Legacy began reissuing Jimi Hendrix’s catalogue last year, the new editions of his original albums coming with an accompanying DVD. But these latest releases are simply straightforward reissues, with no new material.
“Power Of Soul,” originally released in 2004, was the first Hendrix tribute record to be curated by the Hendrix family company, Experience Hendrix LLC. As a result, they get the heavy hitters — Prince (a suitably funky “Purple House” with a ripping guitar solo), Sting (a bluesy “The Wind Cries Mary”), Santana (“Spanish Castle Magic,” a full-bodied rocker) and Eric Clapton (“Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” somewhat subdued until Clapton’s guitar solo), to mention a few. Other highlights include a burning live version of “Little Wing/3rd Stone From The Sun” by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble and Musiq’s great modern take on “Are You Experienced.” It’s also sweet having a few spoken interludes by Hendrix’s father, James “Al” Hendrix.
“South Saturn Delta,” originally released in 1997, is a single-disc rarities collection. Given Hendrix’s prodigious output and the existence of multi-disc sets, like “West Coast Seattle Boy” and “The Jimi Hendrix Experience,” a single disc might seem rather skimpy. But the set was released at a time when the Hendrix family recently had won back the rights to Jimi’s catalogue and was just getting started on reissues. Besides, even a little rare Jimi is better than no rare Jimi. The songs are drawn from 1967 to 1970 (the latter being a rough mix of “Power Of Soul” put together less than a month before his death). Tracks like demos of “Midnight Lightning,” “Little Wing (Angel),” and alternate mix of “All Along The Watchtower,” offer a tantalizing glimpse into the Hendrix archives, a kind of appetizer for the bounty that’s followed in subsequent years.