When I say Jimi Hendrix? Whats the first thing that pops into your mind?
I, myself, think things like – guitar hero, legend, how would he sound today, guitar playing with his teeth, “All Along The Watchtower” a song he made his (sorry Mr Bob Dylan) to name but a few things I thought about!
That´s not the only thing I think about when someone mentions his name – i immediately start to hum for myself “Hey Joe” or “Little Wing”. His ballads – because it has to be said, I have a weak spot for his ballads, if they can be called that. His slower songs maybe? No, I call them ballads even if they are not like contemporary ballads with acoustic instruments and sitting-by-the-fireplace-on-the-beach-with-friends-and-sing-along-all-night songs!
Jimi played his ballads like he played his rock songs;
With enormous energy. His rock songs he could make his guitar sound like a machine-gun (see: “Machine Gun”), he could make his guitar speak (see “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”), he could make his guitar sound like a train (See: “Third Stone From The Sun”. There was no limits to what Jimi Hendrix could do with his six stringed friend (which was a right-handed guitar, but he played left-handed). He could played rock and hard rock, he played psychedelic tracks, and he played jazz and the blues. Jimi could and did play both the rhythm guitar parts of his songs + all the guitar solos – without no one even noticing and thinking about that all guitar sounds on the song were made by the same guitar player. Like I said earlier, there was no limitations!
What this blogpost is about;
Jimi Hendrix ballads, because he was (also) a fantastic performer when he slowed down a bit. When he dared sit down (at least that what it sounds like he did) and really feel the songs. When Jimi played ballads his voice became more focused, he sounded relaxed, he showed his smooth(er) side – he dared show his soul – his blues.
Even in his ballads, Jimi Hendrix and his band had this restless thing, that makes his ballads more jazzy and funky than your average ballad. With a drummer, Mitch Mitchell, that played as funky as James Browns drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, at times – and with bass and guitars that sounds like they want to speed things up and really wants just to party hard(er). But still they manage to tie the knot together and make some of the best songs ever written and played by a Guitar God and his band.
The search for Jimi Hendrix ballads;
I have lost count how many times I have done searches in record-stores (back in the days when we went there to find music – these days they sell more movies and games than music) for an album that collects all Jimi Hendrix ballads. When we got internet i´d done numerous searches from time to tome through the years – to see if anyone have released a record with Jimi Hendrix best ballads. But I have to say; without any luck. I repeat; No one has never ever released an album with all of Jimi Hendrix best ballads. No record company, no playlist. (Take note Jimi Hendrix estate!).
It could have been done easily – if someone with a CD-burner (are some one still using these?) and some good photoediting/design skills and a good copy machine – to make their own “Jimi Hendrix – The Ballads” compilation with CD-cover et all. That would have been bootlegging or piracy and not to forget an unofficial record. That´s something I don’t support! I would love to have an original CD or LP with Jimi Hendrix ballads. A albums that had been compiled and approved by his estate and record company!
Since we have streaming services for music, like Spotify (I prefer Spotify as my music streaming service) and Last.fm to name a couple of these. It´s easy to make your own playlist or mixtape. I did manage to make my own Jimi Hendrix ballad album, so left me introduce to you:
Jimi Hendrix “The Ballad(s) of Jimi Hendrix”
Some of you might guessed the title of the album by the header of this blogpost?
About this homemade album; When I did compile this mixtape I first concentrated on the official Jimi Hendrix albums, the albums he gave out before his all to early death in 1970, then I sorted out the best slow jams from his posthumous albums.
Jimi Hendrix gave out the following albums during his lifetime; “Are Your Experienced?” 1967, “Axis: Bold As Love” 1967, “Electric Ladyland” 1968 and a greatest hits album (with the singles he had released so far) “Smash Hits” was released 1968 (before “Electric Ladyland” was released). His first posthumous album was called “Cry Of Love” and was released just in short time after his death.
Jimi also become only 27 y.o., like his music colleagues( starting with the letter J) from the same time, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison to mention a few). Jimi Hendrix was said to be killed in his sleep by a mix of 9 sleeping pills and some wine.
Back to the album I compiled;
I managed to squeeze in 21 tracks, in a little more than an hour (2 short CDs)
21 Jimi Hendrix ballads that goes from short instrumental intro, to only acoustic guitar, a little trip into the blues and soul of Jimi Hendrix, A few instrumentals, A great amount of songs using the weather as metaphors, great songs about (lost) love and a couple of acoustic/unreleased tracks.
The song count goes as follows
4 tracks from “Are Your Experienced”
4 tracks from “Axis: Bold As Love”
3 tracks from “Electric Ladyland”
4 tracks from “Valleys Of Neptune” (“Cry Of Love”)
1 track from “First Rays Of The New Rising Sun” (“Rainbow Bridge” (soundtrack)
1 track from “Valleys Of Neptune”
2 tracks from “Blues”
2 tracks from “South Saturn Delta”
The track list goes as follows, in order from eldest to newest albums.
If you use other services than Spotify, here’s a little guidance of which tracks to use to compile your very own Jimi Hendrix “The Ballad(s) Of Jimi Hendrix”
Side A (or CD1)
- Hey Joe
- May This Be Love
- Wind Cries Mary
- Red House
- Electric Ladyland
- Burning of Midnight Lamp
- Moon Turn The Tides
- Little Wing
- Castles Made Of Sand
- One Raining Wish
Side B (or CD2)
- Bold As Love
- My Friend
- Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
- Belly Button Windows
- Sweet Angel (Unreleased track)
- Midnight Lightning
- Crying Blue Rain
- Hear My Train Coming
- Once I Had A Woman
Listen to the whole compilation of Jimi Hendrix “The Ballad(s) of Jimi Hendrix here!
Do you know or miss any Jimi Hendrix slow jams in the playlist?
Which Jimi Hendrix track is your personal favorite?