The Austin Chronicle

Box Sets

Reviewed by Margaret Moser, December 17, 2010, Music

Jimi Hendrix

West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Legacy)

Within young Jimi Hendrix burned an unquenchable fire: the desire to be someone, to make his mark, to imprint the guitar into dimensions unknown. That determination sent him to woodshed with top R&B acts of the day, informing his rock guitar with its bluesy lifeblood. When he died in 1970 at the age of 27, he left much unmapped but little unexplored. West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology stitches it all together over four CDs and a vivid DVD patchwork of concert and club footage, which blankets its subject in the warm memory of faded photographs and scratchy clips, wailing "Killing Floor" in Paris or bemused as Dick Cavett suggests some people might be offended by his version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Alternate takes and pre-solo studio selections here are for casual completists, but are also the most revealing, especially disc one with the guitarist backing Little Richard and Don Covay as well as unknowns Rosa Lee Brooks and the Icemen. Hendrix's playing is chunky, funky, stylishly solid. Occasionally, as with the Isley Brothers' "Move Over and Let Me Dance" or Billy Lamont's "Sweet Thang," the southpaw sounds so distinctively Jimi that it raises the hair on the back of your neck. Regional blues and soul fans: Here's Hendrix with Fort Worth's Ray Sharpe on "Help Me (Get the Feeling) Part 1" and King Curtis for "Instant Groove." It's striking how many covers Hendrix performed – both a reminder of his past and that rock & roll, like all teens, imitates – so the Stratocaster master manhandles Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," Chip Taylor's "Wild Thing," Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower," and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." Visual pleasure pops throughout the booklet and DVD, including chatter ("different strokes for different folks" is a favorite), but it's a little squib Jimi Hendrix wrote on a postcard to his father while in the army that says it all: "P.S. Send my guitar as soon as you can, I really need it now."


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