on August 9, 2002
In only a few short months after the landmark Are You Experienced? was released, Jimi and his Experience created another musical triumph in the form of Axis: Bold as Love. While AYE was a solid but somewhat rough sounding collection of mostly road tested tunes like "Purple Haze" and "Fire", ABaL was an absolute marvel of studio-born songs with sound quality that amazes to this day. If you had no knowledge of Hendrix and found yourself listening to Axis, you'd think it was recorded last week instead of 1968.
A quick song review:
1. EXP - Drummer extraordinaire Mitch Mitchell plays a radio announcer who interviews a "very peculiar looking gentleman who goes by the name of Mr. Paul Carusoe."
2. Up From the Skies - A wah-wah drenched jazzy number that displays Hendrix's affinity for science fiction. Check out Mitchell's drumming.
3. Spanish Castle Magic - This song really doesn't need an introduction. Everybody from the Spin Doctors to Yngwie Malmsteen covered it.
4. Wait until Tomorrow - A funny little number about Jimi trying to run off with his sweetheart only to be told by her to "wait until tomorrow"; except for when her father shoots him.
5. Ain't no Telling - The most rocking song on Axis. It isn't even two minutes long and it has more twists than the hourly production at a pretzel factory.
6. Little Wing - The classic ballad with one of the most recognizable intros ever. You should also hear Stevie Ray Vaughan's version as well.
7. If 6 Was 9 - Hendrix's ode to being yourself even if the rest of the world changes. One of Hendrix's heaviest songs.
8. You Got Me Floatin' - A great pop love song with Hendrix's signature guitar feedback effects.
9. Castles Made of Sand - A simple little song about how plans don't always work out and how sometimes it's for the best.
10. She's So Fine - Bassist Noel Redding sings here like he would later on "Little Miss Strange" on Electric Ladyland. The weakest song on Axis, but it's still good.
11. One Rainy Wish - A beautiful love song with spectacular multi-tracked guitars and lovely lyrics.
12. Little Miss Lover - Hendrix played funk before people knew what funk was. Even a die-hard rap fan could fall in love with Mitchell's drumming.
13. Bold as Love - The majestic title track and album finale about someone whose feelings are in conflict with one another, yet it is love that prevails over all. Just ask the Axis...
Axis, IMO, isn't the best place to start for the beginning Hendrix aficionado. That place is reserved for Are You Experienced?. And it also doesn't show his talents as a guitar viruoso. You'd be better off going for Electric Ladyland if you want to hear that. But the underrated Axis shows his other talents like songwriting, singing (Yes, Hendrix was a great singer contrary to what many including Hendrix himself said about his singing), and his newfound studio expertise. Axis isn't an album you hear, it is an album you Experience. Extremely recommended.
on October 14, 2000
When Classic Records releases a new title on vinyl, it's always special. But when that title is the mono version of Jim Hendrix's classic Axis Bold as Love, it's an event. Original mono pressings of this album (if you can find them) go for as much as $2000. Several of the songs are noticeably different than the stereo versions most of us know and love. In general, the 180g vinyl pressing has considerably more bass than its CD counterpart, although the sound on the CD is clearer in several places. The album was mastered from the original mono masters by Eddie Kramer--the original engineer on the sessions. Let's talk about the specifics...
"EXP" is almost 40 seconds shorter on the vinyl, and the vocals by `Paul Caruso' are louder. The difference on the stereo version is extended feedback at the end. "Spanish Castle Magic" and "Wait Until Tomorrow" boast a much better low end than the CD. On the latter tune, the first note is too loud on CD. The volume is corrected on the LP, but the song fades up to full volume, as opposed to maintaining a consistent level throughout the track. One of the other problems with the CD is audible tape hiss. The false ending on "Ain't No Telling" is louder on the CD. The vinyl is much warmer on "Little Wing" and the end solo is more up front.
"If 6 Was 9" doesn't have near as much high end as the CD, and the bass is slightly muddy. Although the song's highs are much brighter on the CD, it also has considerable tape hiss that isn't heard on the vinyl. "You Got Me Floatin'" is missing the intro on the LP. "Castles Made of Sand" has a cleaner intro on the CD; the vinyl is slightly muddy in comparison, but features a different vocal performance. "One Rainy Wish" has much more bass on LP and a slightly different ending. The title track, "Bold as Love" is the one instance where the CD is superior. Without the channel panning, the song is clearly missing something.
The burning question here is: which one sounds better? It really depends on your personal preferences. The analog aficionados will no doubt pick the vinyl. It's much warmer than the CD and the bass will literally shake the room. Digi-fans will be more than happy with the sound on the CD (even if they need to crank up the bass a bit), and the booklet is excellent. It's a shame that it's not included in the vinyl pressing. On a positive note, the vinyl is on the Track label, plus when you consider that the mono version has been out of print ever since the original pressing hit the stores, this is the perfect addition for the Hendrix collectors out there. The choice is yours.
on November 16, 1999
After the fury of Are You Experienced and before the glory of Electric Ladyland, Hendrix put to tape his most soul-searching and beautiful album. Anyone who sees Hendrix as a guitar-burning, drug-taking, rock god must listen to this album. Axis shows what a beautiful songwriter Hendrix was and how his guitar playing could be quiet and beautiful as well as loud and powerful. It also shows what an innovator Hendrix was in the studio. My favorite tracks on Axis are Little Wing, If 6 Was 9, Bold as Love, You Got Me Floatin, and One Rainy Wish, but every track is a gem. If you are a fan of Hendrix and only own Are You Experienced, Electric Ladyland, and/or Band of Gypsies, you are missing out on something truly special.
on December 22, 2002
To all you out there who were not around when this genius was alive, to all of you who were not yet born and never got to see him play, all I can say is buy this CD! All of them! Buy the live sets, put on a pair of headphones, close your eyes, and pray to the higher forces of the Universe that He comes back. This is one of the greatest musical artists that ever walked on Earth, a 20th century Mozart. Jimi and Wolfy would have really rocked together.
All bow down before the altar of Hendrix. Every song is a little gem to be examined from each angle, like a ruby or a sapphire or an emerald. Each has its own color, own vibe and own eternal energy. My favorites? Little Miss Lover, Spanish Castle Magic, Little Wing (listen to him do it live at London Royal Albert Hall if you can...heartrending). But I also love "You Got Me Floatin', One Rainy Wish, Bold As Love...32 years Later, I cherish these songs as the greatest art I have witnessed in my life.
I first saw him play at lunchtime on the UCLA campus at noon. After that, I saw him play anywhere I could get to, and that included flying to San Diego or San Francisco or wherever! He changed my entire life, everything. He was plugged into some kind of energy. In concert, he could make you feel like a warm sirocco wind was blowing across your body, or a fire was burning above your head, or we were all swimming together in some kind of mystical warm turquoise gold-flecked cosmic ocean. He made you believe in God, stars, forces of the universe. Anything was possible. It took weeks to recover every single time I heard him play. What an aura this guy had around him! Sheer magic!
I miss him every day of my life, and you guys out there have nothing like this in your lives, which is a shame. My heart aches when I think of him, and I want him to come back. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to have heard him.
on December 4, 2004
This album right here is the most overlooked out Jimi's three studio albums, but it is just as good as both "Are You Experienced" and "Electric Ladyland" despite what you may commonly hear. Once the first note is played on "Up from the Skies", not a minute is wasted on this intense and concise album. I think that both "Are You Experienced" and "Electric Ladyland" are nearly twice as long as this album. This album is so thoroughly good though that you're left wanting for nothing after listening to it (except perhaps another listen). This album is also the most fun album that The Experience ever recorded. The second song, "Spanish Castle Magic" is just high powered, high octane rock & roll with extremely crafty, thoughtful and creative lyrics. This is one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix songs of all time. The next song, "Wait Until Tomorrow" just has a really fun and energetic feel to it. The high energy continues with the next song, "Ain't No Telling". Listen out for the drummer on this song because he absolutely kills it. The drummer for The Experience doesn't get nearly enough credit but he is absolutely amazing in his own right. "Little Wing" is just a beautiful slice of dreamy guitar bliss with some of the most personal and intimate lyrics that Jimi has ever written. "If 6 was 9" is almost like a thematic continuation of "Stone Free" off of their first album. Jimi declares his independence and says that he is going to be himself no matter what people may think. "You Got Me Floatin" comes back full force with the fun, high octane, rock & roll. "Castles Made of Sand" is a mid-tempo song with visionary lyrics that are chocked full of practical wisdom. "She's So Fine" was penned by Noel Redding and it's actually one of the best songs on the album. It's fairly simple, but it's overflowing with fun energy. "One Rainy Wish" is absolutely the most lyrically impressive song on this album. The words and the music are just absolutely beautiful--a romantic, starry-eyed masterpiece. "Little Miss Lover" is just wickedly funky. The title track is in a similar vein as the magnificent "Little Wing". He takes us below the surface again on this one. I encourage you all to overlook the fact that this album often gets overlooked because you will be rewarded with a truly magnificent piece of music if you give it a chance.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience followed up their magical debut with another masterpiece. Axis: Bold As Love is a psychedelic gem that opens with the bizarre, feedback explosion of "EXP". "Spanish Castle Magic" is a great song with some superb guitar while "Wait Until Tomorrow" has an almost pop sound with a catchy as hell chorus. Mr. Hendrix's music has always had a socially conscious bent, but "If 6 Was 9" is one of his most overt social statements, with its spacey sound and its pro hippie lyrics. "You Got Me Floatin'" has a propulsive beat, "Castle Made Of Sand" has a quiet sound with some very poignant lyrics and "She's So Fine" has Mr. Redding's debut as a lead singer. "Little Wing" is a stunning song of power and majesty that has been covered by other guitar greats like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
on September 21, 2000
This is probably the most concise, melodic and straighforward album of Jimi's career. Not a single note is wasted from the feedback drenched opener "E.X.P.", to the laidback, jazzy groove of "Up From The Skies" and diving right into the slashing power chords of "Spanish Castle Magic" (the REAL birth of heavy metal),Jimi and his classic lineup of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding treat the recording studio itself as an instrument without ever losing their sense of pop song craft and tight band interplay. This is worth owning for the brilliant "Little Wing" and "You Got Me Floatin'" (as well a great album cover), but there is no filler to be found here. A must-have for any serious rock music lover.
on June 22, 2000
Axis:Bold as love, is, and always will be, one of my favorite c.d.'s. I am only 12 years old, and my mom had the c.d. lying around. That's when I was first introduced to Jimi Hendrix. In my mind one of the most brilliant musicians of all time, this album does anything but take off and fly! My two all time favorites are Wait till Tommorow(Extreamly good for dancing, and a VERY catchy toon), and Little Wing (It makes me cry every time I hear it, it's so soulful and he sings it so tenderly.) Every song on the album is unique and memorable. Amazing guitar and vocals. I used to be in love with teen fads like N'SYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Now I'm in love with Jimi Hendrix. You will not be dissapointed in the least if you buy this c.d., I can guarentee you.
on April 20, 2001
The musical genius at a pivotal point in his career. Jimi Hendrix long ago proved to the world his genius with "Are You Experienced?" and anyone who questioned that genius had to only listen to the follow up to that album.
Axis: Bold as Love is a fantastic album, and definetely on my top ten list of fave albums. It's behind Electric Ladyland, but it equals AYE. However, AYE and ABAL are vastly different albums. Where AYE focuses on distorted guitars and heavy tracks, Axis focuses on the more spiritual, beautiful and surreal side of Jimi.
With any other band I'd choose the distorted guitars, but what makes the difference is the intensely beautiful and poetic lyrics that echo from the mouth of Jimi. As well, the album still mantains the same fury as AYE, only in a different manner. While AYE was rock 'n' roll, Axis was much more of an experiment in blending the styles of blues, folk, rock, soul and just about every other music form out there. With most artists, a blend like this would often be difficult to listen to, but Jimi has a way to make the tracks move almost seamlessly. However, in the vein of blending styles, Axis is outdone by it's respective follow up "Electric Ladyland."
Each track is as listenable as the others, there are no real stand-out tracks, because Hendrix concentrated on creating an album, not one single and filler, like a lot of bands out there today.
The oft imitated, rarely duplicated guitar work remains, but it isn't put as far forward in the mix as the other two albums. It seems almost an afterthought when you take into account all of the beatiful lyrics throughout the record. However, it is still fantastic, and ingenious as it ever was. Especially on songs like "Little Wing," and my personal fave "Castles Made Of Sand" the guitar is particularly beautiful, adding to the overall texture and mood of the record.
This record is often missed by record-buyers because of the two albums the respectively preceded and followed it, but it remains a fantastically written, well-thought out experience that remains true to this day. It almost feels as if it was recorded yesterday. If you don't have this album, I say "buy it right now!" It is probably one of the five best in my 90 CD collection, which is a compliment, since it's being placed beside such classics as Led Zeppelin IV and Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.
If I was allowed to have one complaint about this album, it would be the length. Because Ladyland was my first album I became accustomed to 8 and 12 minute tracks. The 2-5 minute vein in song lengths is somewhat hard for me to adjust to. The fact that the album clocks in at under 45 minutes is a dissapointment, although I'd hardly expect someone to be able to write that much material at that high of a quality. I guess that's Jimi for you...
on April 9, 2010
If you're scared about getting shafted on an audiophile pressing, don't worry. This delivers the goods. Blows the reprise tri color out of the water, creams the two tone and sounds as good if not better than the Track pressings. Dead quiet, straight, great music. Keep the 60's pressings around for nostalgia, have this for the sound.