Axis came out in early 1968, and I probably got it within a few months of that. I’m not sure how familiar I was with Hendrix at the time but I remember the album being pretty cheap at Korvette’s and so picked it up. It was on Track Records and so was an import of some kind; why it was at Korvette’s or cheap I don’t know. I loved it immediately and still do. No other Hendrix album has replaced it for me. There’s that period bit “EXP” opener, the jazzy “Up From The Skies,” the heavy psych of “Spanish Castle Magic,” the funky pop of “Wait Until Tomorrow” (with the great opening line “Well, I’m standing here freezing, inside your golden garden”), the classic rock of “Little Wing,” the ’60s philosophy of “If 6 Was 9,” and on and on. I even love Noel Redding’s contribution, “She’s So Fine.”
It’s an album that’s a perfect hyphenate: pop-rock-jazz-funk-blues. Deep & frothy. Heavy & light.
And so it’s always been my favorite Hendrix album but I can’t help thinking: “How much of that is because it was the first?” I don’t feel like I hear this opinion too often. Are You Experienced? or more often Electric Ladyland are what you hear about, but I’ll take Axis over either of those.
What do you think? Am I right or wrong? And do you have analogous “first” albums by other artists where you feel the blush of first love may be coloring your rock-crit bona fides?