The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Original Mono Masters

On 12th May 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album, ‘Are You Experienced’. American Hendrix had been brought to the UK by ex-Animals bass player, Chas Chandler, who had seen the potential the guitar player. Chandler recruited band members Mitch Mitchel and Noel Redding and the group started performing live gigs. It was through his performances that the great and the good of the UK music scene watch him perform. By the end of 1966, their debut single, a cover of ‘Hey Joe’ was released. The single crashed into the top ten of the UK singles charts and the band went into the studio to record an album. 

‘Are You Experienced’ featured a diverse number of styles with rock, R&B, traditional blues and even a science fiction inspired song called ‘Third Stone From The Sun’. The album peaked at number two in the UK, only being kept off the top spot by ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by The Beatles. Number 2 is still pretty good considering there was a lot of competition in 1967.

Hendrixs’ homeland seemed to be immune to his charms until the band performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. Performing a literally inflammatory set which included string fire to his guitar, Hendrix went from being a no one to someone promotors wanted to book. The Experience played gigs with Big Brother & The Holding Company as well as the Jefferson Airplane. They even went on tour with The Monkeys, but as the audiences of the two band were at polar opposite’s to one another, this arrangement only lasted six shows. The story goes that The Monks requested the Experience join them on tour because they were fans of Hendrix. Chandler said he had engineered this to get the group some publicity. Whatever the truth, these six shows must have been something to see just for the sheer contrast of the groups. 

The band returned to the studio and the more experimental ‘Axis: Bold as Love’. This was released in December 1967. Using more new studio effects such as phasing where the sound revolves around the listener, ‘Axis’ paved the way for what was to come next in the masterpiece that is ‘Electric Ladyland’. If any artist was born to master the stereo format, Hendrix was it. This was still the time when mono mixes were the ones artists would spend the time on as the majority of the record buying public would only have players with one speaker. This was also before FM radio so if you heard a song on the wireless, you would have only heard it in mono anyway. 

With ‘Axis’, Hendrix was showing what an album could sound like if time was taken on the stereo mix but as was the trend at the time, these first two albums were released in mono as well as the singles. In celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the release of ‘Are You Experienced’, here is a complete collection (as far as I know) of the mono mixes released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This includes the first two albums and all off the single mixes. It also includes some rare mono mixes as well. These include a number of songs recorded for ‘Electric Ladyland’ that sneaked out in mono, even if the parent album in its entreaty have not. On Disc 1, I have included the single mixes of “Electric Ladyland’ songs, most of which were mixed for DJ’s so they could be played on the radio. Disc 2 includes all of the songs from the Uruguayan version of ‘Electric Ladyland’. This was more of a highlights release as it was only one disc, but it was released in mono. Was this just a fold down of the stereo or dedicated mixes. Unfortunately, my ears are not tuned enough to tell the difference. The same configuration of tracks was released in mono in Brazil as well but I have not been able to track down a version of this one. 

I am surprised that Experience Hendrix, the company set up by the Hendrix family to manage his name, likeness and music have done something like this themselves, considering the amount of material they have put out down the years, some of which can be best described as scraping the barrel. The nearest we got was when the first two albums were re-released in 2017, but these were on vinyl only. 

Disc 1

  1. Foxy Lady
  2. Manic Depression
  3. Red House
  4. Can You See Me?
  5. Love Or Confusion
  6. I Don’t Live Today
  7. May This Be Love
  8. Fire
  9. Third Stone from The Sun
  10. Remember
  11. Are You Experienced
  12. Hey Joe
  13. Stone Free
  14. Purple Haze
  15. 51st Anniversary
  16. The Wind Cries Mary
  17. Highway Chile
  18. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  19. The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice
  20. Crosstown Traffic (DJ Promo Single Version)
  21. Gypsy Eyes (DJ Promo Single Version)
  22. All Along The Watchtower (DJ Promo Single Version)

Disc 2

  1. EXP
  2. Up From The Skies
  3. Spanish Castle Magic
  4. Wait Until Tomorrow
  5. Ain’t No Telling
  6. Little Wing
  7. If 6 Was 9
  8. You Got Me Floatin’
  9. Castles Made Of Sand
  10. She’s So Fine
  11. One Rainy Wish
  12. Little Miss Lover
  13. Bold As Love
  14. ….And The Gods Made Love
  15. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
  16. Crosstown Traffic
  17. Little Miss Strange
  18. Long Hot Summer Night
  19. Gypsy Eyes
  20. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  21. Still Raining, Still Dreaming
  22. House Burning Down
  23. All Along The Watchtower
  24. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

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