It is incredible that 48
years after his death, records keep appearing from one of the most ‘profitable
dead’ in the history of rock, Jimi
Hendrix. We could be cynical and talk about how profitable even the last
recording made by the great lefty is, but better to keep it simple, because to listen
again to any recordings by Hendrix is still a pleasure, especially when it
comes with the excellent sound that the great Eddie Kramer has achieved.
Both Sides Of The Sky closes the trilogy of unreleased recordings from Hendrix’ studio, after Valleys Of Neptune, released in 2010, and People, Hell and Angels, 2013. Obviously it does not reach the level of the glorious trilogy with the Experience or of Band Of Gypsys, but anyone with any kind of interest in his work will find here new evidence of the enormous talent of the most important guitarist in history. Not that everything is new, many of the songs are known to the followers of the creator of Electric Ladyland, but they are different takes that prove again that Hendrix was always searching for something new, even over familiar material.
So, for example, we have an excellent new version of one of the songs that he recorded most times (despite not appearing on any of the official records), the excellent blues track Hear My Train A Comin ', in which we can again enjoy the work of the man who defied the laws of physics. Also very interesting to listen to is a first version of what would become Angel, here entitled Sweet Angel and totally instrumental; it was recorded in January 1968 and on it Hendrix not only plays his guitar, one of his Stratocasters, but also the bass and vibraphone.
Both Sides Of The Sky also has Hendrix playing other instruments, beyond the guitar, such as on the cover of Woodstock by Joni Mitchell, in which he plays the bass while Stephen Stills takes care of the voice and the Hammond. It was recorded a few months before the former Buffalo Springfield member became one of the centerpieces of Déjà Vu, his album with Crosby, Nash & Young. It is not the only appearance of Stills on the album, he also appears on $ 20 Fine, this time with Hendrix showing off on his favorite instrument.
Other stellar names that appear on the album are Johnny Winter, whose work with the slide can be enjoyed on Things I Used to Do, a song that had already circulated on pirated discs for quite some time but which can be heard here with perfect sound thanks to the Kramer mix. Lonnie Youngblood also appears - one of Hendrix's friends from his time as an unknown R & B musician - on Georgia Blues, a song in which Hendrix shows all his class as a blues guitarist. The blues is also the star of the song that opens the album, a version of Mannish Blues in which Hendrix takes Muddy Waters from the Mississippi Delta to Saturn's rings with a riff reminiscent of the one he would use on Izabella.
The album closes with Send My Love To Linda, an unfinished song that is nothing special until an incendiary solo is unleashed; and Cherokee Mist, a psychedelic instrumental on which, in addition to the guitar, Hendrix plays a Coral Sitar. This is a tribute to his Indian blood and is a track on which he plays with feedback in a masterly manner; and in which he also gives a nod to his Purple Haze. A perfect brush with the latest treasures to explore from the (infinite) Hendrix universe.