Richard Lloyd

The Jamie Neverts Story

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You'd have to do some digging to find a rock guitarist from 1968 onward who wasn't influenced by Jimi Hendrix in some way, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise that Hendrix was a hero to Richard Lloyd, one of the founding members of Television and among the most distinctive guitarists to emerge from the early CBGB's scene in New York. But unlike most folks who loved Hendrix's music, Lloyd actually knew him a bit thanks to his close friend Velvert Turner, a fellow rocker who was something of a Hendrix protégé, and Lloyd offers a belated tribute to Jimi's music (and Velvert's friendship) with his album The Jamie Neverts Story. Lloyd covers ten classic Hendrix songs on this set, and though he doesn't ignore the approach of the originals, Lloyd is smart enough to avoid slavishly imitating the sound or style of the Hendrix recordings. The performances are powerful and straightforward, with Lloyd accompanied by bassist Keith Hartel and drummer Chris Purdy, and while the instrumentation may be the same as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the sound here is leaner and more muscular, and though Jimi wasn't afraid of fuzzboxes or wah-wah pedals, Lloyd instead uses his hands and his picks to wrench all the sounds from his Stratocaster, and the final product sounds fresh and organic. Lloyd can't play quite like Hendrix, which is no slight on the former -- Hendrix's style was unusual enough that no one seems to have accurately re-created it, regardless of their technical skill -- but that's clearly not what he's reaching for on The Jamie Neverts Story. Instead, Lloyd's interpretations are as much about the songs and their melodic and instrumental possibilities, and while the album opens with "Purple Haze" and closes with "Are You Experienced," elsewhere Lloyd turns his attention to lesser-known songs from the Hendrix catalog, and he breathes bracing and forceful life into the tunes, making the case that the great rock guitarist was also a equally great songwriter. The Jamie Neverts Story doesn't stray from the hard rock roots of Jimi Hendrix's music, but Lloyd fuses the magisterial touch of the originals with his own more street-level technique, and along the way he drops a new energy into the music; the result is music that's Lloyd's as much as Jimi's, and that's what makes this album a more effective (and moving) tribute to this great artist than many more exacting re-creations of his work.

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