Valleys Of Neptune Review

artist: Jimi Hendrix date: 03/11/2010 category: compact discs
Jimi Hendrix: Valleys Of Neptune
Released: Mar 9, 2010
Genre: Classic Rock
Label: Sony/Legacy
Number Of Tracks: 12
Most of the material here is little more than extended jams and fragments of what might have been more fully realized songs.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 7.5
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reviews (2) 34 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6
Valleys Of Neptune Reviewed by: UG Team, on march 11, 2010
7 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sound: A missing Jimi Hendrix record finally unearthed? Who wouldn't want to hear this? It is true that Valleys of Neptune does contain six never-before-released tracks (though hardcore boot collectors have probably already heard these in different incarnations and possibly bearing different titles). But for anyone looking at this collection as the missing link in the Hendrix legacy, you need to search elsewhere. Most of the material here is little more than extended jams and fragments of what might have been more fully realized songs. There is none of the majesty and sweep of Electric Ladyland, the guitarist's final album recorded about a year prior to most to most of the tracks here. There are snippets of Electric Ladyland-like music sprinkled throughout the title track, Valleys of Neptune, and in Mr. Bad Luck you can hear the kernels of what would become Look Over Yonder from Rainbow Bridge. But by and large the music here amounts to little more than discarded bits that were never fleshed out enough to make their way onto the guitar player's Ladyland sessions. Still, though the songs themselves don't rank with the left-hander's best, Jimi does play his psychedelic fingers off. He spins out blues phrases like electric thunderbolts and sings like the mighty tie-dyed gypsy God from on high. Longtime Hendrix companion Eddie Kramer oversees the entire collection and really conjures up some amazing analog-to-digital magic in bringing back to life the music here. The industry pro took the original multi-track recordings and refurbished them in some astonishing ways. For instance, he took mono tracks with drums and bass, EQ'd out the bass and then dumped the drums onto their own stereo tracks. And then repeated the process with the drums in order to put the bass on its own track. Truly masterful stuff that only someone with Kramer's experience could pull off // 7

Lyrics: Though Jimi hated his own voice, he was always an emotional and sincere singer and his performance here is more than workmanlike. It is difficult to truly assess the quality of his vocals here because these are not finished album tracks but simply rehearsals and jams in the studio. The 12 tracks were culled from two sessions: a variety of the songs were cut at London' Olympic studios in February 1969 and the majority of the material here was cut between April 1969 and May 1970 at the Record Plant in New York. His death some four months after this last recording stint meant these recordings were little more than kernels and pieces and would never be completed. So, if you look at the singing here as scratch and rough vocals, they are quite good. But nowhere near up to the wonderful vocals that always adorned Hendrix's tracks. // 6

Overall Impression: The biggest disappointment is the dearth of truly new and exciting material. Half of the songs are reworked and alternate versions of already-released tunes and nothing here can match the muscle and brilliance of the originals. Of the six ostensibly new songs, one of them is little more than a simple one-chord jam called Lullaby For the Summer. The album pales when compared to The Cry of Love and even Rainbow Bridge, two collections released posthumously. There are brief moments where Jimi's unique vision shines through as on the title track and on Bleeding Heart. But those gems are hard to find. And that begs the questions: Is Valleys of Neptune an album that Jimi Hendrix himself would have released? Take a listen and decide for yourself. // 5

- Steven Rosen (c) 2010

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overall: 9.7
Valleys Of Neptune Reviewed by: LedFender, on march 11, 2010
0 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: As well all know, new Hendrix material is always a treat. This is no exception. Valleys of Neptune is a compilation, if you will, of unreleased Hendrix recordings, some live, some studio. The thing that sets this album apart from his other work is that it is quite different. It still has Hendrix written all over it but theres a different approach to the music. The production was excellent and the songs were nothing short of amazing. The only beef i have, and its not a big deal, but the live versions they picked for Stone Free and Red House weren't the best. But that's just my opinion. // 9

Lyrics: Hendrix's lyrics have always been somewhat mysterious. He always seems to have the smarts to make some of the weirdest and most off the wall lyrics amazing and inspirational. His music always flows. In Valleys of Neptune, its no different. There is a nice groove that he puts in his songs that make it hard to stop listening to. Overall the lyrics just sound like Hendrix wrote them. But that's typical Hendrix. // 10

Overall Impression: I am very pleased with this album. The production is crisp and it sounds great. A few of my personal favorite songs on the album are Valleys of Neptune, Sunshine of Your Love, Fire, and Bleeding Heart. One thing I really dig about the album is that all the songs have a really cool groove. The bass and drums really flow nicely and Hendrix's rippin' leads make this a great listen. One thing I don't really care for too much is the live versions of the songs that were picked. They are awesome don't get me wrong but they don't stand up to the performance at Woodstock (which to be honest would be hard to do). All in all go pick up this album. I bought it for about $11-$12 I think. Its a great listen from Stone Free to Crying Blue Rain. It's Definitely worth the money. // 10

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