Hastily compiled from dozens of unreleased studio recordings in the wake of Hendrix’s death, Cry Of Love and Rainbow Bridge left fans frustrated when they came out at each end of 1971.
While there were many great songs to get stuck into, it was obvious they were never supposed to come out this way – a fact reinforced by the clumsy titles and poor artwork. It wasn’t until 1997 that the full picture began to emerge, when Experience Hendrix assumed control and made a decent fist of second-guessing Hendrix’s intentions for his fourth studio album with First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.
Which makes these reissues difficult to fathom. If you have First Rays then you already have every track on Cry Of Love (6⁄10). That’s not to denigrate the glories of Freedom, Ezy Ryder, Angel, In From The Storm, Belly Button Window and the rest, but do you really need them twice?
At least Rainbow Bridge (7⁄10) – which, mercifully, has no connection with the acid-casualty movie despite spurious claims on the cover – has a few exclusive tracks, notably the inspired one-take instrumental Pali Gap, and a potent live Here My Train A Comin’; the cold studio concoction of Star Spangled Banner completely misses the point./o:p