This 1994 album compiles Hendrix’s forays into pure blues, a form with which he maintained close ties over the course of his brief career. Several of these songs exhibit his ability to burrow deep inside the heart of a groove, and redecorate it with streams of guitar: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Red House,” “Catfish Blues” and “Once I Had a Woman.” Other songs start as simple riffs, and gradually morph into lawless, limitless rock ’n’ roll: “Mannish Boy,” “Electric Church Red House” and “Jam 292,” the last of which is based on Duke Ellington’s “Dooji Wooji.” Hendrix’s name is synonymous with amplified glory, which makes a solo version of “Hear My Train a Comin’” disarming. With nothing more than a twelve-string acoustic (which the left-handed Hendrix plays upside-down), Hendrix shows that there is no fundamental difference between what he does, and what Robert Johnson did. Even if he had never delved into the realms of pop, psychedelic, funk and gospel, and had instead remained loyal to the traditions of Albert King, Muddy Waters and Elmore James, Hendrix would stand as one of history’s most imaginative and revolutionary bluesmen.

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