Pickin' On

Pickin' on Hendrix

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In the late 1990s, CMH Records initiated its Pickin' on series, each volume of which features bluegrass arrangements of tunes by rock 'n' roll artists. Jimi Hendrix seems the least likely candidate imaginable for this kind of treatment, and as you might expect, the results are decidedly mixed. Occasionally, the approach works quite well-the upbeat version of "Little Wing" has an especially attractive pedal steel part to recommend it, and an even more surprising success is the banjo-driven rendition of "Foxy Lady" halfway through the program. But a bluegrass version of "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Give me a break. The album is further undermined by CMH's typically lackluster production standards and by the inclusion of drums and electric instruments-not that these are necessarily a problem in and of themselves, but when the schtick is bluegrass Hendrix, it sort of feels like cheating. Not recommended.

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