Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendrix [extended]

  • Are You Experienced? [Experience Hendrix, 1967]
  • Axis: Bold as Love [Experience Hendrix, 1968]
  • Smash Hits [Reprise, 1968]
  • Electric Ladyland [Experience Hendrix, 1969]
  • Band of Gypsys [Capitol, 1970] B+
  • Get into Something [T-Neck, 1970] B
  • Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival [Reprise, 1970] A-
  • In the Beginning . . . [T-Neck, 1971] B+
  • Givin' It Back [T-Neck, 1971] B
  • The Cry of Love [Reprise, 1971] A
  • Rainbow Bridge [Reprise, 1971] A-
  • Hendrix in the West [Reprise, 1972] A-
  • War Heroes [Reprise, 1972] B
  • Brother, Brother, Brother [T-Neck, 1972] B
  • Sound Track Recordings from the Film "Jimi Hendrix" [Reprise, 1973] C+
  • The Isleys Live [T-Neck, 1973] B-
  • 3 + 3 [T-Neck, 1973] B+
  • Live It Up [T-Neck, 1974] B
  • The Heat Is On [T-Neck, 1975] B
  • Crash Landing [Reprise, 1975] B+
  • Midnight Lightning [Reprise, 1976] B+
  • Harvest for the World [T-Neck, 1976] B-
  • Go For Your Guns [T-Neck, 1977] B
  • Forever Gold [T-Neck, 1977] B+
  • The Essential Jimi Hendrix [Reprise, 1978] C+
  • Showdown [T-Neck, 1978] B
  • Timeless [T-Neck, 1978] B+
  • The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two [Reprise, 1979] B-
  • Winner Takes All [T-Neck, 1979] C+
  • Go All the Way [T-Neck, 1979] C+
  • Nine to the Universe [Reprise, 1980] B+
  • The Jimi Hendrix Concerts [Warner Bros., 1982] B+
  • Jimi at Monterey [Reprise, 1986] B+
  • Johnny B. Goode [Capitol, 1986] A-
  • Band of Gypsys 2 [Capitol, 1986] A-
  • Live at Winterland [Rykodisc, 1987] A
  • Radio One [Rykodisc, 1988] A-
  • Tracks of Life [Warner Bros., 1992] Neither
  • Blues [MCA, 1994] A-
  • Woodstock [MCA, 1994] A-
  • First Rays of the New Rising Sun [Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997]
  • South Saturn Delta [Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997]
  • BBC Sessions [MCA, 1998] B+
  • It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers [Epic/Legacy/T-Neck, 1999] A-
  • Live at the Oakland Coliseum [Dagger/Experience Hendrix, 1999]
  • Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection [Experience Hendrix, 2001]
  • Live at Berkeley [Experience Hendrix, 2003] ***
  • People, Hell and Angels [Legacy, 2013] **
  • Rainbow Bridge [Experience Hendrix/Legacy, 2014] A-
  • Power of Peace [Legacy, 2017] ***

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced? [Experience Hendrix, 1967]
Try to hear this bombshell debut as an English pop record--only two of the 11 skillfully paced paced tracks, three titanic bonus singles, and three fascinating B sides run over four minutes, and hooks abound. You could hum these tunes. Yet humming definitely didn't capture their essence, a roiling sea of guitar that would change how a generation of fans heard music and conceived their own blown minds. [Blender: 5]

Jimi Hendrix: Axis: Bold as Love [Experience Hendrix, 1968]
True believers praise the spaced-out lightness of his second album, released just half a year after Are You Experienced? But since Hendrix immediately heavied up again, figure they're kidding themselves--half the songs are forgettable as songs if fine as recordings, and there's even some pro forma guitar. Not much, though, and to hear Mitchell going wild on tracks even briefer than the debut's is to nudge Keith Moon over on his free-style drumming pedestal. [Blender: 3]

Jimi Hendrix: Smash Hits [Reprise, 1968]
[CG70s: A Basic Record Library; CG80: Rock Library: Before 1980]

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland [Experience Hendrix, 1969]
"It wasn't just slopped together; every little thing you hear there means something," said Hendrix of his two-LP masterwork. And though it isn't perfect, perfection wasn't the idea. No previous rock album flowed like this, and while jazz albums often support as many contrasting sonic moods, Louis Armstrong himself didn't match Hendrix's appetite for sound effects and general silliness. His spaced-out spirituality is the fullest musicalization of "psychedelic" ever accomplished. [Blender: 5]

Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys [Capitol, 1970]
Because Billy Cox and Buddy Miles are committed (not to say limited) to a straight 4/4 with a slight funk bump, Hendrix has never sounded more earthbound. "Who Knows," based on a blues elemental, and "Machine Gun," a peacemonger's long-overdue declaration of war, are as powerful if not as complex as anything he's ever put on record. But except on the rapid-fire "Message to Love" he just plays simple wah-wah patterns for a lot of side two. Not bad for a live rock album, because Hendrix is the music's nonpareil improvisor. But for a Hendrix album, not great. B+

The Isley Brothers: Get into Something [T-Neck, 1970]
Five of the ten tracks on this album were r&b hits, and even "Girls Will Be Girls," a silly song that does not reflect "Take Inventory"'s astonishing views on the subjection of women, has its pleasures. But none of them went pop--or tore up the r&b charts--because none of them was more than a serviceable rehash. The first side rocks, the second side fluctuates, and let's hope they get into something else soon. B

Otis Redding/The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival [Reprise, 1970]
Historically, what's happening is two radically different black artists showboating at the nativity of the new white rock audience. Both have performed more subtly and more brilliantly, even on live albums (Live in Europe, the first side of Band of Gypsys), and maybe I'm nostalgic. But while at the time I admired Redding ("the love crowd" pegged that audience perfectly) and was appalled by Hendrix ("a psychedelic Uncle Tom," I called him, and that's one of the dozens of things he was), in retrospect they seem equally audacious and equally wonderful. As evocative a distillation of the hippie moment in all its hope and contradiction as you'll ever hear. A-

In the Beginning . . . [T-Neck, 1971]
Cut around 1965, while Hendrix was still part of the Isley's band, these casual sessions, remixed to push his guitar up with the voices, are far superior to Curtis Knight's Hendrix tapes. Make you wonder what would have happened if they'd been released at the time. Especially on "Move Over Let Me Dance," Hendrix anticipates effects Clapton introduced on "Sunshine of My Love," but in a less inflated context--could have blown some minds in Harlem. Not all of the music is don't-miss great. But it's all historic--and you can dance to it. B+

The Isley Brothers: Givin' It Back [T-Neck, 1971]
An exciting album in theory--cover versions by a genuinely "progressive" (at least self-contained) soul act of eight (mostly) excellent (mostly) rock songs. But only "Spill the Wine" (previously a progressive r&b hit), "Love the One You're With" (previously a progressive rock hit), and "Ohio" (no complaints) are exciting in practice. Ernie Isley just can't match Jimi's "Machine Gun," and soul is wasted on "Fire and Rain" and "Lay Lady Lay," which are more powerful in their understated originals. B

Jimi Hendrix: The Cry of Love [Reprise, 1971]
At first I responded to this by feel. It seemed loose, free of mannerisms, warmer than the three Experience LPs, as if by dying before it was finished Hendrix left all the sweet lyricism of his cockeyed mystical brotherhood jive unguarded. But it isn't just the flow--these tracks work as individual compositions, from offhand rhapsodies like "Angel" and "Night Bird Flying" through primal riffsongs like "Ezy Ryder" and "Astro Man" to inspired goofs like "My Friend" and "Belly Button Window." What a testament. A

Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge [Reprise, 1971]
Given that Hendrix is always a guitarist first, The Cry of Love seems like the verbal/vocal half of the double-LP he was planning when he died. Except for "Dolly Dagger," now the single and a pretty conventional Hendrix song, what you notice here is the playing--the delicate "Pali Gap," the relatively dignified (and pre-Woodstock) "Star Spangled Banner," and the amazing blues jams of side two, especially the live "Hear My Train a Coming." Rich stuff, exploring territory that as always with Hendrix consists not merely of notes but of undifferentiated sound, a sound he shapes with a virtuosity no one else has ever achieved on an electric instrument. A-

Jimi Hendrix: Hendrix in the West [Reprise, 1972]
Despite the introductory mini-medley of "God Save the Queen" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from Isle of Wight--a great in-concert idea that doesn't have any business on a record--these San Diego (with the Experience) and Berkeley (with Cox and Mitchell) performances make a better live album than Band of Gypsys. Not all of it is historic, but "Red House," done as a long blues jam marred briefly by a lazy unaccompanied passage, and "Little Wing," stronger and freer than on Axis: Bold as Love (or Layla), are definitive. And so, heh heh, is "Johnny B. Goode." A-

Jimi Hendrix: War Heroes [Reprise, 1972]
It figures you'd find the heavy metal down toward the bottom of the barrel--still strong stuff, but except maybe for the "Highway Chile" riff and the sheer speed of "Steppin' Stone," nothing springs out. And novelties like "Peter Gunn" and "3 Little Bears," biographically touching though they are, really do sound like filler. B

The Isley Brothers: Brother, Brother, Brother [T-Neck, 1972]
Although the three Carole King songs seem a little tame after "Ohio" and "Cold Baloney," her simple messages fit the Isleys' lyrical-to-smarmy gospel credulousness quite neatly. But it's only on the three Isley originals that top off side one that this album makes itself felt, and interestingly enough none of them could be called "progressive": "Lay Away" and "Pop That Thang" are infectious groove tunes, while "Work to Do" is a compelling assertion of male prerogatives whose dire potential was presaged in 1969, when R.B. Greaves found himself forced to swap his wife for his secretary. Love and money, love and money--it's a polarity that tears you apart even more when they give you a (long) shot at both. B

Jimi Hendrix: Sound Track Recordings from the Film "Jimi Hendrix" [Reprise, 1973]
"Johnny B. Goode" has about two-thirds the volume and brightness of the original, and the stuff from Band of Gypsys has lost clarity. None of the previously unreleased music is exceptional, although all of it is interesting, especially an early twelve-string blues. The interviews aren't bad, and at least they're at the end of each side. I wouldn't, and didn't, throw away a free copy--just filed it where the sun don't shine. C+

The Isley Brothers: The Isleys Live [T-Neck, 1973]
"Featuring Ernest Isley on Lead Guitar," says a sticker on the back, and that's the pitch for these (slightly) extended remakes, their last album before moving to CBS. Problem is, all that makes Little Brother a Hendrix heir is that unlike most soul-trained guitarists he doesn't merely support the vocalist--he's loud, slow, dramatic. I prefer him to Robin Trower, say--fewer chops, apter context. But they really ought to let him do his thing in the studio. B-

The Isley Brothers: 3 + 3 [T-Neck, 1973]
I know the singing siblings have soft tastes in "rock," but where this side of a Warners promo could you expect to find "Summer Breeze," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," and "Listen to the Music" on the same album? Still, with "That Lady" their most original original in years, Ernie soaring around thrillingly on his magic guitar, and the others popping their various things in ever more winning combinations, this is their sexiest music in years. Just because they manhandled "Fire and Rain" doesn't mean they can't improve on James's schlock. In fact, between their sense of rhythm and their knee-jerk sincerity they make all three covers work--except for the mental jasmine part, of course. B+

The Isley Brothers: Live It Up [T-Neck, 1974]
In which Ernie finally gets to make his studio album. What sound effects--the most technosoulful around. I mean, this guy isn't just whistling wah-wah. I do believe he likes Stevie's synthesizer more than Jimi's guitar, though. B

The Isley Brothers: The Heat Is On [T-Neck, 1975]
This is well-nigh flawless Isleys--the rockish electric textures are muted nicely on side two, "Fight the Power" does its bit to politicize the radio, and Seals & Crofts won't steal any lyrics. But Ronnie Isley isn't getting any less unctuous--when he tries to talk someone into bed he recalls one of those guys who started wearing love beads to singles bars in 1968 or 1969. Progress requires ambition, but the two aren't identical. B

Jimi Hendrix: Crash Landing [Reprise, 1975]
The studio guys producer-curator Alan Douglas assigned to provide proper tracks (he claims the originals were unreleasable, though one must wonder whether he could have grabbed all that composition credit if he'd put 'em out untouched) do a surprisingly competent job. In fact, I don't even blame them for the competent lifelessness of side one--Jimi was a pretty fair city songwriter (cf. such guitar whizzes as Clapton, Garcia, Page, Trower, Marino, Beck), but his legacy can't be infinite. Side two, however, includes the best hook here--a soul consciousness chant called "With the Power" that features Buddy Miles and Billy Cox--as well as two astonishing instrumental showpieces, "Peace in Mississippi" (feedback heaven) and "Captain Coconut" (studio space). B+

Jimi Hendrix: Midnight Lightning [Reprise, 1976]
With posthumous Hendrix it's best to concentrate on the improvisations as if he were a jazz musician, and heard this way Alan Douglas's second attempt at creative tampering beats the first. Once again the standouts are instrumentals--a Mitch Mitchell vamp called "Beginnings" and especially "Trash Man," reminiscent of McLaughlin's Devotion only grander, more passionate, and more anarchic. Guitarist Jeff Mironov actually enriches that cut, just as guitarist Lance Quinn does "Machine Gun," which due to the stiffness of the rhythm section is less funky than either live version but smashes through as a raveup. And beyond that the blues playing--as opposed to singing or writing--carries the album. B+

The Isley Brothers: Harvest for the World [T-Neck, 1976]
Ronnie croons, Ernie zooms, and if you suspect you've heard it all before, trust your instincts. B-

The Isley Brothers: Go For Your Guns [T-Neck, 1977]
By the time the competent enough first side was over, I felt completely fed up with their mellifluous bullshit, especially since I'd noticed the title "Voyage to Atlantis" on side two. But that disaster excepted side two is the most hard-edged they've recorded since moving T-Neck to CBS in 1973. Needless to say, the one about "Climbin' Up the Ladder" is even more passionate than the one about "Livin' the Life." Nor is it surprising that the title tune has no lyrics at all. There's no riot goin' on. B

The Isley Brothers: Forever Gold [T-Neck, 1977]
Best-ofs shouldn't have A and B sides, but that's how this one works for me--would have been stronger if they'd pulled something from Go for Your Guns, still on the charts when this was released. You want rock and roll, they'll give you rock and roll--when they want. You want insipid--well, millions do. Most Wishy-Washy Title of All Time: "(At Your Best) You Are Love." B+

Jimi Hendrix: The Essential Jimi Hendrix [Reprise, 1978]
The essential Jimi Hendrix is to be found on Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, and The Cry of Love, from which most of the great music on this two-LP compilation was rather eccentrically excerpted. Smash Hits is a worthy song compilation. And if this is why Rainbow Bridge (two cuts), War Heroes (two cuts), and Hendrix in the West (none) were deleted from the catalogue, Alan Douglas ought to be put in escrow until they're restored. C+

The Isley Brothers: Showdown [T-Neck, 1978]
Disco has been good for this band musically: the chic guitar-and-chant of the title tune, the slow, sensuous funk of "Groove With You," and the enigmatic air of "Ain't Givin' Up No Love" are refreshing variants on their basic moon-and-vroom, and both "Rockin' the Fire" and "Take Me to the Next Phase" are pure dance-peak ideology. Doesn't do much for their politics, though. B

The Isley Brothers: Timeless [T-Neck, 1978]
The Isleys are one of the great music-business success stories--in a decade when the artists were supposed to take over the industry, they're one of the few (along with Jefferson Lear Jet) to make a go of their own label. But though T-Neck puts out excellent product, product is all it is. This two-LP compilation, in which their Buddah-distributed material reverts to the Isleys' company (it's virtually identical to Buddah's 1976 The Best . . . package), reminds us that even back when they were inventing their shtick they were also victims of it. The only great songs are "It's Your Thing" and "Work to Do"; they reuse the same harmonies and dynamics again and again. The Isleys to own, probably--but there's no doubt you can live without it. B+

Jimi Hendrix: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two [Reprise, 1979]
This one-LP follow-up surrounds the Band of Gypsys "Machine Gun" with the Monterey "Wild Thing" and the Woodstock "Star Spangled Banner," a worthy conceit, and includes a seven-inch "Gloria" that lasts 8:47 and is spectacular for about a third of that. It also includes five whole tracks from Are You Experienced? B-

The Isley Brothers: Winner Takes All [T-Neck, 1979]
What's wrong with your clockwork, guys? The two-record set is supposed to be a reissue or an in-concert. And the studio job is supposed to be one disc only. C+

The Isley Brothers: Go All the Way [T-Neck, 1979]
Except on the title cut, a rocking Rodgers & Edwards rip, the formula here is more exact than the best formulas should have to be. And if "The Belly Dancer" is their idea of specificity, I'd just as soon they keep it vague. Cher finds better lyrics. C+

Jimi Hendrix: Nine to the Universe [Reprise, 1980]
With posthumous Hendrix it's always best to concentrate on the improvisations as if he were a jazz musician, and these relaxed jams are his jazziest contexts to date. Unfortunately, at least in theory, the only jazz player on hand is organist Larry Young, who got pretty far out with Miles and McLaughlin but sounds like Jimmy Smith over the Billy Cox-Mitch Mitchell beat. The result is bracing progressive r&b with Jimi stretching out, and the question is whether tighter structures wouldn't have made him think harder and faster. B+

Jimi Hendrix: The Jimi Hendrix Concerts [Warner Bros., 1982]
Limited by Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, never the world's greatest living rhythm section, this barrel-bottom houses Hendrix the heavy metal paterfamilias rather than Hendrix the nonpareil rock improviser (not that the two weren't sometimes the same). There've been more exciting versions of such highlights as "Hear My Train a Comin'" (on Rainbow Bridge), "Little Wing," and especially "Red House" (both on the criminally deleted Hendrix in the West). But "Are You Experienced" has never been noisier. B+

Jimi Hendrix: Jimi at Monterey [Reprise, 1986]
Since I've oft been chastised for suggesting that the JHE's U.S. splashdown was less than extraterrestrial, I'm surprised at the yes-we-have-no-hosannas greeting this verbatim version. Maybe it's because only three of the ten tracks are previously unreleased. Maybe it's because after years of repackaging only suckers and acolytes get hot for another live Hendrix album. Or maybe it's because Jimi speeds alarmingly, Mitch Mitchell keeps tripping over his sticks, and "Like a Rolling Stone" is patently hokey. Nevertheless, such extramusical factors as historical verisimilitude and tinless audio incline me to charity. Peace-and-love-and-egomania at its most far out. B+

Jimi Hendrix: Johnny B. Goode [Capitol, 1986]
Like Hendrix's other 1986 releases, this budget-priced mini-LP (time: 26:08) is vivid testimony to the uses of digital mastering for archival music, especially music recorded direct to two-track. "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Machine Gun" occupy the B, and while there's no need to own either twice, the powerful sound is at least a reason. On the A, a compressed, guitar-heavy "Voodoo Chile" and an intense "Watchtower" surround the disc's only previously released (though long unavailable) track, which provides the album title for good reason--it's the definitive version of the definitive guitar anthem. Roll over Chuck Berry and tell Keith Richards the news. A-

Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys 2 [Capitol, 1986]
I suppose side one of this belated sequel wasn't side two of the original because Jimi had a personal or Capitol a financial stake in such brotherhood bromides as "Power of Soul" and "We Gotta Live Together." But for better or worse he's a lot more impassioned working apolitical traditions--debuting "Hear My Train a Comin'" or reprising "Foxy Lady" or letting Buddy Miles cover Howard Tate's "Stop." What's more, the Hendrix classics by the Mitch Mitchell edition of Band of Gypsys on side two sound a lot fresher now than they would have fifteen years ago, and not just because pressing techniques have taken such a leap. Which makes the second first by me. A-

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live at Winterland [Rykodisc, 1987]
This reconstructed hour-plus, drawn from the same three-night October '68 engagement that showed up on the 1982 Jimi Hendrix Concerts, is what the format is for. The sound is bigger and better in every way for an artist whose sound was his music--a vast improvement on live analog remixes, a meaningful improvement on the digitals that redefined live Hendrix last year. The uninterrupted length makes sense, conveying a concert's pace and logic into your audio-only living room. Also, the performances are splendid. A

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Radio One [Rykodisc, 1988]
If it's getting like Coltrane, crazies examining umpteen versions of the same tune, Hendrix's versions do bear scrutiny like no other rock and roll. Noncrazies aren't obliged or even advised to make the effort, yet newcomers could just as well start with these BBC sessions as with Are You Experienced?, also cut when he still led kind of a pop band. Ace new stuff includes Curtis Knight's "Drivin' South" and Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog." A-

The Isley Brothers: Tracks of Life [Warner Bros., 1992] Neither

Jimi Hendrix: Blues [MCA, 1994]
Your soul will survive if you never hear a moment of Reprise's brass-balled clearance boxes, Lifelines (radio music, radio chat) and Stages (four concerts! four cities! four years!). But on this "new" single disc, the Inexhaustible One sounds pretty fresh for somebody who's been dead 24 years. Even if you've heard him do most of these titles, even if you've committed Rainbow Bridge's "Hear My Train A Comin'" to memory, the simple concept and modest scope do right by his uniqueness, his diversity, and the mother of all subgenres. A-

Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock [MCA, 1994]
Transitional--less definitive than Winterland early or Berkeley late. But more essential (also historic) than any other Hendrix concert record. The ad hoc Gypsy Sons and Rainbows band goes with Billy Cox on bass, picks Mitch's sticks over Buddy's bigfoot; two percussionists sit in for a snakier groove and Larry Lee adds extraneous guitar. The loosely rehearsed music sounds that way. But it's way, way out there--"The Star Spangled Banner" is a bon-bon compared to "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)/Stepping Stone" or "Jam Back at the House (Beginnings)" or the unaccompanied "Woodstock Improvisation." All in all, your basic rock concert as act of flawed genius. Does this kind of thing happen any more? Not on such a scale for sure. A-

Jimi Hendrix: First Rays of the New Rising Sun [Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997]
"If you give deeper thoughts in your music then the masses will buy them," Hendrix said, and maybe if he'd finished this double LP his dreams would have come true. But as reimagined by longtime engineer Eddie Kramer, it's less startling musically than Electric Ladyland and not too profound lyrically. It's also a powerful collection by a stone genius whose songwriting kept growing and whose solos rarely disappoint. [Blender: 4]

Jimi Hendrix: South Saturn Delta [Experience Hendrix/MCA, 1997]
Discographically presumptuous though this melange of odd tracks, alternate takes, and previously unreleaseds is, it establishes the listenability of Hendrix's dribs and drabs. Crazies with time on their hands can have a not dissimilar experience with the four-CD The Jimi Hendrix Experience box. [Blender: 3]

Jimi Hendrix: BBC Sessions [MCA, 1998]
An essential exhumation of the only rock artist I'm convinced merits them (I'll finish with the Springsteen box soon, honest). But despite the one-minute "Sunshine of My Love" and other oddments from his mercurial top-of-the-pops career, anyone who owns Rykodisc's one-CD 1988 version, off the market now that the good guys control the catalogue, has the essentials. There's a whiff of completism coming off the definitive Hendrix reissue program--the usual mix of profit maximization and hero worship, certain to separate the fans from the scholars pretty quick. The rationalization being, I guess, that six is nine--the fans are scholars already. B+

The Isley Brothers: It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers [Epic/Legacy/T-Neck, 1999]
Not counting them Beefheart digs, this triple is the single-artist box of the year by acclamation, and why not? It does an honorable job on a significant band whose catalog cries out for landscaping. And compared to the completist monoliths on the Isleys from UA and RCA, it distinguishes hills from dales pretty nice. But folks, this is only the Isley Brothers. They gave us "Twist and Shout" and "It's Your Thing" and, um, "That Lady," they hired Jimi Hendrix young and learned a few things, they formed their own label and held on like heroes. They have a great single disc in them. But who's up for canonization next? Frankie Beverly and Maze? A-

Jimi Hendrix: Live at the Oakland Coliseum [Dagger/Experience Hendrix, 1999]
This competent unauthorized mono recording of an April 1969 concert has now been certified by Experience Hendrix's major domo, Jimi's stepsister Janie Hendrix, whom he barely knew. It's a bootleg, it sounds like one, and it's expressly "not intended for the casual fan." Big deals: 18-minute workout on "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and, heart be still, guest shot by Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady. [Blender: 2]

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection [Experience Hendrix, 2001]
This budget double--18 studio tracks balanced by 12 live recordings--whups the 20-track bestseller Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix. Beyond "Manic Depression," it omits no essential songs. If several arrive in uncanonical live versions, well, you can't comprehend Hendrix without some of those. Despite climaxing with "Wild Thing" at Monterey rather than leading with it, disc two stands as his greatest live album. [Blender: 5]

Jimi Hendrix: Live at Berkeley [Experience Hendrix, 2003]
The Cox-Mitchell band at its most documentable ("Hey Baby [New Rising Sun]," "I Don't Live Today"). ***

Jimi Hendrix: People, Hell and Angels [Legacy, 2013]
A superior barrel scrape, with Hendrix's comping behind Lonnie Youngblood worthy of the permanent collection ("Let Me Move You," "Somewhere") **

Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge [Experience Hendrix/Legacy, 2014]
This long-lost, new-to-CD album followed The Cry of Love in 1971, when slavemaster Mike Jeffery and some Warner Bros. overseers hired bereaved collaborator Eddie Kramer to make sense and of course dollars of the dead hero's vastness. Half of it reappeared on 1996's Kramer-overseen First Rays of the New Rising Son, a what-Jimi-wanted reconstruction that's always paled against Electric Ladyland. So probably the two in-the-moment profit-takers give us a better sense of who Hendrix was in the excited, spiritual, bummed-out sprawl of his final year. Among its rare gifts: a synthlike, pre-Woodstock "Star Spangled Banner" and the measured, lyrical "Pali Gap." A-

The Isley Brothers/Santana: Power of Peace [Legacy, 2017]
Ronnie croons and cries the forebears' songbook while Carlos and Ernie soar-not-shred, and yes, consciousness is included ("Total Destruction to Your Mind," "God Bless the Child," "Mercy Mercy Me [The Ecology]" ***