||The 33 1/3 series of extended album critiques is fueled by its authors' passions, and ex-Only Ones guitarist and music writer John Perry doesn't disappoint. A Jimi Hendrix fan from the first time he saw him at a British club, Perry devotes his entry in the mini-book series to Hendrix's startlingly innovative 1968 ELECTRIC LADYLAND album. Hendrix's last album with the Experience, ELECTRIC LADYLAND is a dazzling mix of jazzy riffs and free-form electronic effects that was a musical quantum leap forward from the guitarist's previous release, 1967's AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE. In its wide-ranging experimentation and casual genius it was both a culmination of the pioneering artist's original vision and a foundation for the next, sadly aborted phase of his musical journey. Perry freely acknowledges Hendrix's musical influence, and returns the favor with incisive analyses of the guitarist's playing and recording methods. Each album track has its own chapter, and whether you agree with Perry's opinions or not (at several points he heretically, though not unreasonably, suggests that some tracks could have been better mixed), JIMI HENDRIX'S ELECTRIC LADYLAND admirably fulfills the 33 1/3 series' brief of in-depth critical reassessment of seminal rock releases.
||Electric Ladyland is one of the greatest guitar albums ever made. During the recording process, Jimi Hendrix at last had time and creative freedom to pursue the sounds he was looking for. In this remarkable and entertaining book, John Perry gets to the heart of Hendrix's unique talent - guiding the reader through each song on the album, writing vividly about Hendrix's live performances, and talking to several of Hendrix's peers and contemporaries. ExcerptNatural wit, sharpness of ear and a pervasive sense of fun prevented Hendrix from sticking just to the wah-wah pedal's literal use (and it's worth remembering that Hendrix off-stage was a natural mimic, whose imitations of Little Richard or of Harlem drag-queens made his friends howl). In fact, he found a use for the pedal without even using guitar. By turning his amp up high and treading the pedal he found he could modulate the natural hiss of amplifier valves, producing sounds of gentle breezes, howling storms or the susurration of waves on a beach; sounds that are all over "1983" and "Moon Turn The Tides". Hendrix had an ear and (though it's often overlooked) he also had a fine, sly sense of humour that - with characteristic lightness of touch - he was able to express in music.