Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love

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Axis: Bold As Love

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

What a copy! Super rich and full-bodied with a wide, tall soundstage and plenty of punch, this is exactly the right sound for this music. It sure ain’t easy to find good-sounding Hendrix records, and most copies of Axis are positively painful. You need rich, full tonality and plenty of space up top if this album is going to work, and on those counts this copy certainly delivers! 

This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Axis: Bold as Love 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 pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

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 qualities we discuss 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.

Psychedelia Circa ’67

It’s insanely difficult to find great sound for this album. We’ve auditioned dozens of pressings, both domestic and import, from various eras and most of them have been a big disappointment. There are only a couple of versions that have the potential for top quality sound, and even with multiple pressings on hand it’s tough to find a copy that takes the music to this level whilst still playing quietly.

We’ve been stocking up for this shootout for quite some time now and this week we heard Axis come to life like never before.

The acid-drenched soundscapes created by Jimi and producer Eddie Kramer should provide plenty of thrills for the audiophile who still digs the best Classic Rock the ’60s had to offer. When you play a song like Rainy Day Dream Away on a seriously good pressing like this, you best buckle you seat belt. You’re about to go on a crazy ride.

What We’re Listening For on Axis: Bold as Love

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — engineering legend Eddie Kramer in this case — would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

EXP 
Up from the Skies 
Spanish Castle Magic 
Wait Until Tomorrow 
Ain’t No Telling 
Little Wing 
If 6 Was 9 

Side Two

You Got Me Floatin’ 
Castles Made of Sand 
She’s So Fine 
One Rainy Wish 
Little Miss Lover 
Bold as Love

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

Jimi Hendrix’s second album followed up his groundbreaking debut effort with a solid collection of great tunes and great interactive playing between himself, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, and the recording studio itself. Wisely choosing manager Chas Chandler to record the album, since he was in the midst of a creative hot streak, Hendrix stretched further musically than the first album, but even more so as a songwriter… the beautiful, wistful ballads “Little Wing,” “Castles Made of Sand,” “One Rainy Wish,” and the title track set closer show remarkable growth and depth as a tunesmith, harnessing Curtis Mayfield soul guitar to Dylanesque lyrical imagery and Fuzz Face hyperactivity to produce yet another side to his grand psychedelic musical vision.