“Electric Ladyland” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1968Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

The last of the three albums to be billed to the Jimi Hendrix Experience was a good ‘un, although it’s not without dull patches across the 75 minute, 4-sided affair – despite all of the famously celebrated sonic trickery in the studio.

Side 1 starts slowly, verging on naff with “…And The Gods Made Love” followed by “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)”. Proto Barry White already? Do me a favour Jimi. As if I’ve got his ear, he responds magnificently with “Crosstown Traffic” – we’re back in business with some of that lip snarlin’ heavy rhythm ACTION. There are only two covers on the album – the difference in quality between them sums up why the album fails to register as a classic to my ears. The first is “Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)”, originally done by Earl King in 1960, which simply bores, as Jimi runs up and down the fret accompanied by a bog-standard 12 bar blues backing band. I’ve heard worse, to be fair, but I’m bored all the same.

Side 2 is saved by the inclusion of the extra-ordinary single of late ’67, “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp”, which finds Jimi at his creative best, packing psychedelia, soul and rock into one powerful punch. The addition of the Sweet Inspirations on backing vocals works a treat at this point on the album, simply nicing up the place.

The album’s rating suffers on Side 3; “Rainy Day, Dream Away” is a practice session throwaway blues; “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” is the obligatory prog-jam – quite good as it goes for these things but never a thriller for me; and “Moon, Turn The Tides…Gently Gently Away” is just a soothing come-down 60-seconds sound effect – a guaranteed ratings loser.

Side 4 has, by far, the strongest songs. “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” is a blues rocker, heavy on a groovy organ, with some superb guitar action. “House Burning Down” serves up a Rock Tango – I wasn’t expecting THAT. “All Along The Watchtower”, the album’s second cover, takes ownership of Dylan’s song, as acknowledged by the writer himself. Said Jimi: “All those people who don't like Bob Dylan's songs should read his lyrics. They are filled with the joys and sadness of life. I am as Dylan, none of us can sing normally. Sometimes, I play Dylan's songs and they are so much like me that it seems to me that I wrote them.” Surprisingly, this was Hendrix's only Top 40 hit in the US. At least they got that right. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” finishes off the double album set splendidly, with funky wah-wah chops to die for.

Thumbs up from a non-Rock head.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [01:21] 5.0.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - …And The Gods Made Love (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
A2 [02:11] 4.8.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
A3 [02:26] 8.0.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Crosstown Traffic (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
A4 [14:59] 6.5.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B1 [02:52] 6.6.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Little Miss Strange (Noel Redding) Rock
B2 [03:27] 6.3.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Long Hot Summer Night (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
B3 [04:09] 5.7.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) (Earl King) Rock
B4 [03:43] 5.9.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Gypsy Eyes (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
B5 [03:39] 8.7.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
C1 [03:42] 5.9.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Rainy Day, Dream Away (Jimi Hendrix) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
C2 [13:39] 6.3.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - 1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) (Jimi Hendrix) Prog
C3 [01:01] 4.0.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Moon, Turn The Tides…Gently Gently Away (Jimi Hendrix) Film Score / Incidental
D1 [04:25] 7.8.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Still Raining, Still Dreaming (Jimi Hendrix) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
D2 [04:33] 6.4.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - House Burning Down (Jimi Hendrix) Rock
D3 [04:00] 9.8.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower (Robert Zimmerman) Rock
D4 [05:13] 7.2.png The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Jimi Hendrix) Blues Rock / Soul Rock

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