Massive new collection celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic masterpiece is due out November 9th
When I once spoke to Eddie Kramer for an interview, the legendary producer mentioned to me how Electric Ladyland was the album Jimi Hendrix had envisioned himself making all along. Free from the binding contract of his former manager Chas Chandler, the Seattle guitar legend took over the reigns of his art, resulting in a double LP journey into his inner mind’s eye, unraveling a tapestry of sound that went far beyond the six-string heroics of Are You Experienced? and Axis: Bold As Love. I mean, Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding wasn’t even six months old when Jimi took “All Along the Watchtower” and made it his own, not unlike how Aretha Franklin stole away “Respect” from Otis Redding that very same year.
Now in honor of its upcoming 50th anniversary on October 16th, Jimi’s family company Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings are releasing a massive box set celebrating the album on November 9. Available as either a 3CD/1 Blu-ray set or a 6LP/1 Blu-ray set, both packages include the original double album, now newly remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes. For the LP set, Grundman prepared an all analog direct to disc vinyl transfer of the album, preserving the authenticity. Also included is Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes, which presents demos and studio outtakes from this period in Hendrix’s career, plus a new 5.1 surround sound mix of the entire original album by Hendrix’s original engineer Eddie Kramer.
“I had always dreamed of mixing Electric Ladyland in 5.1 surround sound,” Kramer said in a statement about the mix, marking the very first time a Hendrix album has been retrofitted for the surround sound experience. “It always felt to me as the perfect vehicle for the kind of adventuresome stuff that Jimi and I were trying to do in 1968. The visceral thrill when we completed the first surround mix of ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ was palpable. It was an overwhelming experience—pun intended. We viewed this song as the surround test and the moment I heard it I flashed back on those moments when Jimi and I were mixing the stereo album, laughing at our attempts to find that ‘elusive’ sound.”
In addition to the original remastered LP, this latest version of Ladyland also includes other rarities that longtime Jimi fans have enjoyed in their black market forms for years:
- Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes consists of demos for song ideas Hendrix recorded himself on a Teac reel-to-reel tape machine in early 1968, as well as early sessions at Sound Center and the Record Plant in New York. Previously unreleased versions of “Angel Caterina” and “Little Miss Strange” feature guest appearances from Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills. “Long Hot Summer” features Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell with Al Kooper on piano, and “At Last . . . the Beginning” is an early version of what would become “…And the Gods Made Love.” Jimi’s demos, recorded in March 1968 while he resided at the Drake Hotel in Manhattan included formative renditions of such classic songs as “Voodoo Chile” and “Gypsy Eyes,” as well as fascinating sketches of songs such as “Angel” and “My Friend” which, despite their quality, did not make the album.
- Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68, part of Experience Hendrix’s official ‘bootleg’ series. This live album documents their triumphant Los Angeles concert held a few weeks before Electric Ladyland was released. The recently discovered two-track soundboard recording captures the energy that had the audience in such a frenzy that many concert goers jumped into the reflecting pool that separated the bandstand from the seats. Live At the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68 includes selections from all three Experience albums, as well as a cover of Cream’s smash hit “Sunshine of Your Love.” The accompanying book is filled with unpublished photos that follow the band at the Bowl, from afternoon rehearsal, to backstage to the performance itself.
Also included is At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland, which documents the creation of the legendary double album, featuring some of Jimi’s closest associates discussing their first-hand recollections of Hendrix and the project including JHE bassist Noel Redding, drummer Mitch Mitchell, manager Chas Chandler; Buddy Miles, Jack Casady, Steve Winwood, Dave Mason and others who participated in the Electric Ladyland sessions.
The accompanying 48-page full-color book contains essays by music critic David Fricke and producer John McDermott. It is filled with detailed recording information and unpublished photos, including many taken by Eddie Kramer during the recording of the album. Fans get a rare look at Hendrix’s handwritten lyrics and instructions to his label Warner Bros. for the album, drawn from his personal notebook, as well as original Warner Bros. internal memos and alternate artwork for the album.
Another thing Kramer told me was how much he hated the original cover of Electric Ladyland, which was a photo of several naked women and was done without his knowledge. And while the heat-sensor image of Jimi that was used as the alternate cover art made for a fitting placeholder, the best part of this new box set is the inclusion of the originally intended photograph Hendrix had wanted to use – a Linda (McCartney) Eastman photo of the band and children at the statue of Alice In Wonderland in New York’s Central Park that wound up being placed on the inside of the album jacket on the Reprise Records domestic edition and omitted entirely from the controversial UK version with the 19 nude women.– was Hendrix’s own choice of imagery for the album’s cover image. For the first time ever, the Linda Eastman photo, in full color, will grace the cover of Electric Ladyland, true to Jimi Hendrix’s original vision.
I don’t know about you, but I know what I want for Christmas this year. Full details of the set below.
Electric Ladyland Deluxe Edition includes:
Electric Ladyland – original album remixed by Eddie Kramer in 5.1 Surround Sound
1) … And the Gods Made Love
2) Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
3) Crosstown Traffic
4) Voodoo Chile
1) Little Miss Strange
2) Long Hot Summer Night
3) Come On (Part I)
4) Gypsy Eyes
5) Burning of the Midnight Lamp
1) Rainy Day, Dream Away
2) 1983….(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
3) Moon, Turn the Tides….Gently Gently Away
1) Still Raining, Still Dreaming
2) House Burning Down
3) All Along the Watchtower
4) Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
At Last…The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes
1) 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
2) Voodoo Chile
3) Cherokee Mist
4) Hear My Train A Comin’
2) Gypsy Eyes
4) Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 1]
5) Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 3]
6) Long Hot Summer Night [Demo 4]
7) Snowballs At My Window
8) My Friend
1) At Last…The Beginning
2) Angel Caterina (1983)
3) Little Miss Strange
4) Long Hot Summer Night [Take 1]
5) Long Hot Summer Night [Take 14]
1) Rainy Day, Dream Away
2) Rainy Day Shuffle
3) 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At The Hollywood Bowl Sept. 14, 1968 (Dagger Records)
2) Are You Experienced
3) Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
1) Red House
2) Foxey Lady
1) Hey Joe
2) Sunshine of Your Love
3) I Won’t Live Today
1) Little Wing
2) Star Spangled Banner
3) Purple Haze
At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland documentary (Blu-ray)
· Uncompressed LPCM Stereo 24b/96k
· Uncompressed LPCM 5.1 Surround 24b/96k
· DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround 24b/96k