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Axis: Bold as Love is the second studio album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Under pressure from their record company to follow-up the successful debut of their May 1967 album Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love was released on Track Records in the UK in December 1967. It reached #5 in the UK and later, #3 in the US.
The album was recorded to fulfill the band's contract, which stated that they must produce two albums in 1967. Even so, it was not released in the USA until 1968 due to fears that it might have disturbed the sales of the first album. Bassist Noel Redding has noted that this was his favourite of three Experience albums. He plays eight string bass on some tracks.
Just before the album's completion, Hendrix left the master tapes of side 1 in a taxi. They were never found again, and thus the A-side had to be mixed again quickly.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 82 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Many of the album's songs were composed with studio recording techniques in mind and as a result were rarely performed live. Only 'Spanish Castle Magic' and 'Little Wing' were performed regularly. The lyrics of "Spanish Castle Magic" were inspired by 'The Spanish Castle', a dance hall in what is now Des Moines, Washington near Seattle where Hendrix jammed with local rock groups during his high school years.
|Jimi Hendrix Experience - UK 1 Side Promo Only Single 1967|
The intro track, "EXP", begins with a few notes from 'Stone Free' (although played one-half step down) and then features a conversation between Mitchell and Hendrix about UFOs, where Mitchell plays a radio host, and Hendrix plays an outerspace alien in the guise of a human named Mr. Paul Caruso, whose voice is gradually slowed down until he eventually takes off in his spaceship, much to the hosts consternation ("But-but-but", he splutters).
"Wait Until Tomorrow" is a pop-song with an R&B guitar riff with Mitchell and Redding singing backing vocals. The fourth track, 'Ain't No Telling', is a rock song with a complex structure despite its short length. 'Little Wing' is the Indian name of Hendrix's guardian angel. Jimi himself said that it was his impression of the Monterey Pop Festival put into the form of a girl.
'If 6 Was 9', the last song on the A-side, is the album's longest track and arguably the most psychedelic; Gary Leeds (Walker Brothers) and Graham Nash use their feet during the outro to make some stomping. The song features prominently on the soundtrack for the 1969 counterculture film, 'Easy Rider'. "You Got Me Floatin", a rock song opening with a swirling backwards played guitar (which is absent on the mysterious, differently mixed Polydor version of this LP (only available in stereo), which outside of France & UK was the only one available in Europe, opens the second side of the album.
|Jimi Hendrix Guitar & Marshall Set 1968|
The song 'Little Miss Lover' was the first to feature a percussive muted wah-wah effect (with the fretboard hand "killing" notes) - a technique that was later adopted by many guitarists. The album is included in the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die'. The final song of the album, Bold as Love, opens very abruptly and segues into a mellow groove similar to Little Wing and Castles Made of Sand. With a psychedelic chorus and an extended solo at the end it fades out the album.
Hendrix was a little disappointed with the album's cover art. Although he appreciated the symbolic design, he mentioned in an interview that it would have been more appropriate if the cover art showcased his American "Indian" heritage. The British Track records art department had independently chosen to use the current fad for all things Indian to create the cover, and thus the album's cover has a photographed copy of a cheap, mass produced religious poster of the Hindu devotional painting known as 'Viraat Purushan-Vishnuroopam' showing the different forms of Vishnu with a small, superimposed painting of the group by Roger Law) (from a photo portrait by Karl Ferris) blended in.
In November a giant B&W blow up of the fantastic day-glo pink, orange & blue offset litho print over gold foil, Haphash/Osiris poster featuring Hendrix dressed as a Native American, wearing a feathered War Bonnet, was used as a background to his appearance on 'Hoepla', a controversial Dutch TV show.
This poster, although produced later in London, and supposedly commissioned by Hendrix has text along the top to make it appear as if it was an original poster, advertising his (post Monterey) 1967 Fillmore concerts, this design was possibly what he had in mind. Original prints of this poster are probably all in collections and only later copies occasionally come up for sale at huge prices. The original Track UK issue came in a gatefold sleeve with a large B&W portrait photo of the group by Donald Silverstein spread over the inside and an orange sheet insert with overprinted lyrics in red, the allegedly high cost of this packaging was a topic of note in the music press.
The USA issue had no insert and instead of the group photo inside, had the lyrics. In Europe, the Polydor issue had no lyrics and unfortunately stuck an inch wide white border round the inside portrait, spoiling its effect, while the French dispensed with the original cover entirely and put it in a dull single sleeve with a photo of the group taken from a recent French TV show on the front.
01. "EXP" 1:55
02. "Up from the Skies" 2:55
03. "Spanish Castle Magic" 3:00
04. "Wait Until Tomorrow" 3:00
05. "Ain't No Telling" 1:46
06. "Little Wing" 2:24
07. "If 6 Was 9" 5:32
08. "You Got Me Floating" 2:45
09. "Castles Made of Sand" 2:46
10. "She's So Fine (Noel Redding)" 2:37
11. "One Rainy Wish" 3:40
12. "Little Miss Lover" 2:20
13. "Bold as Love" 4:09
The last recording by Jimi Hendrix to have a dedicated mono mix, this was only released in the UK and the US. Also released in stereo world wide. The Polydor release (at least in Europe) mysteriously had a different mix from that released in UK, France, US and the rest of the world.