JIMI HENDRIX -- South Saturn Delta (MCA / Experience Hendrix)

There's big news brewing for Hendrix fans. The new Hendrix album, South Saturn Delta, hits the stores on October 7th. Consisting of tracks from his entire career, the new album is sure to thrill fans--both old and new. Several songs are previously unreleased, and all but one of them are making their debut on a domestic CD for the first time. Liner notes for the album weren't firmed up at press time, so I can't be as specific about things (musician credits, etc.) as I would like. In most cases, though, the music speaks for itself.

The CD starts with "Look Over Yonder," a blistering tune with some fierce soloing from Hendrix. "Little Wing" sounds like an instrumental version of "Angel." The liner notes explain the similarity, you can decide for yourself. Bottom line: it's cool. On "Here He Comes," you can really hear his true musical genius at work. Recorded live in the studio (take one, no less), this track absolutely SMOKES! One of the best cuts on the CD.

"Message to the Universe" is a cool, embryonic version of "Message to Love." "Tax Free, "Midnight" and "Bleeding Heart" are the same as the versions on "War Heroes." The sound quality on "Midnight" is much better than it was on the Voodoo Soup CD, but they edited the intro. "All Along the Watchtower" is only slightly different. Now it has a countdown intro, and the effects are gone from the solo.

Another highlight on South Saturn Delta is "Sweet Angel." This early version of "Angel" is an entertaining look at the song in progress, and features Hendrix on all the instruments. The only drawbacks are that the track fades up into the first verse, and there are some minor dropouts past the three-minute mark. "Pali Gap" is one of Jimi's best-loved songs among diehard fans. The intro missing from the Voodoo Soup CD has been restored, and although they faded the ending to mask the tape hiss, the song sounds better than ever.

Last, but certainly not least, is the solo version of "Midnight Lightning." Just Jimi and his acoustic, this one is over all too soon. Overall, South Saturn Delta is a better album than the last 'new' release, First Rays of the New Rising Sun. While aimed mainly at his existing fan base, those with just a casual interest in Hendrix's music are sure to enjoy it too.

© 1997 Steve Marshall