Picks and Pans Review: Radio One

updated 11/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Of all the '60s rock stars who died untimely deaths, Hendrix left the greatest, most lasting legacy. He changed the face of rock music, establishing a model level of virtuosity on the electric guitar that has rarely, if ever, been equaled. The 17 tracks on this album, recorded live with his trio for the BBC in 1967, are a welcome reminder of his landmark style. In the intimate confines of a radio studio, the playing is tighter and the acoustics clearer than in many of Hendrix's later live recordings, when he graduated to arena and outdoor festival status. On a speed-reading of Howlin' Wolf's Killing Floor and a full-tilt version of his own Fire, Hendrix's playing is so inventive and supple that you won't believe only three musicians are responsible. ZZ Top, for instance, has never sounded this deep without the benefit of massive over-dubbing. Jimi's influence on metal and acid rock (currently enjoying a renaissance thanks to such young disciples as Jane's Addiction and Guns and Roses) is obvious, but he also shows a sure feel for traditional blues on Muddy Waters' Catfish Blues and other songs. Radio One contains a number of signature tunes (Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Stone Free) as well as oddities that were never staples of his live show (Love or Confusion and Wait Until Tomorrow). A number of songs, including Hear My Train A-Comin', anticipate the riveting jams of the Electric Ladyland LP of 1968. Radio One, which has its sloppy segments, particularly on the vocals, joins the array of posthumous Hendrix releases that range from 1975's Crash Landing to 1987's Live at Winterland. It's still a valuable aural artifact from the prime of one of rock's most towering talents. (Rykodisc)

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