'Valleys of Neptune' Surprises Hendrix Skeptics

There are some hidden gems

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In the span of his brief career, Jimi Hendrix only produced three albums. Yet since his death, his estate has re-packaged hundreds of recordings hoping to cash in on the guitar virtuoso's legacy. Now comes Valleys of Neptune, a collection of recordings from the final days of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Music critics have been reluctant to embrace the album because so many of his posthumous releases have been throwaways. However, this effort is turning heads. It offers a number of previously unreleased tracks making it "not quite a lost album, but darn near close." Here's what critics are saying:

  • Terrific, Raw Production, writes Greg Kot at The Chicago Tribune: "The tracks are blissfully free of the overdubs and other studio manipulations that mar many of his posthumous recordings. Instead, we get a you-are-there document of Hendrix in the last volatile days of his great power trio with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the Experience."
  • Rivals Electric Lady Land, writes Ted Drozdowski at Gibson: "The ultimate gauge of any new Hendrix album, live or studio, is whether it achieves a level of quality comparable to the four albums he released during his lifetime and provides new insights into his creative processes. Valleys of Neptune succeeds on both counts."
  • Don't Get Too Excited, writes Darryl Sterdan at the Toronto Sun: "This is not The Great Lost Hendrix Album. Mostly, it's a mishmash of odds and ends from 1969. There are jams and covers, new renditions of old favourites, and a few works in progress... Bottom line: If you're a stone-cold Hendrix freak, pony up. You won't get burned. But if you're just a casual fan, remember something else Jimi used to sing: 'You try to gimme your money, you better save it, babe / Save it for your rainy day.'"
  • A Snapshot of the Band in Its Prime, writes Brian Robbins at Jam Bands: "What we have here are some of the final sessions that the original Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hendrix, Mitchell, and Redding) recorded - and some clues as to where Hendrix was headed after the Experience melted down in 1969... Valleys of Neptune treats us to a locked-in-and-grooving Experience - plus, we catch some glimmers of where Jimi might have headed in the years to come. On the whole, the album feels right - and without the man himself here, that's about as good as it's going to get."
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