Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Jimi Hendrix Hear My Music (2004)


This has been out for a couple of months now and it hasn’t been discussed here so I’ll post my review. In short it kicks *** and is completely essential for the dedicated Jimi fan. I’m sure many casual fans will enjoy this as well. Barrel scrapings it ain’t. IMO some of the tracks on Hear My Music are better than the stuff on the 4CD Purple box released a few years ago.

The focus of this set is on unreleased and (for the most part) unbooted studio material recorded with the original Experience at Olympic in February 1969. Most of the material is exploratory in nature but these are not loose jams with some guitar noodling – the JHE is in full flight here and the interplay between Jimi and Mitch is at times just amazing.

The highlight of the set for me the version of Ezy Ryder with Mitch and Noel. Jimi’s tone is just to die for here. While it’s more a string of Ezy Ryder riffs than the song proper IMO this instrumental run through kills the later versions done with the BOG and Cry of Love band. Jimi just drills the Ezy Ryder riffs into your skull. It’s much less funky than later versions but much more rockin’. As the take breaks down Jimi tears into the Star Spangled Banner. This will make you forget about the anaemic studio version of SSB on Rainbow Bridge.

This set contains on of my personal Jimi ‘holy grails’ – the unedited, original version of Trash Man. This inspired jam was one of the last studio recordings of the original Experience. Parts of this jam were released (sort of) in Frankenstein form on the Midnight Lightning LP. Alan Douglas mixed out all of Noel and Mitch’s parts replacing them with session musicians, cut the length of the track in half and changed around the order of the track. He shouldn’t of bothered. The original unaltered version presented here is much better than his creation. It’s so much more energetic and rocking with Mitch and Noel’s parts restored. Out of all of Jimi’s recordings Trash Man may be the most heavy metal. While it’s a very heavy, riff laden track it has some really beautiful melodic patterns that are unique to this performance. This is a very tight jam that could of been issued in Jimi’s lifetime without anyone blinking an eye.

Does anyone remember Drone Blues from Nine to the Universe? It’s makes it’s CD debut here and it is the unedited take so it’s a good bit longer than it was on LP. Possibly the funkiest Jimi playing ever here. The liner notes don’t got into but the story of this track is so cool. In short Jimi was at the Scene Club late one night/early one morning. A local kid who drummed in a NYC bar band was there with band and he mustered up the courage to approach Jimi. He tells Jimi he plays drums and Jimi says something to the effect of “meet me at the Record Plant at 5:30AM”. This kid shows up and jams with Jimi and Billy Cox for hours and this is one of the jams they recorded. It’s a little rougher than the other tracks on this disc but Jimi plays some hard funk riffs that must be heard to be believed. Just devastating stuff.

The disc closes with some solo Jimi guitar demos done at Olympic including the erstwhile Jimi original Gypsy Blood and 2 versions of Valley’s of Neptune (one on piano).

Sound quality is excellent. These are all professional multitrack recordings that weren’t bounced. I’m not sure but I guess Olympic was 8 track in 2/69 and the Record Plant stuff was 16 track in summer ’69? In any event the sound is not at all bootleg quality even though it’s on a boutique official bootleg label. Like all EH stuff it’s mastered loud but no noise reduction is used. Forget about the mastering and buy this for the performances. I can’t imagine any Jimi fans being disappointed with this. Let’s hope Dagger releases some more studio stuff in the future. I hope they release the long studio jams the Band of Gypsys did at the Record Plant a few weeks after the Fillmore concerts. If they unleash those on the public jaws will really drop…

April 11, 2013 - Posted by | Jimi Hendrix Hear My Music |

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