Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys Of Neptune

Jimi Hendrix has enjoyed a remarkably active afterlife since 1970’s Band Of Gypsys, the last album he authorized before his death. A 2Pac-like flood of posthumous releases appeared in the years that followed, most drawing heavily from sessions intended to become an album called First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. A version of First Rays made an appearance in 1997, assembled by the Hendrix estate after it wrested control of his studio recordings from a producer who’d spent years liberally adding new instrumental elements to Hendrix’s work, patching together “songs” out of disparate fragments, and calling the results albums.


But even while the reconstructed First Rays helped make a lot of questionable Hendrix albums irrelevant, it still left some loose ends. The 1997 collection South Saturn Delta gathered a bunch of them, and Valleys Of Neptune grabs some more. Predictably, there aren’t a lot of revelations left on these scraps, which include alternate takes of familiar songs like “Fire” and studio versions of songs familiar from live albums. But there is a lot of fine guitar-playing from the man who welded psychedelia and blues together as if they always belonged that way. As completist-pleasing collections go, this has a lot to recommend it. Just don’t mistake it for anything but a postscript to a postscript to a brilliant career.

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