Classic Rock Review

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Jimi Hendrix War Heroes (1973)

jimi-hendrix-war-heroes-front-1358188048From Rolling Stone

Days after Hendrix’s death, Eddie Kramer, head engineer at Electric Ladyland Studios, was quoted as saying that there were two albums worth of studio cuts and a live Albert Hall gig that would be released soon. However, “associates” were quoted as saying that there were lots more Hendrix tapes that nobody would hear – “It wouldn’t be fair to his memory to release them” was the way the rap went.

Nevertheless, this is the fourth posthumous album to be released by Hendrix’s label (not to mention the increasing number of “early jam” tapes spewing forth), the third studio album, and whatever did happen to the Albert Hall tapes?

War Heroes consists of several instrumental sketches, alternate versions of English and American singles and in-studio goofs that get you closer to the man, but add little to his musical legacy. The fact that tracks come from various points in time adds to the scattered feeling of ghoulash. On three of the tracks, Noel Redding from the original Experience weighs in on bass, and that puts them back a ways – Eddie Kramer says that some date from 1968.

Of the ten titles, there are four realized songs; “Bleeding Heart” is another Hendrix space blues, with one of his more familiar bass riffs underlaying wah-wahed guitar. “Highway Chile” was one of Jimi’s earliest English single releases; it’s a regularly structured rock ballad of a 17-year-old rambler – “You’d probably call him a tramp, but it goes a little deeper than that . . . he’s a highway chile” – the riff is compelling, if a bit simpler than what was to come later.

“Stepping Stone” and “Izabella” were released here as a single in April 1970; those versions have minor differences – the break on “Izabella” here is done without wah-wah. “Stone” is taken at a slower pace, but isn’t as tight – still, it’s one of Hendrix’s better single songs, with lines like “You’re a woman, at least you taste like you are/But you can’t get off in bed, with my guitar” – Jimi was hip to the bounds of his myths and realities, it seems. “Izabella” is a soldier song – and the only connection with the album title I can draw, but it’s really nothing special.

“Tax Free,” “Midnight,” and “Beginning” are instrumental doodles; my guess is that with the exception of “Tax,” they were just tracks that Jimi put down the way other people fill up notepads while talking on the phone. Not to say that his genius isn’t in evidence (“Midnight” has a pervasive, heavily ominous mood), just that it’s a bit wandering and random. Usually Jimi zeroed in on a riff like a spaced .30/’30, here it’s more like a bemused shotgun. “Beginning” especially sounds like an experiment, or maybe just thinking out loud; tempo and focuses shift and change like icebergs debating on which ocean liner to use for an olive.

The “goof” songs include “Peter Gunn” – remember the crew-cut TV detective with jazz backing? Jimi runs through a few choruses of the theme then goes into a goof takeoff on “Jealousy” – here it becomes “Catastrophe” – but even with Jimi camping outrageously on the vocal, there is an incandescent guitar run after the singing that just makes your eyes pop. (It’s easy to take his technique and ability for granted – but just little flashes like this stand out and grab you all over again.)

“Three Little Bears” could just as well be a children’s song, it has a really infectious guitar duet riff with a kind of lopsided tango rhythm. The words (which Hendrix wrote) keep cracking him up – “this is so silly man,” he interjects, “I can’t go through with this.” But he does and at least it’s a picture from life’s weirder side.

In other words, a potpourri of out-takes and alternate takes, bits and pieces, which I guess are nice to have as they add depth to the image of Jimi that will endure – but I just hope that this wouldn’t be the first album somebody would buy to find out about him in years to come. It’s hardly essential . . . and what was that about being fair to his memory?

February 23, 2013 Posted by | Jimi Hendrix War Heroes | | Leave a comment

Jimi Hendrix – War Heroes (1972)

From progarchives.com

After ”The Cry Of Love” and the soundtrack ”Rainbow Bridge”, this is the third album published after Jimi’s dead.
This work is not essential but it is not bad either. Some tracks are quite good actually and fully deserved to be released. At least it is MVHHO (my very humble and honest opinion).

Both openers ”Bleeding Heart” and even more the great ”Highway Chile” definitely belong to the genuine Hendrix discography. The tracks are short, the riffs are infectious (especially during ”Highway Chile” which is the highlight of this album).

It is of course a difficult work to apprehend from a prog prospective (but so is his entire catalogue, right?). This sort of albums can only be of interest to die-hard fans of the Master. But I wouldn’t rate this as a one or two stars album. Just because it holds very good musical moments.

Like the fine and rather hectic instrumental ”Tax Free”. Some sort of wild jam performed with high skills. At least, I receive it this way, but I’m sometimes biased in terms of Hendrix music.

Not all tracks are jewels of course: the quite disputable ”Peter Gunn/Catastrophe” holds it all in its title. It is the only track which hasn’t been compiled on other albums. One immediately knows why.

Press next to discover the vigorous ”Stepping Stone”. A delight for those who have an inclination for Hendrix magic guitar play. I am one of those. It is a very wild track, that goes into lots of directions: some might call it loose but remember that several tracks were unfinished, so.

There is one track written by Noel Redding (”Midnight”) which is a fine rock instrumental (on the heavy edge to be honest) and another one composed by Mitch Mitchell, the other ”Experience” guy. It is another excellent instrumental track. Full of passion and wildness. The classic ”Izabella” has to be remembered as well, although I far much prefer the live renditions of this song. The choirs are particularly painful to be honest.

Most of the songs featured on this album are available on later recordings (”First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” and ”South Saturn Delta”). Both of these albums can be considered as compilations, but not this one IMO. But I’ll discuss this sometime on the forum.

Another uninteresting track is the reggae-ish ”Little Bears”. Although it sounds fresh musically, and Jimi seems to have fun here, it is not my cup of tea, especially during some childish passages.

This is globally a good album for Hendrix fans. If you are a casual one only, you should stick to ”Are You Experienced” in terms of studio album and to ”Live at the Fillmore East” or even better ”Live at Woodstock” in terms of live recordings.

Still, three stars.

November 21, 2010 Posted by | Jimi Hendrix War Heroes | | Leave a comment

Jimi Hendrix: War Heroes (1972)

From Fr.real.com

Days after Hendrix’ death, Eddie Kramer, head engineer at Electric Ladyland Studios, was quoted as saying that there were two albums worth of studio cuts and a live Albert Hall gig that would be released soon. However, “associates” were quoted as saying that there were lots more Hendrix tapes that nobody would hear — “It wouldn’t be fair to his memory to release them” was the way the rap went.

Nevertheless, this is the fourth posthumous album to be released by Hendrix’ label (not to mention the increasing number of “early jam” tapes spewing forth), the third studio album, and whatever did happen to the Albert Hall tapes?

War Heroes consists of several instrumental sketches, alternate versions of English and American singles and in-studio goofs that get you closer to the man, but add little to his musical legacy. The fact that tracks come from various points in time adds to the scattered feeling of ghoulash. On three of the tracks, Noel Redding from the original Experience weighs in on bass, and that puts them back a ways — Eddie Kramer says that some date from 1968.

Of the ten titles, there are four realized songs; “Bleeding Heart” is another Hendrix space blues, with one of his more familiar bass riffs underlaying wah-wahed guitar. “Highway Chile” was one of Jimi’s earliest English single releases; it’s a regularly structured rock ballad of a 17-year-old rambler — “You’d probably call him a tramp, but it goes a little deeper than that … he’s a highway chile” — the riff is compelling, if a bit simpler than what was to come later.

“Stepping Stone” and “Izabella” were released here as a single in April 1970; those versions have minor differences — the break on “Izabella” here is done without wah-wah. “Stone” is taken at a slower pace, but isn’t as tight — still, it’s one of Hendrix’ better single songs, with lines like “You’re a woman, at least you taste like you are/But you can’t get off in bed, with my guitar” — Jimi was hip to the bounds of his myths and realities, it seems. “Izabella” is a soldier song — and the only connection with the album title I can draw, but it’s really nothing special.

“Tax Free,” “Midnight,” and “Beginning” are instrumental doodles; my guess is that with the exception of “Tax,” they were just tracks that Jimi put down the way other people fill up notepads while talking on the phone. Not to say that his genius isn’t in evidence (“Midnight” has a pervasive, heavily ominous mood), just that it’s a bit wandering and random. Usually Jimi zeroed in on a riff like a spaced .30/’30, here it’s more like a bemused shotgun. “Beginning” especially sounds like an experiment, or maybe just thinking out loud; tempi and focuses shift and change like icebergs debating on which ocean liner to use for an olive.

The “goof” songs include “Peter Gunn” — remember the crew-cut TV detective with jazz backing? Jimi runs through a few choruses of the theme then goes into a goof takeoff on “Jealousy” — here it becomes “Catastrophe” — but even with Jimi camping outrageously on the vocal, there is an incandescent guitar run after the singing that just makes your eyes pop. (It’s easy to take his technique and ability for granted–but just little flashes like this stand out and grab you all over again.)

“Three Little Bears” could just as well be a children’s song, it has a really infectious guitar duet riff with a kind of lopsided tango rhythm. The words (which Hendrix wrote) keep cracking him up — “this is so silly man,” he interjects, “I can’t go through with this.” But he does and at least it’s a picture from life’s weirder side.

In other words, a potpourri of out-takes and alternate takes, bits and pieces, which I guess are nice to have as they add depth to the image of Jimi that will endure — but I just hope that this wouldn’t be the first album somebody would buy to find out about him in years to come. It’s hardly essential … and what was that about being fair to his memory?

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Jimi Hendrix War Heroes | | Leave a comment