Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced? (1967)

"Are You Experienced" was released 45 years ago in 1967.  It reached number 5 on the US Billboard Album Charts.  Easily one of the most incredible debuts in rock and roll history. Seemingly out of nowhere there was Jimi Hendrix with is mind blowing guitar work and his cutting edge brand of rock and roll, blues, pop, and soul all rolled into one. His guitar work captured everyone’s attention, but without great songs that wouldn’t have been enough. Fortunately the material is excellent. There are the rock staples "Foxy Lady," "Manic Depression," "Purple Haze," “Hey Joe”. An instrumental jam "Third Stone From the Sun", blues at it’s finest "Red House", a ballad "The Wind Cries Mary". Just top notch stuff!!
It’s easy to focus on Jimi but drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding’s contributions to the Experience cannot be underestimated. They truly were a power trio. While personally I think Hendrix made some higher quality music in the last year of his life there is no denying this first release is his masterpiece. True to the times - the British and American versions of the album differed substantially when they were initially released in 1967 but CD reissues do everyone a favor by gathering all of the material from the two records in one place, adding the few B-sides from the early singles as well and makes for the complete ‘experience’. 
The TV channel VH1 named it the fifth greatest album of all time in 2001. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #15 on it’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list having been ranked as number 5 in their twentieth anniversary listing The Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years published in 1987. In 2005 it was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.
Highly recommended.
(CD/DVD, vinyl, Allmusic review)

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