I've had a few new CDs falling through the letterbox in the last weeks.
Jimi Hendrix - Valley's of Neptune.
Yes the "new" album from Mr Hendrix - not bad considering Sept 18th will be the 40th anniversary of his death! I was a bit trepidacious about buying this. I have a huge box set of vinyl Hendrix lps that my brother bought me as a Christmas present when I was a teenager and whilst there are some priceless moments on them there was a fair amount of dross on what had been released in the 10 years then since his passing. However this is a very very creditable release. There are a couple of "unreleased" tracks of which Valley's of Neptune is the best. It is Hendrix at his best and I wonder why it never was released before but that takes nothing away from it being worth listening to.
Of the others that are not "new" tracks the version of Fire is excellent and the instrumental Sunshine of Your Love is totally stunning. Now that took me back to a Sat evening in front of a black & white TV where a certain Mr Hendrix and the original experience line up ripped through Hey Joe and Sunshine of Your Love on the Lulu show. A very small lad looked at that and said to his Mum - "I want to play guitar". Now I'm never going to be a Hendrix but it still is a spine chilling memory.
Worth buying? Yes. It shows Hendrix at a period where he was frustrated after the Electric Ladyland sessions and was trying to redefine himself which culminated in the Band of Gypsys.
John Mayer - Battle Fields
Mr Mayer is a bit of a pin up pretty boy possibly better known in the general populace for his serial dating of A list female celebs. However when not out on the town with a lovely on his arm the man is a consummate guitarist, singer and songwriter. Now the lyrical content of this album is not the jolliest of songs - my daughter pointed out that it was all pretty depressing with lots of reference to relationship breakups etc. However the music whilst more pop than his recent blues trio leanings is very good. There are several really good understated solos that hook you in. Here's an album you can buy the Mrs, she'll like looking at the cover and like Mr Mayer's voice and you can listen to well crafted songs and solos... win win I think they say :-) One stand out track is his changed cover of Crossroads worth comparing with The Cream version and the Robert Johnson original.
Joe Bonamassa - Black Rock
Mr Bonamassa returns with a slightly different set for him. This CD kicks off in true JB blues rock tradition. There is though more use of lighter sounds and more acoustic on this album. Also there are more covers than original tracks on this collection surprisingly but some of his treatments of them turn your head - or ears if you get my drift. Highly recommended.