The Purple Fox

Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

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This album's only claim to fame is "Acid Test," a track Fatboy Slim sampled for his 1998 song "Build It Up, Tear It Down." There are probably a few other good grooves worth sampling here, but be warned that it was already a hoax when it originally came out in 1971, and by presenting it as "a highly enjoyable blast of kitsch exploito-psych," the Fallout label that reissued it in 2006 is not doing much better. Here is the story, as far as it is known. This album came out very shortly after Jimi Hendrix's death, on a German label spearheaded by D.L. Muller. Muller was into the business of making cheaply pressed records and selling them in supermarkets, in minimal and misleading packaging. Nobody seems to know who exactly performs on this Hendrix tribute, but it has been established that the musicians' names (Alex Boggs, Bob Gray, and Raff Witkin) are fictitious. In other words, this album was hastily produced to cash in on the void left by Hendrix's death and features musicians who preferred to remain anonymous. What about the music, then? The singer does a convincing impression of Hendrix, although he puts less soul and too many Hendrixian idiosyncrasies into his delivery. The rhythm section also does a fine, sober job. The guitar playing is where it hurts. Hendrix's tone is well copied, but the guitarist clearly lacks the chops and imagination of his model. This is particularly blatant in "Purple Haze," which shamefully peters out once the guitar solo comes on. Also, clearly, Muller did not want to spend money on studio trickery, so process-heavy songs like "Are You Experienced?" become straightforward single-guitar readings, which, considering the mediocre quality of the guitarist, is not a plus. Alongside obvious selections like "Fire," "Foxy Lady," and "The Wind Cries Mary," the album also includes five "originals" (including the aforementioned "Acid Test"). Credited to Muller, these tracks are actually all pieced together from various Hendrix riffs and bridges, and all have titles or lyrics revolving around drugs and sex, thus painting an unflattering picture of the artist they are supposed to be paying tribute to. Hendrix paraphernalia completists and kitsch freaks have been warned. Others should steer clear.

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