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CD on SONY RECORDS by Jimi Hendrix - South Saturn Delta
Look Over Yonder
Little Wing (Angel)
Here He Comes (Lover Man)
South Saturday Delta
Power Of Soul
Message To The Universe (Message To Love)
All Along The Watchtower
The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice
Sweet Angel (Angel)
Bleeding Heart (Peoples, Peoples, Peoples)
Un des deux albums posthumes officiels sorti par le label Experience Hendrix, il comporte des idées de morceaux et des chutes de studio quasiment abouties. Quand on sait que MCA a retrouvé plusieurs tonnes de bandes en provenance de l'Electric Lady studio, on se dit qu'il y a de la matière à revendre. On n'est pas déçu du résultat et malgré l'hétérogénéité des morceaux proposés : de 1967 à 1970, de la jam halluciné de «Tax Free» à la maquette classique de «Little Wing», jusqu'à un essai avec orchestre de jazz sur le très soul «South Saturn Delta». L'album regorge de pépites de rock en fusion où Hendrix se lâche complètement : «Here He Comes (Lover Man)» ou la décharge d'amour électrique sur «The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice». Malgré la construction parfois basique des morceaux, ils restent tous intéressants même s'ils sont plutôt à conseiller aux initiés. Il faut peut-être en effet "expérimenter" un peu plus la musique d’Hendrix avant de pouvoir découvrir et apprécier pleinement des petits bijoux comme «Midnight Lightning».
- Copyright 2016 Music Story
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Par définition plus hétéroclite, SOUTH SATURN DELTA mélange morceaux finalisés et jams instrumentales - additionné de quelques mixes différents - dont tout n’est pas franchement passionnant (comme le méconnaissable brouillon de LITTLE WING). Sortant du lot, trois versions studio, très attendues, de morceaux déjà publiés en live (LOVER MAN, POWER OF SOUL et l’immense MESSAGE TO LOVE), deux blues séminaux (BLEEDING HEART et le hanté MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING, avec un Jimi seul à la guitare qui tricote une rythmique diabolique) et deux jams acrobatiques (PALI GAP et TAX FREE), qui voient le guitariste briller au-delà de tout entendement humain et se rapprocher de plus en plus près du jazz. A l’image du surprenant SOUTH SATURN DELTA (le morceau), sur lequel des cuivres font leur apparition. Un album indispensable à tout amateur, comme on dit dans le commerce.
Tops : MESSAGE TO LOVE, PALI GAP, MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING, BLEEDING HEART, LOVER MAN, TAX FREE
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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.
I have always percieved the nutty, freaked-out "The Stars that Play With Laughing Sam's Dice" as the halfway point, dividing a distinct first and second half to the album. The first half is just beautiful, and rocks straight through, from the manic blues-rock of "Look Over Yonder" to the unbelievable funk/fusion of "Power of Soul"; an incredibly complex tune, with a 2 1/2 minute intro that is a hugely intricate sequence of call-and-response riffs over this monstrous Buddy Miles funk beat. This whole song is one my all-time favorites of Hendrix', and it's very different stylistically from much of his other work. The second half of the cd is more diverse, containing a lot of the unfinished and alternate take cuts. This makes for more interesting listening to a Hendrix fan, but is not quite as satisfying. Highlights include the mellow, hyptnotic instrumental "Pali Gap", a very early drum-machine driven prototype of "Angel", and an interesting alternate take of "All Along the Watchtower". Also worth noting is the other Dylan cover, "Drifter's Escape", which has a lot of the same energy as Watchtower. The CD wraps up with a rare solo performance of Hendrix sitting in a chair playing the blues. As is the case with such b-side material, its not the greatest performance, but the intimacy of the recording is such that you can hear him tapping his foot on the floor. A great compilation, recommended for any rock fan and essential to any Hendrix collection.
To fully appreciate "...Delta", one must have an open mind. You can actually close your eyes and get the sensation had Jimi is jamming in your garage, and garage recordings are a fair assessment of the material here. It is very much like an unstructured jam session where Jimi just does whatever he wants to do from track to track. That is the brilliance of this collection of recordings, that is the genius that was Jimi Hendrix. He changes direction at the pace of a hummingbird.
"South Saturn Delta" is not the first choice in Jimi Hendrix's music for the common man. It is more appropriately suited for those folks who'd be quite comfortable letting Jimi hang out and play in their garage or basement. Just don't let the CD lie in there collecting dust. PLAY IT, PLAY IT LOUD!
What we have now with "South Saturn Delta" is probably the best we'll get as far as unreleased material in the Hendrix catalogue goes (besides live performances that they are currently holding back from us Jimi-philes). Although some of it was derived from the '70s post-humous releases War Heroes, Ranbow Bridge, and Cry Of Love, the album is vastly made up of unreleased alternate takes, and songs that Jimi was never able to complete.
Although this is probably the weakest entry in the Experience Hendrix catalogue, that's not saying much, and SSD is still an excellent, if somewhat fuzzy, underproduced, and incomplete, record. The frustrating part isn't the unfinished mixes, it's the way you see what Jimi was trying to get at, but wasn't able to quite explain fully before his 1970 death. You wonder, without answer what last effect he would have dubbed overtop of the mix, or what lyrics he would have changed, or even if the song itself isn't just a jam that Jimi hoped wouldn't be released.
Unfortunately, there's no one there to answer the questions that race around in the back of our heads, and so it becomes difficult to take this album for what it really is. It's for the die-hards who just want a glimpse into Jimi's beautiful emotion and songwriting process. For anyone else, this album might just prove to be a cluttered mess, which it actually can be at some points. But those of us who are desperate for Jimi are just clinging onto what we can, and we appreciate the unfinished work in all it's raw glory.
The tracks nearing completion are fantastic, and the first takes of other songs can be just as good. Hearing what material sounded like for the first time played is an awe-inspiring experience. Take for example, "Little Wing." One of the first takes of the song is on this disc, but it sounds nothing like the final track itself! It's very melodic and beautiful in it's own right, but when you consider the possibilities of alternate takes, it boggles the mind.
The album is a great listening experience throughout, but there are moments when you have to wonder about EHs motives behind releasing certain tracks. the alternate take of "Angel" is missing about a minute because of damage to the master, and the alternate take of "All Along The Watchtower," sounds extremely similar to the original.
Still deserving of five stars, if only because of the raw fury of the record, SSD is a must have for any of the hundreds of thousands of Jimi-philes out there. If you are new to the world of Hendrix, stay away from this collection until you've heard Jimi's original studio albums and live performances...