Keno's Classic Rock n Roll Web Site
Released - Oct, 1968, on MCA Records. Produced by Jimi Hendrix
- Lead and Rhythm Guitars;
Keyboards; Kazoo; Lead & Backing Vocals
Steve Winwood - Organ on "Voodoo Chile"
This double album was dedicated to groupies, whom Jimi Hendrix called "Electric Ladies". No question, with Electric Ladyland, Hendrix was experimenting with his music, and all you have to do is hear this LP one time to realize this. His manager and producer, Chas Chandler, didn't care for the direction that Jimi was heading for on the album and left the studio in the LP's early stages, leaving the entire album in Jimi's hands. Overall, this turned into one fine album, yet I wish Chandler had stayed around, as some of the songs could have used his help, especially "1983", which dragged on way too long (at almost 14 minutes!) and for the most part didn't really have too much of Hendrix's great guitar blaring away for most of it.
There were other weird things happening with the album even after it was recorded, but before it was released, that being, what the cover photo would be of. It seemed that a few people had different things in mind, and it first came out with a back and front cover shot of 19 nude women - a cover that would soon be banned (I still own one of 'em today). Some claimed that Hendrix didn't want that cover used anyway. What is clear is that the cover that is used today was definitely not what Jimi wanted. Hendrix in notes, which you can see in the booklet that the CD comes with today wrote (of photos that were taken by Linda Eastman-McCartney) - this taken from his own hand writing: "Please use picture of us and the kids on the stature for front or back cover". Yet those photos were never used on the LP, but three of them are now used today - in the CD booklet. You think that after they had to change the nude cover, that they would have used what Hendrix asked for in the first place, or at least do so today on the CD, but that wasn't the case.
Getting back to the music found inside Electric Ladyland, Jimi seemed to cover a little bit of everything on this album. The LP opens with a non-music track, then the first song plays, being the title cut, "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)", this is not your usual Hendrix tune. This song is pure soul music, sounds more like The Four Tops - or maybe The Temptations, but not Hendrix! But up next is more typical Hendrix sounding, and the best song on the album - "Crosstown Traffic". That is followed by the blues like "Voodoo Chile" - another long song, but this one is a lot better than the LP's other long number, "1983" (already mentioned above). Yet even better than "Voodoo Chile" is "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", which closes out the LP.
There are two covers on this album, one being a fantastic version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", and then a second neat cover, this time of "Come On (Let the Good Time Roll) ". Hendrix also let bassist Noel Redding have a go with a song that Redding penned, called "Little Miss Strange", which doesn't sound too bad either.
Electric Ladyland may not be my favorite Hendrix album, but it is cool and still a trip to listen to today!
- Keno 2006
To listen to some soundclips from ELECTRIC LADYLAND or to purchase it, click on: Electric Ladyland