Jimi Hendrix | Valleys Of Neptune

Legacy (2010)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  March 3, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars


The Imaginary Hendrix Vault boasts so many hypothetical treasures: Hendrix with Miles Davis — Future Shock!; Hendrix with Crosby, Stills, or Nash — Band of Merry Pranksters!; Hendrix with the Monkees — Together on Stage! (Okay, that last one really did sort of happen.) The actual Hendrix vault (at least, the sections that we laypeople are allowed to see) is much more prosaic: Jimi plays the blues; Jimi re-records signature songs; Jimi works through half-baked ideas for future albums shortly before his untimely death.

Valleys of Neptune plays like a cobbled-together mash of that trio, though it's being marketed as another "lost record" of sorts. Consisting of tracks recorded between Electric Ladyland and what is thought to have been intended for First Rays of the New Rising Sun (save for one track, "Mr. Bad Luck," which hails from the Axis: Bold As Love sessions), it's mostly alternate versions of old warhorses like "Red House," "Fire," "Stone Free," and "Hear My Train a Comin'."

The handful of unreleased songs — "Lover Man," "Ships Passing Through the Night," "Lullaby for the Summer" — make up for the glut of sameness, especially the hooky title track, with its tasty guitar lines. Still, for a visionary guy like Hendrix, this glorified compilation isn't as imaginary as it could be.

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