- An insanely good sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish; fairly quiet vinyl too!
- Big, bold Hendrix sound — powerful energy and presence plus huge size and space
- The first and probably best of the posthumous Hendrix albums, with Angel, Ezy Rider, Freedom, Drifting and more
- VH1 called it “the greatest posthumous classic rock record of all time” and they just might be right!
With Eddie Kramer and Robert Ludwig on the payroll, doesn’t this record have to be spectacular? Good, yes, but spectacular? Not really. Some copies just don’t rock, and those copies lose a huge number of points for that shortcoming on a Monster Rock record such as this. Some are leaned out, some have no real top end — as Murphy’s Law makes clear, if something can go wrong it will go wrong.
What amazing sides such as these 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 1971
- 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 studio space
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.
What We’re Listening For on Cry of Love
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- 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 so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Night Bird Flying
In From the Storm
Belly Button Window
This was the first of the posthumous releases in the Jimi Hendrix catalog and probably the best as it collected most of the studio tracks that were either completed or very near completion before Hendrix died. Some of these tunes, like “Angel” and “Ezy Rider,” have become well-known pieces in the Hendrix canon, but they sit alongside lesser-known gems like “Night Bird Flying” and the Dylanesque “My Friend.”
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Lenny Kaye hailed The Cry of Love as the authentic posthumous Hendrix album, his last work, and “a beautiful, poignant testimonial, a fitting coda to the career of a man who was clearly the finest electric guitarist to be produced by the Sixties, bar none”.
Robert Christgau originally wrote in The Village Voice that the album is an “excellent testament” and may be Hendrix’s best record behind Electric Ladyland (1968) because of its quality as a whole rather than its individual songs, finding it free-flowing, devoid of affectations, and “warmer than the three Experience LPs”. He was more enthusiastic about the songs in retrospect:
It isn’t just the flow—these tracks work as individual compositions, from offhand rhapsodies like “Angel” and “Night Bird Flying” through primal riffsongs like “Ezy Ryder” and “Astro Man” to inspired goofs like “My Friend” and “Belly Button Window.” What a testament.
In the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Colin Larkin later called The Cry of Love a “fitting tribute” to Hendrix, while Paul Evans wrote in The Rolling Stone Album Guide that it “showed the master, playing with Cox and Mitchell, at his most confident: ‘Ezy Rider’ and ‘Angel’ are the tough and tender faces of the genius at his most appealing.”
Dan Bigna from The Sydney Morning Herald believed although all of its songs were compiled on the more comprehensive First Rays of the New Rising Sun (1997), “there is something satisfying about having this first posthumous Hendrix release as a distinct object that illuminates the brush strokes of a genius”.
In 2014, The Cry of Love was deemed by VH1 to be “the greatest posthumous classic rock record of all time.”