Jimi Hendrix's 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 music legend's archive beginning with Valleys of Neptune (2010) and followed by People, Hell and Angels (2013). This dynamic third release completes the spectacular recording event in epic fashion with 13 studio recordings made between January 1968 and February 1970, 10 of which have never before been released. Hendrix's desire to push the boundaries of blues music can be heard throughout and Both Sides of the Sky additionally highlights his mastery of studio production and increasing use of these facilities as a proving ground for new sounds, material, and techniques. Pressed at QRP, this 180g 2LP set sounds amazing on vinyl.
Many of the album's tracks were recorded by the trio that would come to be known as Band of Gypsys: Jimi on guitar/vocals, Billy Cox on 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 Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" opens the album and sets the tempo for what follows. "Lover Man" was a favored 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. Previously unheard recordings of "Stepping Stone," "Jungle," "Cherokee Mist" (which features Hendrix on both electric guitar and sitar) as well as the January 1968 recording of "Sweet Angel" provide further highlights.
Both Sides of the Sky also features an assortment of notable guest musicians. Stephen Stills befriended Hendrix at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. In September of 1969 Stills 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.
Another of the album's unique band creations sees Hendrix and Johnny Winter on guitar, backed by Billy Cox and drummer Dallas Taylor of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. An excerpt of their rendition of 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 on all audio formats.
Both Sides of the Sky was produced by Janie Hendrix, John McDermott, and Eddie Kramer. Kramer served as recording engineer on every Jimi Hendrix album made during the artist's life. In order to preserve the integrity and continuity of the Hendrix legacy, this same team has produced every Jimi Hendrix audio and visual release since 1996.
1. Mannish Boy*
2. Lover Man*
3. Hear My Train A Comin'*
4. Stepping Stone*
5. $20 Fine*+
6. Power Of Soul^
8. Things I Used to Do#
9. Georgia Blues++
10. Sweet Angel*
12. Send My Love To Linda*
13. Cherokee Mist*
^ Previously unavailable extended version
+Featuring Stephen Stills
#Featuring Johnny Winter
++Featuring Lonnie Youngblood