The second incarnation of my blog
Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.
At number 83 is The Jimi Hendrix Experience with the groups second album, 1967’s Axis: Bold as Love. The album was produced by the bands’ manager, Chas Chandler (who was the bassist in The Animals and managed and produced Slade in the 1970’s).
It all kicks off with a radio DJ and interview (of sorts) before the first song Up in the skies, a trippy jazz track that grows on you as it unfolds. The third track, Wait until tomorrow is a story song that is pop with a jazz twist.
The music continues, but the start of Little Wing with its stunning guitar sees the album moves up a notch. The production is poweful and imaginative and really makes the track, as there isn’t much of a song in there. It’s a shame that it’s only 2.24 long.
If 6 was 9 is a mess of a track – just an experimental piece to close side one and I have to wonder if it inspired The Beatles Revolution Number 9.
Side two starts with the obviously drug inspired You got me floating before Castles made of sand which has lots of backward guitar, almost to disguise the fact that it’s actually a a sweet love song. Sadly, the next song She’s So Fine doesn’t fit at all. It was written and sung by Noel Redding and despite being a nice pop song of its time, it doesn’t work as part of the album. The track Bold as love continues with the trademark hammer-on guitar and is a fine bluesy song to close side two.
The music is an odd mix of rock, pop, blues, jazz, improv’ and hippy trippy stuff, but it works in the main. It’s definately one of those albums that work best as a whole rather than picking out individual songs and in parts is a challenging listen and to my surprise, doesn’t rely totally on Hendrix’s guitar skills.
Strange fact about this recording: Just before the album’s completion, Hendrix left the master tapes of side one in a taxi and they were never found.
My rating: 7/10
Standout track: Little Wing, Bold as love
Listen to the album via Spotify here.
See the Top 100 here.