Blues is a posthumous compilation album by musician Jimi Hendrix, released April 26, 1994, on MCA Records. The album contains eleven blues songs recorded by Hendrix between 1966 and 1970. Out of these eleven, six were previously unreleased. The tracks include seven of Hendrix's compositions along with covers of famous blues songs such as "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Mannish Boy". Most of the album's material consists of leftover studio tapes that Hendrix might have never intended to release.
Compiled by MCA and released in 1994, Blues was met with favorable criticism and multiple chart success, selling over 500,000 copies in its first two years of release. On February 6, 2001, Blues was certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album was re-released on Experience Hendrix Records in 1998, following the Hendrix family's acquisition of the musician's recordings.
This collection was re-released again in October 2010 as part of the Hendrix family's project to remaster Jimi's discography.
The opening song "Hear My Train A Comin'" (aka, by Hendrix, "Getting My Heart Back Together Again") is a Hendrix original that he often played live in concert, particularly in 1969 and 1970. The song was from a long lost master tape of Hendrix alone playing a 12-string acoustic right-hand guitar, strung for left hand and singing in a delta blues manner. This December 1967 live studio performance was filmed for, and included in the film See My Music Talking, and later included in the 1973 documentary Jimi Hendrix and accompanying soundtrack LP. The last song on Blues is a live version of "Hear My Train A Comin'", recorded on May 30, 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theater, that had previously been released on the posthumous Rainbow Bridge album in 1971.
"Born Under a Bad Sign" is an instrumental jam of the Albert King number originally written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell (performed by Band of Gypsys). "Red House" is the original (mono) take from the European version of Are You Experienced, but minus the outro chat (previously unavailable in USA & Canada). Another take (stereo) from a different session was released on the USA version of the 1969 compilation album Smash Hits. On this version Redding plays electric guitar tuned down to resemble a bass. "Catfish Blues" is from a Dutch TV show, Hoepla, which was recorded in November 1967. Hendrix uses the first two verses from Muddy Waters "Rollin’ Stone" (which is based on older versions usually with "Catfish" in the title) and the last verse is from Muddy's "Still a Fool" itself based on "Roll and Tumble Blues" by Hambone Willie etc.MENU 0:00 A sample of Catfish Blues.
"Voodoo Chile Blues" is another creation of Alan Douglas, recorded during the sessions that produced the finished track, "Voodoo Chile", for the critically acclaimedElectric Ladyland album. This track is made up of two different takes of the song that were edited and joined together in order to come up with one consistent track. "Mannish Boy" is actually a hybrid of Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy" and Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man", it is a similar edited studio creation that combines several takes. "Once I Had a Woman" is a slightly longer edited version of a song recorded at the Record Plant in New York City on January 23, 1970 with musicians Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass guitar. The band starts to jam during the second half of the long song and then a fade out follows. "Bleeding Heart" is a cover of the Elmore James number, performed here by Band of Gypsys. "Jelly 292" is actually take 2 of the song "Jam 292" (the name on the tape box) which appeared on the 1974 European-only LP Loose Ends. It is an uptempo jam based on Duke Ellington's "Dooji Wooji". "Electric Church Red House" is a jam from TTG studios in featuring a group introduction by Hendrix (lifted from another, different jam at TTG) and Lee Michaels on organ.
|The Village Voice||A–|
Blues was well received by music critics. Rolling Stone magazine was impressed by how it showcases Hendrix's ability to pay homage to his influences but also transcend them, while NME wrote that the album's compilation of lengthy blues jams is distinguished by his "definitive" style of electric blues and thedigital remastering quality. In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau said that the ordinary blues concept and track selection are conducive to Hendrix's unique and eclectic style. In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Richie Unterberger wrote that the songs showed "the master guitarist stretching the boundaries of electric blues in both live and studio settings."
|1.||"Hear My Train a Comin' (Acoustic)" (live)||Jimi Hendrix||3:05|
|2.||"Born Under a Bad Sign" (instrumental)||Booker T. Jones, William Bell||7:37|
|4.||"Catfish Blues"||Traditional, arr. Hendrix||7:46|
|5.||"Voodoo Chile Blues"||Hendrix||8:47|
|6.||"Mannish Boy"||Muddy Waters, Mel London, Ellas McDaniel||5:21|
|7.||"Once I Had a Woman"||Hendrix||7:49|
|8.||"Bleeding Heart"||Elmore James, arr. Hendrix||3:26|
|10.||"Electric Church Red House"||Hendrix||6:12|
|11.||"Hear My Train a Comin' (Electric)" (live)||Hendrix||12:08|
- UK Albums Chart
- 1994: No. 10