“Are You Experienced” (remaster) by Jimi Hendrix

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: “Are You Experienced” (remaster)
Label: Sony Legacy
Release Date: 3/9/2010
Genre: Rock
Rating: 5/5

You probably don’t need me to tell you that Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced” is one of the most essential albums to have in your music collection and you likely don’t need me to extol its virtues insofar as song quality or recording is concerned either. However, when the Experience Hendrix LLC and Sony Legacy decided to release expanded remastered editions of the late great guitarists work, one had to lend some personal insight into the release. Having owned Hendrix remasters that I believe were released back in the late 90’s, I was curious as to how much difference these new ones would be, and it seems as though there is a little bit more audible sonics coming out of the speakers with these new ones. “Are You Experience” was the guitarists first album and found him joined by Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums and together the world received one of the best albums of all time. Listening to it in 2010, some forty three years after its initial release, one cannot help but be moved by how strong every single note has remained over these decades. Jimi was clearly a one of a kind musical genius and there was blood and soul poured into each and every track on the album without question. Growing up in the 70’s, I was able to enjoy Hendrix music at an early age thanks to the efforts of Classic Rock radio and at this point in time it was a powerful ally to this genre of music. Nowadays as far as Rock music is concerned I don’t even think it is relevant based on all the stimuli that a music fan has at their disposal. As I reviewed the CD I found my mind escaping with it, and I felt that this is the head that Jimi wanted for all of his fans when they played his music. Songs like the mighty “Purple Haze”, “Foxey Lady” and “Hey Joe” are still supremely effective numbers that have not lost an ounce of luster while “The Wind Cries Mary” is even more powerful in its apparent simplicity. I had to say that the backward lead guitar on the albums title track sounded even cooler than I remembered it from so long ago on the remaster, and during the finale seconds of “Purple Haze” you can hear “the choir” a lot clearer. It’s impossible to skip around this album even if you wanted to, because its just that good and strikes all the marks in ones musical psyche. I recommend that should you start playing it, just chill out and let it run its course and be reminded of this amazing musician who we lost at far too early an age. It was interesting to focus on this as an adult as opposed to the impressionable child and its clear to me even more so now that a talent like Jimi Hendrix will not come around again for a very long time (especially when one considers how much attention is paid to flash in the pan artists by the popular music scene).

DVD Feature: “Are You Experienced” insights. The Experience Hendrix remasters each feature a DVD that offers you some wonderful insight to the recording that they are included in. With the guitarists juggernaut first album, we find the albums engineer Eddie Kramer sitting at the sound board discussing “Purple Haze”, “May This Be Love”, “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Are You Experienced” along with producer Chas Chandler, and musicians Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. The film while only sixteen plus minutes in length really gives you a nice view into the story behind these tunes and while I surely don’t want to ruin all the surprises that you will learn, I cannot hold back my amazement about “The Wind Cries Mary” being written and recorded in the span of twenty minutes. That is just unbelievable when it comes down to it.

A thirty-six page booklet comes in the package and we not only get some amazing photos of Jimi and the band from this time period, but we also see vintage show announcements and live shots, a detailed analysis of the album and then its lyrics. This was very comprehensive and something that should find you occupied for a little while as you absorb this information. The digipak case is also very ornate with additional photos. I mentioned having the original remasters and in the event you feel that you now had some stuff to put up on Ebay, I would say hold off because the booklets seem to be slightly different as those originals gave us a track by track overview which these new ones do not give. I am not sure why this was changed but I will just have to make a little extra room for them in back of these new ones. The price is right for these releases and they are very affordable considering what you get from them, and I feel that if you still have the very first CD version of them, that you should upgrade and if for some strange reason you don’t own them outright – the timing is perfect to build you collection of these incredible works and let them inspire your own day whether you are a musician or just someone who appreciates incredible songs and lyrics. It should be pointed out that there is no track difference from the 1997 remasters so if these different packaging and DVD are of no interest to you then you can save your money.

Track Listing:
1. Purple Haze
2. Manic Depression
3. Hey Joe
4. Love Or Confusion
5. May This Be Love
6. I Don’t Live Today
7. The Wind Cries Mary
8. Fire
9. 3rd Stone From The Sun
10. Foxey Lady
11. Are You Experienced
12. Stone Free
13. 51st Anniversary
14. Highway Chile
15. Can You See Me
16. Remember
17. Red House

Official Website: http://www.jimihendrix.com

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