Saturday, November 29, 2014

15 Are you Experienced (1967) Jimi Hendrix Experience

1. Purple Haze
2. Manic Depression
3. Hey Joe
4. Love Or Confusion
5. May This Be Love
6. I Don't Live Today
7. The Wind Cries Mary
8. Fire
9. 3rd Stone From The Sun
10. Foxey Lady
11. Are You Experienced

Hendrix once supported the Monkees on tour. In 1967, the Monkees thought The Jimi Hendrix Experience was the right group to warm their audience of teenage girls up for their rendition of Daydream Believer. Predictably it was a disaster and Hendrix eventually grew sick of performing to room full of screaming Monkees fans chanting "We Want the Monkees!" while he was playing Purple Haze and walked out of the tour.

Today we look at Hendrix as a guy who could solo for longer than most Monkees songs and we think of him as the height of psychedelic excess. But back in 1967 when people only had this album as an indication of his abilities, it must have seemed like a more reasonable proposition. Granted it would never have looked like a good idea and there must have been people scratching their heads and saying "Seriously?" to each other when they first heard it but you can kind of see where people are coming from because Are you Experienced is, at its core, a collection of really strong songs.

Forget about the wild clothing, forget about the stage theatrics, even forget about the guitar playing ability and just focus on the album as a set of 1960's pop tunes. Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Can you See Me, Fire, Love or Confusion and I Don't Live today could all have been hits for other bands if they'd played to their pop strengths. At their core, they're just catchy melodies with good hooks. You may think I'm mad but I can even imagine a song like Fire being slowed down slightly, brightened up and performed by the Monkees themselves. It's not lightyears away from I'm Not Your Stepping Stone.

Thanks to a frenetic schedule of touring and recording, Hendrix would never have such a strong set of songs to enter a studio with ever again. His time spent building his career in the lead up to the release of his first album gave him some freedom to sit down and write which gave him an opportunity to pen some fantastic pieces of late sixties rock. Regardless of what you think of Jimi's other abilities, you can't deny the fact that The Wind Whispers Mary is actually a beautiful song. It might be played by a guy we associate with feedback and guitar burning but we should take the time to remember that he was also a guy who could write a really lovely piece of music. Even the lesser known tracks on Experienced showcase a talent for putting together a memorable song.

Of course his songwriting pales when you compare it to his guitar playing. My goodness could that guy play guitar. He was a truly amazingly gifted musician and there aren't too many other people who have such a natural talent. He was 24 at the time this was recorded which still blows my mind. I have no idea how someone manages to develop such a revolutionary ability and freakish range of gifts when they've only been of legal drinking age for 3 years. It's one thing to be incredibly good at what you do, it's another thing to be able to take that talent in a bold new direction. Hendrix mastered the pop, rock and blues playing styles of the day and could do what his contemporaries could do but could also pioneer new ways of using the guitar to express himself which are still be copied (but rarely if ever bettered) to this day.

Hendrix was a great singer and the world's greatest guitarist, but early in his career he was a great writer of pop tunes as well which makes Are you Experienced one of the greatest albums of alltime.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review quote: "Words cannot describe my intense dislike for Jimi's guitar "skills". This guy is a HACK."

-This has been so depressing. Every week I sift through some of the most peurile and inane dross searching for an interesting Amazon Customer Review Quote. "This albums sucks, if you want real music listen to..." over and over again. It's been soul destroying finding this nonsense for you. Soul destroying.

So are you experienced? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. These Amazon reviewers need to read a Rock history or watch Dancing In The Street. Learn , Listen , Respect , Admire , etc. Its where all modern music had its origans.