Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

Experience Hendrix/Legacy 88985354162
Format: CD

Musical Performance

Sound Quality

Overall Enjoyment

At the time of Jimi Hendrix’s death, in September 1970, he had released three studio albums (Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland), one live album (Band of Gypsys), and a compilation (Smash Hits). Since then, 12 albums of studio material have been added to his discography, and it’s almost impossible to keep track of the posthumous concert albums. On the plus side, the releases since 1995 have financially benefited Hendrix’s family, after years of his recordings being controlled by others.

Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/1969 is the latest release from the archives, and is the first of four sets at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East. One more followed that evening, and two more the next. These shows, Hendrix’s first live appearances with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles, eventually resulted in Band of Gypsys (1970) and the two CDs of Live at the Fillmore East (1999). The first album consisted of selections from the third and fourth sets; the second consists of tracks from all four.

Jimi Hendrix

The 11 tracks and 70 minutes of Machine Gun comprise the entire first set, including three tracks that first appeared on Live at the Fillmore East. The mixes of “Hear My Train a Comin’,” “Izabella,” and “Changes” sound more lively here, the tonal qualities of Hendrix’s guitar coming through better. Miles’s drums are less veiled, and his snare and bass drums are more focused and defined. Cox’s bass is snappier and cleaner, while retaining the bottom-end heft of the earlier master of the recordings.

Having so much previously released material from the four shows makes it easy to compare how differently Hendrix could play and sing the same song in performances only hours apart. In “Power of Soul” (called “Power to Love” on Band of Gypsys), he develops his solos slightly differently, leaving the outline more or less the same but varying emphases and dynamics. “Machine Gun” is the fourth version of that song to be released from these shows. At under nine minutes it’s the shortest but still powerful, Hendrix using feedback and other effects to evoke images of destruction.

Miles sings the lead vocal in “Stop,” a hit for soul singer Howard Tate in 1967, and in “Changes,” which he wrote and later recorded with his own band. Both songs show how Hendrix was injecting soul and funk into his music during this period. A few tracks here aren’t on the previous two releases, including “Ezy Ryder” and Elmore James’s “Bleeding Heart.” Hendrix would play and record those songs elsewhere; here, they vary the pace and intensity of the live show.

Jimi Hendrix

I approached this new Band of Gypsys album -- which is credited to Hendrix alone -- with some trepidation. With so much Hendrix already available, could it add anything to the legend? But because it’s an entire concert, it provides a picture of how Hendrix thought through his live performances, and it presents the Band of Gypsys on a very good night.

The occasionally tentative playing on Machine Gun is typical of first-show jitters -- it humanizes Hendrix -- and the sound is much better than on the other two releases from this two-night stint at the Fillmore. It’s easier now to hear how much Cox provided firm support even for Hendrix’s most fantastic flights, and how often Miles is solidly in the pocket. Some Hendrix releases in recent years have not been essential, and Machine Gun tells us nothing about the guitarist that we didn’t already know from Band of Gypsys. Nonetheless, it’s a worthy addition to Hendrix’s discography.

. . . Joseph Taylor