Album review: Jimi Hendrix, Axis Outtakes (2003)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 4, 2003

By Steve Newton

With all the worthwhile Jimi Hendrix CDs being issued these days by Experience Hendrix, the Hendrix-family company based out of Seattle, there isn’t much need for this collection of outtakes and alternate mixes from the 1967 sessions that spawned the second JHE LP, Axis: Bold as Love. The sound quality is very poor on most of the tracks, and there are only a couple of eye-opening tidbits that might interest completists.

After the terribly produced rendition of “Spanish Castle Magic” that opens Axis Outtakes, the two-disc package is redeemed slightly by a better-sounding version of “Little Wing”, arguably the most beautiful instrumental the legendary axeman ever created. “Cat Talkin’ to Me” offers a rare opportunity to hear JHE drummer Mitch Mitchell on lead vocals, but it’s not a very rewarding experience. “Jazz Jimi Jazz” is a 12-minute improvisation that showcases the guitar genius’s jazz leanings, and “Three Little Bears” sees the famously playful picker riffing out on the timeworn kids’ tale, making up his own wacky words along the way.

The sound on the latter closing track is fine, but it hardly makes up for the overall headache-inducing din that precedes it. With all the digitally remastering bells and whistles available today, you’d think somebody could have done a decent job of cleaning up these historic tracks.

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