This is the box fans have been salivating over in anticipation. We knew it was there. We just didn’t know when it would ever come out. The turning point came when Jimi’s sister, Janie, took control of the hundreds of hours of master recordings that will continue to provide us with new Jimi for years to come. Four CDs and a DVD. All 45 tracks new. This is no rehash!
Disc one has funky 1960s soul gems by The Isley Brothers, Don Covay & The Goodtimers, Rosa Lee Brooks, Little Richard, Frank Howard & The Commanders, Ray Sharpe, The Icemen, Jimmy Norman, Billy Lamont and King Curtis, all with Jimi on lead guitar. His solos are subservient to the song as they should be. The style was developing. The flair was already there.
Disc two (’67-’68) has 17 unpolished seeds, a few of which eventually flowered into songs. Still, they’re totally transfixing and mysteriously satisfying in a fly-on-the-wall way. Highlights include a throwaway called “Little One” with Dave Mason on sitar; a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tears Of Rage,” acoustic versions of “Fire,” “Are You Experienced,” “May This Be Love” and “Castles Made Of Sand.”
Discs three (’68-’69) and four (’69-’70) alternate between more ideas for songs never used and baby arrangements on well-known gems. Dig that truly kickin’ live version of “Stone Free” from the Fillmore East that was not used originally; his Peter Gunn jam; his “Bolero”; his cover of the Ray Charles hit “Lonely Avenue” that will have the song’s author, Doc Pomus, turning over in his grave; and a sweet “Suddenly November Morning,” just Jimi, pickin’ at home, alone in his Greenwich Village apartment the year he died.
The DVD is a good one: a 90-minute doc using Jimi’s own words from his diary as spoken by Bootsy Collins that delves into the artist’s state-of-mind throughout each era of his all-too-short career.
In A Word: Comprehensive