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March 5, 2010 11:20 pm
Valleys of Neptune
“Previously unreleased” Hendrix material surfacing 40 years after the great man’s death arouses suspicions. But Valleys of Neptune is a cut above the many posthumous cash-ins released in his name.
Culled from his final recording sessions in 1969, when the Jimi Hendrix Experience were on the verge of disintegration, it’s a surprisingly substantial collection of curios, staples of Hendrix’s live act and hints of the axe hero’s unrealised future.
A revisiting of the B-side “Stone Free” flows by with loose, sloppy riffs and exuberant choruses. “Valleys of Neptune” is a psychedelic gem with choppy wave-like riffs, surging vocals and a drawn-out trippy middle section. “Bleeding Heart” points to the funkier direction of his short-lived post-Experience trio Band of Gypsys, while bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell show no sign of the Experience’s impending split in the telepathic rhythms they bring to “Lover Man”.
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