Jimi Hendrix

In the Beginning

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This budget LP is among the many posthumous Jimi Hendrix releases that surfaced in 1972. In the Beginning is an appropriate title for the record, which focuses on some early, lesser known material that Hendrix did in June 1966 before he formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience and enjoyed a major commercial breakthrough with Are You Experienced?. Actually, Hendrix isn't the leader on this LP's six selections; he is heard as sideman for saxman/vocalist Lonnie Youngblood. But because Hendrix (who doesn't sing on any of the Johnny Brantley-produced material) is much better known than Youngblood, it made sense for the Atlanta-based Shout label to release In the Beginning under Hendrix's name -- Shout was hoping to sell records, after all. Although Youngblood is the leader, Hendrix is featured prominently on electric guitar, and he really burns on sweaty numbers like "Hey, Leroy" and "Free Spirit." In 1966, Youngblood's influences ranged from Stax and Southern soul to electric Chicago blues, and those influences assert themselves on this LP. However, Hendrix's psychedelic guitar solos are unlike anything you would have heard on a Stax release in 1966; even in June 1966, Hendrix had a heavy, aggressive and metallic style of guitar playing. Although not among Hendrix's essential releases, In the Beginning is interesting and enjoyable if you're among the innovator's hardcore fans.

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