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CRY THE TOP 20
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Critics' Choice
JIMI'S LATEST SIDES
3/9/18

by Simon Glickman

I won't lie—it warms my heart to see Jimi Hendrix on the iTunes Top 10. The late, great artist's Both Sides of the Sky (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) collects some studio excursions from the last year or so his life; it's an impressive sampling of his stylistic range. There's some typically expressive blues (including a memorable "Georgia Blues" with Lonnie Youngblood on vocal and sax) and a number of workouts with his Band of Gypsys rhythm section of Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Stephen Stills shows up to play organ and sing "$20 Fine" and Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" (on which Jimi  switches to bass and plays an elastic, riveting solo on four strings). There's a powerful instrumental version of "Angel," here called "Sweet Angel," with some lithe vibraphone touches. Sometimes it's just Jimi and Buddy working out a song, an instructive demonstration of the latter's pocket. There's even a smidge of sitar on closer "Cherokee Mist," one of four cuts with Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell

The great engineer Eddie Kramer oversaw the assembly of this set, and it's also further testament to his skill at realizing Hendrix's sonic ambitions. 

It may not be essential Jimi, but as a deep dive it's damn satisfying.