Jimi Hendrix: Both Sides of the Sky


Call me an ignoramous but I was really kinda shocked when I found this album in KLM’s inflight entertainment area. A posthumous Jimi Hendrix album? Really? He left so many previously unreleased recordings to make a full album of? And as I read not only one, as Both Sides of the Sky is already the third “official” Hendrix album after his much too early demise in 1970. 😮

Sounds like a moneygrab by his estate admins/owners, right? I mean why were these recordings only discovered now and why didn’t Jimi release them in his lifetime? They must be shit gone bad, failed experiments, little vignettes, soundchecks without greater artistic value. Hardly better than a simple bootleg record. At least that’s what I was thinking. I clicked the album nevertheless, which shows how bored one can get on an 11-hour intercontinental flight.

1. Mannish Boy Muddy Waters 5:01
2. “Lover Man” 3:05
3. Hear My Train A Comin’ 7:26
4. “Stepping Stone” 3:12
5. “$20 Fine” Stephen Stills 4:59
6. “Power of Soul” 5:55
7. “Jungle” 3:28
8. Things I Used to Do Guitar Slim 3:41
9. “Georgia Blues” 7:55
10. “Sweet Angel” 3:54
11. Woodstock Joni Mitchell 5:19
12. “Send My Love to Linda” 4:36
13. “Cherokee Mist” 7:01

So here are my impressions of Both Sides of the Sky, the impressions of a self-confessed Hendrix ignorant:

The whole album is fine, just fine. Nothing outstanding, no breathtakingly beautiful guitar playing, no earworms but some pretty mediocre rock tunes and some awful blues shit. Georgia Blues is the quintessential blues song, showing all the typical qualities and reasons for why we hate the blues so much. Obnoxious saxophone solo (by Jimi himself) and the most stereotype and clichèd composition and lyrics. God-Awful, naff and annoying.

Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock with Stephen  Stills as guest singer isn’t half as nice as Crosby, Stills and Nash’s version, and the other Stills-sung song, 20$ Fine, didn’t command my attention neither.

Rest of the record stays below Jimi’s standard. At least the standard I, as a casual listener, am used to get from Hendrix. There ain’t no second Watchtower on this record, only a kinda Purple Haze inspired guitar riff in Cherokee Mist.

One can put on Both Sides of the Sky and have it running in the background and mostly ignore it while doing other stuff. It’s not really disturbing and a kinda good listening. But there is a reason why the maestro himself didn’t release any of the material in his much too short life. There might be the one or other thing to explore for the absolute Hendrix experts, as an entertaining pop music record Both Sides isn’t worth much.

Now all you Hendrix afficionados may corner me and beat me to a pulp (in the comment section below). I stand firm to my opinion.


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