I should start by saying that Jimi Hendrix might be my favorite musician of all time. As far as pure musicianship it is him and John Coltrane for me—then probably John Bonham. Admittingly it is hard, or better put impossible to harness all of Hendrix’s magic into an album—even if that album is a double L.P. as of course Electric Ladyland is, and it is my favorite studio album by Hendrix. If you can count First Rays of the New Rising Sun that was my favorite for a time, but Ladyland has the edge for me and I will discuss some of the reasons now.
First, if you have diarrhea, it is easier to wipe with a double. The second disc can be used for the second line of defense and clean up. You do not get near has much on your hand that way. It is just more practical.
But for more artistic reasons and just for the sheer joy of collecting Electric Ladyland is quite possibly my favorite album in my modest collection. I have the Dutch version with the naked ladies on the cover as pictured above. I got it at a record show for 50 dollars American. It now goes for much more than that, but I don’t think I will sell it—that is the thing about vinyl with me, even if I did sell it I would just want to buy it, or another record with the money I made.
I also won’t put this version on the turntable—I have a regular re-issue on right now, track 4 Voodoo Chile (the long version) is playing. I believe Steve Winwood is playing the organ on this track at the very young age of sixteen—not his sexual organ you perverts, the keyed instrument. My Father relayed to me he read that Hendrix wanted Winwood to join his band but was too shy to ask him! That is hard to fathom. It seems like if you could play like Hendrix nothing in the realm of music would be intimidating.
BUT the real reason for my love affair with this album is a left tit on the above cover.
Nah, it’s the music. One of the best albums of all time, released in 1968, which also might just be my favorite year for music—some other notable albums of 1968 are The Beatle’s White Album, Velvet Undergound’s White Light, White Heat and The Kink’s We are the Village Green Preservation Society among many others.
The only track on Ladyland I don’t particulary care for is the Noel Redding penned Little Miss Strange, then again, the guitar is great on that track. Ladyland has the staples, Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) and All Along the Watchtower, which are all amazing tracks, but I heard them enough on the radio growing up.
Some of my favorite Hendrix tracks are on here, to name a few—Gypsy Eyes, 1983( A Merman I Should Be) and Rainy Day Dream Away. I think this points out something, namely, Hendrix is an underrated songwriter and in my opinion an underrated vocalist. I think an edge he had was that he did not discriminate when it came to influences. He took from Soul and Blues just as readily as he did from the Beatles and Dylan. I think that is really evident on this album and is further evident of his greatness as a musician and human.
There is not enough that can be said about this album or Hendrix so just go and listen!
See you next time!