- With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides, this British Polydor pressing was rockin’ like crazy
- This is a fun live album with stellar performances by Jimi – the best of his many posthumous releases
- The awesome version of Little Wing is just killer on this copy – it’s Jimi’s best performance of the song
- 4 stars: “Hendrix in the West is a collection of extremely good live Hendrix performances between 1968-1970. Three different concerts are sampled on this 1972 release, one of the few official live Hendrix releases following his death.”
We’re still surprised at how well recorded the album is. It takes a pressing like this to really show you the live Jimi Hendrix magic Eddie Kramer got onto tape. Drop the needle on Little Wing and you are going to be FLOORED.
Both sides are rich, full and stuffed with Tubey Magic. The low end is tight and focused with real weight, the drums sound just right, and there’s a relaxed, musical quality that just wasn’t there on some of the records we played
As these performances are culled from different concerts the sound varies a bit from track to track, but every track on here sounds good and the best tracks sound amazing.
The size and space here are really something, miles beyond the average copy. The resolution and clarity of the open live sound of this copy bring out all the instrumental textures and details of the recording like few we played. More importantly, the extended top keeps the highs from getting hard or harsh the way they do on so many pressings we’ve played.
It’s hard to understand why this album isn’t more widely known. The performances are great and the sound is excellent for a vintage live recording.
Naturally not every copy sounds as good as this one. We heard a lot of pressings with too much grit and grain, and many that badly lacked presence. When I play a live album, I want to feel like I am there at the show (and to do that I set the volume accordingly, of course) but with the average copy that just isn’t possible.
Thanks to Eddie Kramer’s amazing engineering, this album will have Jimi playing live in your listening room, and what a thrill it is to hear it all these years later (and on dramatically better equipment).
What the best sides of this Live Album have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was still on the tapes when the album came out in 1972
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the vocals, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this live recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the concert hall
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now
Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Johnny B. Goode
Blue Suede Shoes
The Queen (British National Anthem) / Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Hendrix in the West is a collection of extremely good live Hendrix performances between 1968-1970. Three different concerts are sampled on this 1972 Polydor/Reprise release, one of the few official live Hendrix releases following his death. Standouts include “Red House” and “Voodoo Chile” from the San Diego Sports Arena, a great rendition of “Blue Suede Shoes” from the Berkeley Community Center, and the brief but entertaining coupling of “God Save the Queen” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” from the Isle of Wight.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.