Jimi Hendrix: Blues 

Jimi Hendrix: Blues

jimi hendrix bluesJimi Hendrix
1994 | MCA Records

Let's face it, the blues have become a pigeon-holed genre of music that attracts a very select audience in this day and age. Musicians today (particularly guitarists) can actually forge careers playing rock and roll and never wade through the waters of the blues. Likewise, professing "rock" fans can easily reconcile their music tastes with the fact that they own no blues records nor (truth be told) have a taste for the sound.

This is a sad state of affairs.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the blues was so tightly woven into the fabric of American music that it was non-negotiable: if you loved rock and roll - you loved the blues.

The Music

Jimi Hendrix's Blues is as solid a testament as any that the core of his musical soul was more than just the desire to simply rock-and-roll all night and party every day (which he did in abundance). At the core of his soul, instilled in him from the very first time he wrapped his supernaturally lanky fingers around a guitar's fretboard, was the blues. Traditional Southern blues. The music that bluesmen of old are fabled to have sold their souls to the devil in order to master.

This posthumous collection of archived live and studio performances is a lasting statement of Jimi's identity in the blues - as the blues. Furthermore, it establishes the legendary guitarist as a chapter, in and of himself, in the unfolding history of the style.

Blues Classics

On Blues, Hendrix spins his way through 10 blues classics – from traditional numbers to more contemporary ones (at the time) - creating a whirlwind of emotional passages, light-speed notes and otherworldly sounds. There is no doubt that this is the Hendrix that we all know and love. Yet, his immense talent is showcased against a backdrop of more pure blues styles than most of his mainstream releases (though no song Jimi ever recorded was devoid of a connection to the blues).

The album starts out with a whimsical acoustic version of the blues classic "Hear My Train A Comin" (which is reprised in electrified form later on the record). After mellow beginnings, Blues takes a turn to what Jimi does best: wail. And wail he does - right into an instrumental jam of "Born Under A Bad Sign" (a blues classic made popular by Cream).

Other standout tracks include the live recording of "Mannish Boy", a stunning blues rendition of his infamous "Voodoo Chile" as well as the raw and passionate "Catfish Blues" (which includes a pretty frantic and impressive drum solo).

Moment by moment - this record won't disappoint, whether it is the first or fifty-first blues record in your collection.

The Bottom Line

Hendrix's Blues is a fireworks show of electric blues at the mercy of one of the greats, sprinkled with just enough psychedelia and moans and groans to give it plenty of character.

Key Songs