Jimi Hendrix

Electric Ladyland [Video]

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Electric Ladyland is not universally regarded as Jimi Hendrix' best recording, but it was certainly his most intricate and involved. This hourlong documentary on the making of the album unfortunately cannot incorporate fresh comments from the late guitarist himself, though it does have some uncommon vintage footage of interviews, performances, and videos. The bulk of it, however, has interviews with key associates, particularly Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, engineer Eddie Kramer, and co-manager Chas Chandler (in his last interview before his death). What's really impressive are the number of session guests they roped in for brief comments, including the Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood, and even Mike Finnigan, who plays the organ part on "Rainy Day, Dream Away." The tensions that pervaded some of the sessions are not evaded (Chandler walked out midway through the album, fed up with all the non-musician hangers-on in the studio). Kramer in particular illustrates how some of the tracks were recorded and blended; Redding, who was not always used on bass, gets his dig in by noting how he still likes Bob Dylan's version of "All Along the Watchtower" better than Hendrix' cover. As far as little-known tidbits, two highlights are how Brian Jones dropped by to try out some unused piano parts on "Watchtower," and how the test pressing that Hendrix got back from the label originally read "Electric Landlady"!