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* Archival Recordings *

Released: March 9, 2010
Recorded: 5/5/67 to 5/15/70

Rating: 4.013 (average of 3 ratings)

Genre: classic guitar rock

Quotable: “A chance to listen and wonder about what could have been.” – Matt Melis, Consequence of Sound

Album Tracks:

  1. Stone Free
  2. Valleys of Neptune
  3. Bleeding Heart
  4. Hear My Train A-Comin’
  5. Mr. Bad Luck
  6. Sunshine of Your Love
  7. Lover Man
  8. Ships Passing Through the Night
  9. Fire
  10. Red House
  11. Lullaby for the Summer
  12. Crying Blue Rain

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Valleys of Neptune (2/9/10) –
  • Bleeding Heart (3/1/10) --

Notes: --

Valleys of Neptune
The Jimi Hendrix
Valleys of Neptune, the first new Hendrix studio album released in more than a decade,” MM is released “on Sony Legacy Recordings, [as] part of a flurry of Hendrix-related goods hitting shelves this year as Sony and Experience Hendrix LLC, the local company run by Hendrix’s stepsister that manages his estate, commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Seattle-born guitarist’s death.” JZ

“This CD and its detailed liner notes also could reignite the most faded/jaded devotee. Valleys of Neptune is less a revelation than reminder: Jimi Hendrix still is and will forever be the coolest rock star of all time.” JZ It “assembles 12 previously unreleased recordings, which include long-sought-after studio originals, reworked arrangements of Hendrix classics, and studio versions of covers Hendrix often played in concert.” MM

“Different versions of these songs have been previously available via Hendrix releases official and otherwise, with varying quality.” JZ The originals “were largely self-produced by Hendrix” WK but “here they’re finished and newly mixed by…Eddie Kramer,” JZ “the engineer for all of Hendrix’s albums throughout the guitarist’s lifetime. Produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, and John McDermott, the team behind all of the acclaimed Jimi Hendrix CD and DVD releases since 1996.” AM Kramer’s “contribution guarantees the significance of Valleys of Neptune significance even if you already own these songs.” JZ

“Ten of these recordings were made between February and May 1969” AM “in London and New York after the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland.” JZ “In the 18 months leading up to his death in September 1970, Hendrix was in the midst of transition borne of confidence and success.” JZ “This record captures the final studio output of the original Experience lineup” MM of Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell and three tracks with “Billy Cox, Hendrix’s old army buddy who’d take up bass duties in Band of Gypsys later in the year.” JZ

“The heart of the album” JZ is lead single Valleys of Neptune, a fully finished and commercially unreleased song” JZ “recorded in September, 1969, and May, 1970. This full-band version has never been released” AM although “extracts…have surfaced in the past,” MM most notably “a demo Hendrix made of this song featuring just Mitchell on drums and percussionist Juma Sultan [that] was part of the short-lived Reprise/Polydor album Lifelines, which was in the marketplace between 1990 to 1992.” AM This makes “obtaining a complete version of the song a major priority for die-hard Hendrix fans. A single listen will make it clear that this song was well worth the wait. From the opening riff and first lines of ‘Lord I feel the ocean swaying me/Washing away all my pain,’ everything about ‘Valleys of Neptune’ sounds like an immediate revelation.” MM “It’s brief, beautiful and haunting: Hendrix longing for a sort of cosmic release from earthly constraints, cooing, maybe to himself, "rise on, baby, rise on.’” JZ

“The other studio rarity that really resonates here is the bluesy Hear My Train A Comin’,” MM “a concert favorite turned in with studio precision.” JZ “The first studio release…was a heavily-edited recording on 1975’s Midnight Lightning, while a live version was originally featured on Rainbow Bridge (and later Blues) and an acoustic version on Blues.” WK “Most listeners will already be familiar with the 12-string acoustic version of this song, but being plugged in and backed here by a full band allows Hendrix the amplitude to reach additional emotional levels both vocally and on guitar.” MM

These “are by far the most realized and polished of the less familiar songs on Valleys of Neptune.” MM However, “listeners will undoubtedly appreciate this album’s alternate take on three of Hendrix’s most indelible songs. Stone Free, which opens the record, grooves harder than the original” MM, which was originally the B-side to the Experience’s first single, “Hey Joe,” released on December 16, 1966. “The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set (2000) featured a new remake by the original group. Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, and Billy Cox recorded this version in May 1969. It is a different recording entirely.” AM It “features distinct and trippy backing vocals that give this classic barnburner a new vibe.” MM

Fire and Red House were both originally featured on the U.K. version of Hendrix’s first album, Are You Experienced?, but these were re-recorded at a February 1969 session and “feature the expanded stage arrangements Jimi had developed and are not alternate takes of the original 1967 recordings.” AM “‘Red House’, in particular, benefits from this treatment, as Hendrix has the time and space to wander, explore, and fully solo on guitar between succinct vocal parts.” MM

“The two cover songs on Valleys of Neptune also rank as highlights. Hendrix takes blues legend Elmore James’ straightforward Bleeding Heart [the album’s second single] and transforms it into his own inimitable style of funk rock that rollicks and soars” MM as “Hendrix takes to improvisational heights.” JZ A version of the song “recorded on March 24, 1970 was featured on the 1972 posthumous album War Heroes, while an alternate version was included on the 1994 release Blues.” WK It also appeared on 1997’s South Saturn Delta, but “this recording has never been issued and features Jimi, Billy Cox, and drummer Rocky Isaac. It was recorded in April, 1969.” AM

“In 1969, Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love was a concert staple of the Experience, and Hendrix maneuvers through this classic with the meticulousness of a surgeon, his play ranging from bold and brash to restrained and intricate.” MM

Mr. Bad Luck was first “featured on Rainbow BridgeWK and “a different version of this song was part of Lifelines…Jimi would later develop this song as ‘Look Over Yonder,’ issued as part of South Saturn Delta.” AM

“Numerous live renditions of Lover Man have been released following Hendrix’s death.” WK There were “versions on both the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set (2000) and South Saturn Delta. This is an entirely different recording made in February, 1969.” AM

Songs like “Lover Man,” “Ships Passing through the Night, Lullaby for the Summer, and Crying Blue Rain are little more than extended jams still waiting to be turned into songs. But at the same time, you would have to be dead not to be floored by the variety and innovation of Hendrix’s guitar mastery. These recordings may only be rough sketches of would be songs, but some of the most compelling material on Valleys of Neptune comes in these least likely of moments – when it seems that Hendrix is searching for something that he’s not ready to find quite yet.” MM The last three were all recorded by the Experience in April 1969. AM

Valleys of Neptune is in no way a proper studio album. It’s largely a collection of riffs, solos, and songs in their infancy, destined to be fleshed out, transformed, or even scrapped all together.” MM Nonetheless, “it’s a glimpse of Hendrix at work, trying to figure out what comes next. More than anything, Valleys of Neptune gives fans a chance to listen and wonder about what could have been.” MM

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Links:

Jimi Hendrix’s DMDB page previous studio release: South Saturn Delta (1997) and other posthumous studio releases

“Valleys of Neptune” video:

“Bleeding Heart” video: Click here.

Last updated March 9, 2010.