This carefully crafted collection of Hendrix tracks culminates the original hand-written notes Jimi made for his proposed fourth studio album. Together with the family's notes and careful recollections of those originally involved in the studio sessions, the family has been able to craft a collection of shining accomplishments from Hendrix's last studio days.
Digitally remastered for the very first time from the original master recordings, First Rays of the New Rising Sun culls 17 tracks from 3 now long out of print Hendrix recordings issue shortly after his tragic 1970 death. Tracks from Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes were carefully reconstructed, based on original notes, and result in the collection that is presented here.
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun reviewed
By DAVE VEITCH
FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN
(Universal 11599 2)
Yes, this is the umpteenth album to contain the material Hendrix was working on at the time of his death; it is, however, also the most satisfying attempt to complete the double album he had envisioned.
This 17-track CD is more comprehensive than 1971's otherwise-excellent The Cry of Love LP and more authentic than 1995's Voodoo Soup, which committed the sins of polishing these unfinished songs to a glossy sheen.
First Rays doesn't sound like it was subject to hi-tech fidgeting; sonically, the album is rough in spots but natural-sounding. More impressive, smart sequencing assures these 17 tracks hold together nicely, even though Hendrix's creativity was obviously running wild: The album starts with a quintessential Hendrix rocker, Freedom, and runs through tender R&B ballads, straight-up blues, complex funk and even a couple of stinkers that could have been omitted.
This may not be the first time you buy these songs, but this should be the last.
Jimi Hendrix: First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Not just another Jimi Hendrix collection, the intent here was to create a composite of the last album project, one which Jimi had already given a title to. This is the disk that makes sense of the mish mosh of collected tunes since Jimi's death. Each song has been remastered and restored to the best versions completed by Hendrix, several of them stamped as thus by our hero. The sound quality is excellent and in of itself a triumph for Hendrix fans. After several listens one begins to really indentify a collective vibe from Jimi that is a lot more mature than what came before. Supersonic R&B grooves with blistering guitars that overlapped each other were the order of the day. Constant jamming had taken place during Jimi's last few years. When coupled with his push for a change in the music this CD helps to create an infectious mood and gives us a chance to really feel where Jimi was at just before he was taken from us. The booklet is also a treat, rife with background information and numerous photos of Jimi who made a great subject for photographers.
Classic Rock review
First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Right before his death in 1970, Jimi Hendrix was working on an album to be called First Rays of the New Rising Sun. The recordings were completed by some of the people closest to him, and released posthumously as the Cry of Love LP. Although a solid album in its own right, Hendrix fans claimed that it didn't have the same sound and feel of the albums which were released during his lifetime. To make matters worse, the Hendrix family were fighting for nearly 30 years to gain control of their late son's estate, which included all rights to his recordings, images, etc.
Finally on April 22 of this year, fans finally got what they'd been waiting for since 1972. First Rays of the New Rising Sun gave them the chance to hear Jimi's songs in the context that he wanted them to be eard. The Hendrix family supervised the project, which drew together 17 tracks that spanned his creativity from 1968 through to his final studio sessions in August, 1970. Together with Jimi's original hand-written notes, and recollections of those involved in the 1970 project, the family was able to reconstruct an amazing array of Hendrix classics.
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (rec. 1969 - 1970, rel. 1997)
Yes, it's the real item - or about as close to what Hendrix wanted as you're ever going to get. Having finally wrested control of Hendrix's estate from the vile Alan Douglas, Hendrix's family made a genuine effort to reconstruct Hendrix's final project. It ends up including all of Cry Of Love, plus seven tracks that had been the high points of the two cash-in albums that followed (1971's Rainbow Bridge and 1972's War Heroes). Even though all of these tracks had been released on assorted LP's a quarter-century earlier, the disc does bring together classics like the blazingly psychedelic "Room Full Of Mirrors" and the thundering "Dolly Dagger," and it also features only the original performances and mixes. I've had a listen, and the solid track listing and respectful presentation make the collection nearly as essential as Hendrix's three classic studio albums. (JA)
I can't understand why they kept alive the bizarre idea that the Dylan homage "My Friend" was considered for First Rays. Don't get me wrong: I like the tune, with its low-key atmosphere and sweeping chord changes, I just think it should've gone on the following album, with "Drifter's Escape" or "Power Of Soul" going on this one. (DBW)