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JIMI HENDRIX ‘Blue Wild Angel (Live At The Isle Of Wight)’ (Experience Hendrix)

Hendrix addicts will probably bemoan the release of this concert, now in double-CD and also DVD format. In truth, the addict will probably have the gig in all its guises: vinyl, unremastered, remastered, maybe even bootleg. Under the aegis of the Hendrix Estate we now get the latest permutation which can perhaps be considered definitive, but true fans will grit their teeth as they shell out hard-earned cash yet again.

There will always be better Hendrix live performances but the IOW stands out largely because it was Jimi’s last major public performance in the UK. It is therefore both historic and poignant. In truth he was struggling: against a tired audience, technical glitches, his own inner demons, and - effectively - against a dying era of peace and free love. Hendrix boldly steered a course through much of his back catalogue, introducing a couple of unique takes on the ‘National Anthem’ and ‘Sgt Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band’ whilst including ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ and ‘All Along The Watchtower’ which were not often aired in a live situation. The double CD contains the full version of the gig rather than highlights as previously.

The performance overall is perhaps not as bad as many commentators would have you believe but the chances are, if you are a fan, you’ll have better versions of all these tracks. The beginner would be better served with ‘Live At Fillmore East’. The double-CD is nicely presented with an essay by Keith Altham, the last journalist to interview Hendrix before his death, and the (again) remastered sound is excellent. Even in the face of adversity Hendrix proved his iconic status; his guitar playing streets ahead of contemporaries.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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