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Like the attic you hate to clean out...
on May 12, 2001
...South Saturn Delta is a cluttered mess. Fortunately, just like cleaning out an attic, while listening to this, you are going to find many things you loved that you could never figure out where you placed them. Thats the best analogy that I can give in regards to this record.
Indeed, it is cluttered, and at points even difficult to stomach, but in the end when you look at the album as a whole, you see something more than the mess, something that you just can't resist. At least it's that way for me and other Jimi-philes alike.
The intent of South Saturn Delta was to find a place for some of Jimi's uncomplete work, some stuff previously unavailable after Cry Of Love, Rainbow Bridge, and War Heroes were deleted from Hendrix catalogues, and other material that even the "hardcore" fans haven't heard. While most of the material from the previously mentioned out-of-print titles was spread out over the length of "First Rays Of The New Rising Sun," some couldn't be placed there, whether it be through time constraints, or the fact that some of the stuff just wasn't complete. Instead, all of the unfinished material was pushed over to SSD.
Despite it's somewhat iffy sound quality, and half-finsihed tracks, SSD still manages to be an incredibly endearing title. Maybe it's the honestness found in the fact that Jimi wasn't perfect and he did make mistakes, or maybe it's some of the new ideas he was attempting to blend into his lyricism, I don't know. Much more spiritual, emotional, and poetic work is found throughout.
Even the instrumental tracks (whether they were intended to be instrumentals or Jimi had yet to add vocals) have a fantastic feel, and this is where Jimi shines. Without constraints in front of the mic, he was free to let loose and just whail on the Strat, visible in many of the "jam-oriented" tracks throughout.
I still do have to wonder why EH/MCA chose to release many of the tracks found here when there is an entire vault of near-complete work and live recordings waiting. Angel is missing the first two minutes do to damage done to the original master tape (yet, interestingly enough, on the Jimi Hendrix box set, the same track is found, but in complete form). Sometimes conversation can be heard, and during several tracks, Jimi himself laughs, talking to friends and to the engineer (presumably Eddie Kramer).
But even when you take this into account, SSD is still a fantastic release, and something that dedicated Jimi-freaks have been waiting for for years. It was preceded by near thirty years of dissapointing rip-offs, and maybe because of this, fans see SSD as being better than it actually may be.
If you want to find out about Jimi, and haven't really heard any of his music, I'd advise you not to invest in this set, as his complete works are a much better representation of himself.
Finished or not though, South Saturn Delta is an excellent, enjoyable release, and one that is sure to please even the most hardcore fans.