only play his mistakes!
Back to Valleys of Neptune.
This disc is a definite must-have for any Hendrix fan. However, it shouldn’t be the first disc for someone who has never owed one of his recordings before. Other previously released discs would be a better choice. According to the notes contained in the little booklet thingy that comes with the CD, eleven of the 14 songs recorded shortly after the Electric Ladyland sessions.
Valleys will give the fan some incredible examples of different flavors of the tried and true Hendrix favorites. My personal favorite is Stone Free. This version is exactly the same but completely different from other versions you’ve heard. No, I didn’t just contradict myself. Pick up a copy and see what I mean.
I won’t cover all the songs on this CD, but I do want to mention Jimi’s cover of the Cream classic, Sunshine Of Your Love. This near frenetic version of this song has Hendrix’s fingerprints all over it. You at once both recognize the tune AND who’s playing it.
Red House also is worth noting in that it is a completely different take of the song than the one everyone is familiar with. One gets the feeling that this is how he would’ve wanted the song played had B.B. King been in the studio with him at the time.
If you get a copy of the disc that has the two bonus tracks, you’re in for a real treat. Slow Version is a tasty little jam session that you’ll find yourself hitting the repeat button over and over again. The disc closes out with Trash Man and is well worth listening to the entire nearly 7 ½ minutes repeatedly.
Again, while not necessarily the first disc to buy for a new Jimi Hendrix fan, ardent, long time fans will definitely want this in the music library.
- Written by Randy Patterson
Valleys of Neptune