Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland

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Electric Ladyland

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Sides three and four of this bad boy are OFF THE CHARTS, earning our top grade of A+++. Side three manages to combine superb transparency and presence with rich Tubey Magic and a strong, rockin’ low end — not an easy balance to strike! The guitars here, obviously one of the main draws on a Hendrix album, sound phenomenal.

Side four is every bit as good, with tons of rockin’ energy and serious immediacy coupled with smooth, natural tonality. Again, most copies fail miserably at finding that balance. A+++, White Hot Stamper material all the way. Whew!

Sides one and two are excellent as well, clocking in at A++ to A+++ and A++ respectively. Side one is clear and full with a big, punchy low end and plenty of rock energy. Side two is generally the weakest side in terms of sound, and that’s true here as well, but at A++ this one blows away what we found on the typical pressings. Tubey Magical with a nice, solid low end, the music really comes across here.

Those Double Album Blues

You’ve heard us say it before but it certainly bears repeating — double albums are ALWAYS tough nuts to crack. Double albums are notoriously stuffed with odds and ends that just aren’t recorded as well as the more essential material. (Side four of The White Album comes to mind.) Not only that, but shootouts for double albums require a whole lot of labor on our end. It’s a whole lot of work to clean up and shoot out all four sides of a record like this!

Jimi’s Sprawling Masterpiece

Some of Jimi’s best songs can be found on this album, including Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and his incendiary cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower. Of course, like any double album, there’s a significant amount of material that isn’t quite as fully realized. Those of you who are die-hard Hendrix fans or grew up with this album are going to be thrilled with a Hot Stamper copy, but Electric Ladyland probably isn’t the best entry point for Hendrix novices. Be sure to check out the insightful AMG review, which tells the story of this album better than I can.

That Psychedelic Jimi Sound

Ready to go on a trip? You’ve come to the right place. While the sound is not always Demo Quality, the acid-drenched soundscapes created by Jimi and producer Eddie Kramer are certainly going to be exciting to the kind of audiophile who still digs classic rock. Unfortunately, the typical copies are missing a lot of the magic. We dropped the needle on so many dull, smeary, lifeless copies that at one point we thought this might be a lost cause. Thankfully, we found a few copies that managed go far beyond the mediocre sound that was turning us off. When you play a song like All Along The Watchtower on a serious pressing like this, you better buckle your seat belt. You’re about to go on a crazy ride!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

And the Gods Made Love
Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
Crosstown Traffic
Voodoo Chile

Side Two

Little Miss Strange
Long Hot Summer Night
Come On, Pt. 1
Gypsy Eyes
Burning of the Midnight Lamp

Side Three

Rainy Day, Dream Away
1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)
Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently Gently Away

Side Four

Still Raining, Still Dreaming
House Burning Down
All Along the Watchtower
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

AMG 5 Star Review

Jimi Hendrix’s third and final album with the original Experience found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit. The result was not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but also Hendrix’s original musical vision at its absolute apex. When revisionist rock critics refer to him as the maker of a generation’s mightiest dope music, this is the album they’re referring to.

But Electric Ladyland is so much more than just background music for chemical intake. Kudos to engineer Eddie Kramer for taking Hendrix’s visions of a soundscape behind his music and giving it all context, experimenting with odd mic techniques, echo, backward tape, flanging, and chorusing, all new techniques at the time, at least the way they’re used here.

What Hendrix sonically achieved on this record expanded the concept of what could be gotten out of a modern recording studio in much the same manner as Phil Spector had done a decade before with his Wall of Sound.

As an album this influential (and as far as influencing a generation of players and beyond, this was his ultimate statement for many), the highlights speak for themselves: “Crosstown Traffic,” his reinterpretation of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” the spacy “1983…(A Merman I Should Turn to Be),” and “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” a landmark in Hendrix’s playing. With this double set Hendrix once again pushed the concept album to new horizons.