Some might wonder why purchase ELECTRIC LADYLAND yet again since such a great remaster of this fantastic classic album was issued on Cd only a few years ago. Well, this newly released 40th anniversary edition not only contains an excellent sounding Cd of the original classic album that is every bit as great as great as SGT. PEPPER for all of the innovation that went into the album's production by Hendrix and the contributing musicians, but a fantastic 86 minute DVD documentary movie in excellent Dolby 5.1 stereo sound is included as well.
This documentary is one of the best films that I've ever seen made about Hendrix, and it gives a great new insight into the awesome special effects and sheer genius of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix used amazingly innovative ideas to add special guitar and other effects into the production of this great album, for example looking for just the right sort of bottle to use to make one slide guitar effect.
Another image of the late great Jimi Hendrix emerges as well. Instead of the tragic figure who died of a drug overdose. Hendrix emerges as a really great guy who was often very funny, and who entertained the other musicians and production staff during recording sessions with funny impersonations of Little Richard and others. Hendrix was once a session musician who had added guitar to many famous performers and well knew their mannerisms and styles.
Jimi Hendrix was actually an Army paratrooper who broke his ankle in a parachute accident in 1963, and his drug use was largely related to that injury because of pain. He wasn't a particularly good soldier, as Hendrix was largely forced into military service by a judge because he was twice caught as a rider in stolen cars as a young guy. But his military father was probably happy to see his son follow his example of military service. But Hendrix's military discharge after his accident helped to push him into music which was always his first love. Hendrix was a natural born musical genius.
Another image of Jimi Hendrix emerges from the DVD movie as huge fan of Bob Dylan. In fact Hendrix's hairstyle looks much like Dylan's as well. It is no mere coincidence that Hendrix released his classic version of "All Along The Watchtower" on ELECTRIC LADYLAND his third and last released during his lifetime. In fact Hendrix only released just three albums in his actual lifetime, ARE YOU EXPERIENCED, AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE and ELECTRIC LADYLAND. Each album had it's own personality and broke new ground. 1967's ARE YOU EXPERIENCED seemed the most commercial of the three albums and provided Hendrix a medium to become a major new musical star in the UK with several hit singles from the album, before breaking into the U.S. charts. AXIS:BOLD AS LOVE, also released in 1967, wasn't nearly as accessible, and used new and experimental ideas. But 1968's ELECTRIC LADYLAND had Hendrix back at the top of his game with a great great effort. It was a fantastic psychedelic era album.
Interestingly, the DVD notes that JIMI HENDRIX never really liked or approved of the original UK Polydor Records cover of ELECTRIC LADYLAND with all of the nude girls. He might have felt that the cover distracted too much from his artistic efforts and misrepresented his music in a light that wasn't nearly what he really wanted. This new release of ELECTRIC LADYLAND issued by the Experience Hendrix LLC includes a very nice little booklet and packaging with no images from this controversial original UK cover. AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE had a great spiritual and cosmic cover, and the UK cover for ELECTRIC LADYLAND was indeed disappointing by comparison. It was a badly failed artistic experiment where a bunch of girls from a local UK club were offered at first three pounds, and then a few pounds pounds more to do the quick cover photo shoot.
Despite the bad UK packaging, ELECTRIC LADYLAND was a big hit album on both the U.S. and UK charts. Buyers looked beyond the packaging to the music, where Hendrix had a loyal following of fans. In the U.S. the album was #1 on the Billboard Album charts, and #6 in the UK. In the U.S. the album spurred the single "All Along The Watchtower" which peaked at #20 on billboard, but in the UK many more singles were released from the album including, "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" which peaked at #18, and "All Along The Watchtower" peaked at #5 in the UK. "Crosstown Traffic" was another UK single from the album peaking at #37. In 1970, the excellent "Voodoo Child(Slight Return) became a #1 hit in the UK. And in 1971, after the death of Hendrix, "Gypsy Eyes" hit at #35 on the UK charts.
You absolutely cannot go wrong if you decide to purchase this new release version of ELECTRIC LADYLAND. It's a great album that belongs in any good rock music library. And the companion DVD is an absolute must have item. This is a great Jimi Hendrix product and well worth owning.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!