Axis: Bold As Love
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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Caught between two undisputed rock cornerstones, Hendrix's second album is his most focused and song-oriented — all things being relative of course. Hendrix, bassist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell hit on an intoxicating mix of psychedelic rock, strutting soul, and proto-metal. For all of the accolades heaped on Hendrix over the decades, his skills as a songwriter often seem under-appreciated, and Axis might be the best example of his lyrical talents — a fusion of classic R&B-style posturing and bizarre, Dylanesque stream-of-consciousness imagery. "Spanish Castle Magic," "If 6 Was 9," "Castles Made of Sand," "Bold As Love" and the surprisingly gentle "Little Wing" each rank among his most rewarding compositions. That said, the freaked-out R&B grooves of tracks like "Up from the Skies" and "Wait Until Tomorrow" are quite appealing, reminding us of Hendrix's prowess as a funky rhythm player.
This is my favorite of his studio albums. Very melodic.
My Favorite Jimi Studio Album
Sure, Are You Experienced and Electric Ladyland get all the attention, but Axis is by far the most well composed material by Jimi. The material is much more cerebral than the other more well-known Hendrix staples.
Jimi Hendrix was a genius on the guitar. Axis is no exception. This was his second studio album, and he was able to go off into his own strange mind. His first album, Are You Experienced is a great collection of hits, and for the times, a breakthrough smash. However, he was constrained by the confines of the music industry. On his first album, he was forced to help produce a record, and thus, it's not pure Jimi.
On his second album, however, he was allowed to do his own thing, with a few restraints of course. As a result, Axis became a masterpiece.
The album starts off with an alien intrusion with EXP, a strange "but beautiful" screeching made entirely of Jimi's signature Fender Stratocaster. Typical Jimi! He was awesome at making sounds with his guitar.
Up From the Skies is the first song on the album, a jazzy, smooth gem, complete with wah wah and lyrics sung from the viewpoint of an alien, which explains the extraterrestrial landing preceding! Spanish Castle Magic follows, a classic by Jimi. Other notables include Little Wing, another of Jimi's trademarks (improved upon quite well by Stevie Ray Vaughn), and one of my all-time favorite songs, Bold as Love, a beautiful ballad that ends the album in a fade that gives me a spine-tingler.
All in all, Axis is one of the best albums ever recorded by arguably the best guitarists who ever lived. Give Axis: Bold as Love a try if you haven't already done so.
One of The Best Albums of All Time
There are no words...sit down...listen...preferably with headphones...from first song to last...prepared to be amazed.
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