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End of an Era

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Album Review

Jimi Hendrix had cemented his rank among rock's greatest guitarists long before his untimely death on September 18, 1970. This solo album from the Saxon founder is the only latest such testimonial, having originally been conceived to showcase material that didn't fit his parent band. Of course, what began as a side project soon mushroomed into a more ambitious affair. The thunderous opening track gets matters off to a flying start; it's a rousing tribute to how Hendrix's vision influenced Oliver's formative years, bolstered by an authoritative armada of guitar breaks. Oliver's playing reaches beautiful peaks on the blazing instrumental "Golden Shred Jam," "Goodbye to Yesterday," and "Never Surrender." The softer material is equally well considered. "End of an Era," which addresses the changing face of rock & roll, should inspire listeners to whip out their lighters, while "Wamita" and "Ode to a Wild Blue Angel" are expressive mood pieces. Vocally, Oliver leaves the singing to others, and lets his guitar do the talking; Saxon's Steve Dawson and Pete Gill are among numerous friends lending their support. Oliver also deserves credit for tackling two lesser-covered Hendrix touchstones, "Can You See Me?" and "Love or Confusion," both of which he delivers with guts, and grace. One other highlight arrives in the addition of unfinished lyrics from Hendrix's own "Cherokee Mist" to "Sippin' Wine," an elegaic Oliver riff. This is a thoughtful effort by a guitarist who's well aware of his capabilities, so give it a listen.

End of an Era, Graham Oliver
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  • £5.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 14 August 2001

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