Various Artists

The Spirit Lives On: Music Of Jimi Hendrix Revisited, Vol. 1

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Homage and honor to Jimi Hendrix via various artist compilations has become more than a cottage industry, from the Rubber Band's Hendrix Songbook released back in the 1960s, to Pat Boone doing a hideous cover of "The Wind Cries Mary." Jimi has certainly made his mark beyond influence in a world where his music is absolutely adored. In From the Storm and Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix were the most commercial of the lot until 2004's Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix landed on the market. Released almost simultaneously with the Experience Hendrix company's official tribute comes the first of at least two collections from the Lion Music group out of Finland. Regi Hendrix, a cousin of Jimi's, writes the CD booklet essay on The Spirit Lives On, Vol. 1: The Music of Jimi Hendrix Revisited. Regi also performs on "Bold as Love" along with Jason "JMR" Richardson and Greg Howe. Like the majority of the tracks on this disc, the playing is competent, though it doesn't break any new ground. Hearing Cyril Archard reconstruct the great "Highway Chile" is fun, as is Eric Sands on "Stone Free." The song selection is what is most intriguing. Carl Roa does an interesting "3rd Stone From the Sun," while Arabesque try their hand at "Crosstown Traffic." Sun Caged's "Freedom" is faithful, but the question is, does it add to Jimi's legacy, or perform as a platform for this group? Either way is OK, but inevitably people are going to go back to the superb original. "Gypsy Eyes" by Mistheria and Andrea Rivera could be the album's most creative moment, sounding like a jazzy "Room Full of Mirrors"-influenced rendition, it has some elements of Deep Purple's "Highway Star," which make it a standout here. Randy Coven gives us his rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," although working a Hendrix original would have been preferable for this artist. Covering music that Jimi covered and made his own is not only redundant, but pointless. How can anyone hope to compare to the master? And if they could do a better job it might go from tribute to showing off. Still, The Spirit Lives On, Vol.1 has some fine moments, and is a decent addition for fans who collect such things.

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