Apr 272020
Cassius Clay, after defeating Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight title, calls up his friend Sam Cooke: “We both too pretty!” exclaims the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali.

Stick with me for a minute: I’m going to ask us to determine whether some musical phenomena were full-on early arrivals from the future or merely a musical equivalent of Secretariat‘s 1973 Belmont Stakes capper to his Triple Crown run. But first, a little background on what the hell I am talking about…

Jun 052016

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?

Nov 112013

Hey, gang. Mod’s impertinent commentary about Jimi Hendrix’s late career — and specifically his disdainful dismissal of Jimi’s performance at Woodstock — got me thinking about the original big ‘do at Yasgur’s Farm. A quick search on the web for basic set list information on the event led me to conclude that there was a lot of shit that went down there I had no idea about. CCR? Johnny Winter? Neil Young? Mountain? The Incredible String Band? It got me thinking.

Mainly, it got me thinking: is there a snowball’s chance in hell I would have ever braved the traffic jams, the weather, the stench, and the bad acid to check out this show? And if not: how would the show have to have been edited to get me up there?

Of course, I’m just as eager to understand your opinions on the subject. Have a look at the following set list, and let me know your thoughts.

I look forward to your responses.


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Nov 072013

Despite oh-so-reverential commentary by eternal rock dude-scholar David Fricke to the contrary the recent PBS American Masters documentary on Jimi Hendrix confirmed that the guitarist’s post-Experience career was pretty much a waste. Did you watch it? The trailer, above, is pretty cool in its own right, and even if you don’t care for Hendrix you will get a quick look at modern-day Steve Winwood‘s brilliant and unexpected muttonchops!

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Apr 152012

Black Sun

I recently spent on a few days up in Seattle enjoying the uncharacteristic sun, and the characteristic strong coffee, cold beer, and heavily blue and green landscapes that that city offers. And while I strongly associate Seattle with music, during my 5 days there, I noticed other ways that music is closely entwined with the visual art culture.

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