BOTH SIDES OF THE SKY is the third volume in a trilogy of albums intended to present the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in the legendary guitarist’s archive. Beginning with VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE (2010), which earned top ten sales rankings in fifteen countries (including a top position of #4 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart), followed by PEOPLE, HELL AND ANGELS (2013) which peaked on Billboard’sTop 100 album chart at #2. Billboard’s coveted number one singles ranking went to ‘Somewhere,’ the album’s lead track and the legendary guitarist’s highest ever US singles chart achievement. This third release is anticipated to complete the spectacular recording event in epic fashion.
The album is produced by JohnMcDermott, together with Janie Hendrix and Eddie Kramer.
Recorded between January 1968 and February 1970, Jimi’s desire to push the boundaries of blues music can be heard throughout. BOTH SIDES OF THE SKY additionally highlights Jimi’s mastery of studio production and his increasing use of these facilities as a proving ground for new sounds, material, and techniques. Many of the album’s tracks were recorded by the trio that would come to be known as Band of Gypsys: Jimi on guitar and vocals, Billy Coxon bass, and Buddy Miles on drums.
For their first-ever recording session on April 22, 1969, Hendrix turned to their shared musical root, delta blues.
Their previously unreleased, uptempo reworking of MuddyWaters’‘Mannish Boy’ opens the album and sets the tempo for what follows.
‘Lover Man’ was a favoured Hendrix original and the guitarist was determined to realize a finished master. Previous attempts by the original Experience had yet to yield this for Hendrix but this December 1969 effort by the Band Of Gypsys— complete with its homage to the popular Batman theme song—was his strongest effort to date.
‘Hear My Train A Comin’’ features drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding from the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. This original blues composition had become a staple of Hendrix’s concerts. This previously unreleased April 1969 recording captured the furious power and dynamic tension that made the song so memorable.
Other highlights on this release are ‘Stepping Stone,’ ‘Jungle,’ ‘Cherokee Mist’ (which features Hendrix on both electric guitar and sitar) as well as the January 1968 recording of ‘Sweet Angel’. All of these are previously unheard recordings.
BOTH SIDES OF THE SKY also features an assortment of notable guest musicians.
In September of 1969 Stephen Stills who befriended Hendrix at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, was invited to a Hendrix session at the Record Plant in New York.
Stills burst into the session with a song Joni Mitchell had recently composed, titled ‘Woodstock.’
Joined by Hendrix and Buddy Miles, the trio recorded this version first--months before Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released their popular rendition of Mitchell’s song.
Stills would also contribute $20 Fine, an original song that featured Hendrix on multiple guitars, Mitchell on drums, Stills on organ and lead vocals and Duane Hitchings (Buddy Miles Express) on piano.
An excerpt of Jimi doing Guitar Slim’s ‘Things I Used To Do’ was initially heard as part of a 1990 nationally syndicated radio program and accompanying box set, but here it is presented in full, newly mixed by Eddie Kramer for BOTH SIDES OF THE SKY.
On ‘Georgia Blues,’ Jimi is reunited with his old bandmate Lonnie Youngblood (vocals/sax) from his pre-fame days in Curtis Knight & The Squires. Briefly issued as part of the 2008 MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS THE BLUES series but out of print for nearly a decade, this special recording is once more available to Hendrix fans throughout the world.
Summing this release up there is no doubt this is a treasure for all Hendrix fans. The quality of the sound is amazingly (re)mastered and sounds crystal clear and fresh. A must have if you collect Hendrix's music and for those that still don't know him, a good way to get to know his amazing guitar skills.