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First Rays Of The New Rising Sun

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Genre: Rock
Release Date: April 1997

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

The remaining Electric Ladyland studio tracks that Jimi Hendrix recorded before his death in 1970 came out in different and unsatisfactory forms on "Cry of Love", "War Heroes", "Rainbow Bridge", and "Voodoo Soup." "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" was released in 1997 by the Hendrix family, and they addressed all of those inadequacies. Finally the tracks got the proper remastering that Hendrix's music deserved. Eddie Kramer was working with Hendrix and his band (s) for months in the studio to develop this music (Members of both the Experience and Band of Gypsys would contribute to the sessions).

It's immediately evident that Hendrix was headed in a new direction with his music, although we will never know definitively what he had in mind. The one thing that is obvious is that Hendrix was leaning more towards building a funk and rhythm and blues foundation for each song. In contrast songs like "Angel" revealed a softer side of Jimi, which had a dreamy lushness to it that was not evident in any of his previous work. On the other hand, he still was cranking out his trademark psychedelic funk filled rockers like "Room Full of Mirrors," "In From The Storm," and the instrumental "Beginnings."

Hendrix had a vision that wasn't fully realized, yet it's apparent that his family has completed the circle the best they could and put some closure on Jimi's career. His artistry and recorded works are only part of putting together his fascinating life; this is one more piece of the puzzle that allows all of us that continue to enjoy his music to appreciate what he left us behind. I can't think of anyone that is making music like this today, if there was they would be world renowned superstars without equal. Some of the good things that have come of his music are that many great artists have emulated him. Lenny Kravitz, Prince, and Scott Finch, to name a few, have all been inspired and influenced by his music. All of them continue to etch in time their own mark upon our musical history with Jimi's stamp.

This material was originally intended to be a two album set, and that is what you get, 17 tracks of top quality Hendrix music, with more sonics and oomph than it ever had before. It's more than likely that it would have sounded even better if it had been completed from start to finish with Jimi's direction, nevertheless we will continue to take it all in with open arms and ears.


1. Freedom (Hendrix) - 3:26
2. Izabella (Hendrix) - 2:50
3. Night Bird Flying (Hendrix) - 3:50
4. Angel (Hendrix) - 4:21
5. Room Full of Mirrors (Hendrix) - 3:21
6. Dolly Dagger (Hendrix) - 4:44
7. Ezy Ryder (Hendrix) - 4:07
8. Drifting (Hendrix) - 3:48
9. Beginnings (Hendrix) - 4:12
10. Stepping Stone (Hendrix) - 4:12
11. My Friend (Hendrix) - 4:36
12. Straight Ahead (Hendrix) - 4:42
13. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (Hendrix) - 6:04
14. Earth Blues (Hendrix) - 4:21
15. Astro Man (Hendrix) - 3:34
16. In from the Storm (Hendrix) - 3:41
17. Belly Button Window (Hendrix) - 3:36


Buddy Miles - Drums, Vocals (bckgr)
Mitch Mitchell-Drums
Stephen Stills - Piano
Steve Winwood - Vocals (bckgr)
Buzzy Linhart - Vibraphone
The Ronettes - Vocals (bckgr)
Billy Armstrong - Percussion
Paul Caruso - Harmonica
Billy Cox - Bass, Vocals (bckgr)
Jimi Hendrix - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Producer, Mixing
Eddie Kramer - Producer, Engineer, Mixing, Photography, Remastering
George Marino - Remastering
Emmeretta Marks - Vocals (bckgr)
Linda McCartney - Photography
Mitch Mitchell - Drums, Producer, Mixing
Juma Sultan - Percussion
Chris Wood - Vocals (bckgr)
Albert "Ghetto Fingers" Allen - Vocals (bckgr)



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