- You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) from first note to last on this Hendrix classic – exceptionally quite vinyl for the most part too
- The material here is unusually well-recorded – the sound is competitive with – maybe even better than – Hendrix’s “real” albums
- Features top-tier Hendrix rarities such as Izabella, Highway Chile, Bleeding Heart and Stepping Stone
- “One of the few consistent compilations of unreleased Hendrix.” — Allmusic
Drop the needle at the start of either side and prepare to be floored. You won’t believe the big-time presence, the mindblowing energy, or the massive WHOMP factor. Here’s a copy with the kind of big, three-dimensional sound we wish we heard on more Hendrix records. You’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as the needle hits the groove.
The vocals are full-bodied and present with lots of body and breath. The bottom end is tight and punchy with more weight than we heard on other copies. You could play a good-sized stack of copies and you’d probably still not find one as open, spacious, and transparent as either of these sides.
The guitar — obviously a key element of any Hendrix recording — absolutely FLIES out of the speakers here. The bottom end is strong and solid, and the overall sound is big, rich and open.
Bridge of Sighs
Note that the guitar sound on the first track of side two appears to have acted as the template for Robin Trower’s sound throughout his career. We love Robin Trower — wish we could find more copies of Bridge of Sighs that sound good — but his guitar sound was all over this album years before it was on any of his own.
It’s beyond difficult for us to find killer copies of Jimi’s first three or four albums, so I advise you Hendrix fans to give this one a chance. It’s the real deal.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- 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
- 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 1972
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 War Heroes
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
- 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.
Peter Gunn Catastrophe
The out-of-print War Heroes is one of the few consistent compilations of unreleased Hendrix… Highlights include “Beginning” (which contains a riff almost identical to the Stones’ “Bitch”), “Highway Chile,” and “Izabella,” a track premiered on a Dick Cavett TV show a year before Jimi’s untimely death… if you’re a serious Jimi fan searching for some interesting obscurities, War Heroes is definitely worth the price.