Jimi Hendrix – Select Posthumous Studio Releases

The following are a select few of the glut of posthumous work from Jimi Hendrix. These albums of predominantly studio work were compiled to varying degrees of critical acclaim.

  1. The Cry of Love (1971)
  2. Rainbow Bridge (1971)
  3. War Heroes (1972)
  4. Loose Ends (1974)
  5. Crash Landing (1975)
  6. Midnight Lightning (1975)
  7. First Rays of the New Rising Sun (1997)
  8. South Saturn Delta (1997)
  9. Valleys of Neptune (2010)
  10. People, Hell and Angels (2013)

Also check out Jimi Hendrix’s DMDB page or his DMDB Music Encyclopedia entry.

Note: Since the most noteworthy material from the first six albums above was re-released in superior versions by the Hendrix family, those cases have been noted with FR (First Rays of the New Rising Sun) and SSD (South Saturn Delta).

The Michael Jeffery Era (1970-1974): “This first era produced music that was sanctioned by Al Hendrix as the heir to Jimi's estate and created by the same personnel that Hendrix was working with at the time of his death: drummer Mitch Mitchell, engineer Eddie Kramer, and manager Michael Jeffery.” WK

The Cry of Love
Charted: 3/6/71 Recorded: 3/13/68 to 8/24/70
Peaked: 8 2 Sales: 1.0 -- 1.0

Tracks: 1. Freedom FR 2. Drifting FR 3. Ezy Ryder FR 4. Night Bird Flying FR 5. My Friend FR 6. Straight Ahead FR 7. Astro Man FR 8. Angel FR 9. In from the Storm FR 10. Belly Button Window FR

Review/Notes: “When Jimi died in 1970, he left behind a lot of unfinished material for his next record; ment to be called The Cry Of Love or The Rising Sun. Actually, he had been putting aside tapes of what he has the most satisfied with for the past years, to this album.” AK

After his death, Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell sat down to organize his library of halfly finished tapes, and arrange them into an album. Mitch played a whole lot of things again, and added new stuff where something was missing. The state of the songs ranged from Night Bird Flyingand Freedom, which was almost finished, to Angel and Drifting, that was missing serious amouts of work. After five months, the record was ready for release. In 1997, it was re-released under the name The First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, with seven bonus tracks.” AK

Also check out the DMDB page for this album.

Rainbow Bridge
Charted: 10/9/71 Recorded: 3/18/69 to 8/24/70
Peaked: 15 16 Sales: 0.5 -- 0.5

Tracks: 1. Dolly Dagger FR 2. Earth Blues FR 3. Pali Gap SSD 4. Room Full of Mirrors FR 5. The Star Spangled Banner 6. Look Over Yonder SSD 7. Hear My Train a Comin’ (live) 8. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (live) FR 9. Izabella FR 10. I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone FR *

* Not sure if this is the same “Stepping Stone” that also appears on War Heroes and First Rays.

Review/Notes: “Slapped together to fulfill a Mike Jeffreys contract after the tapes to the real Rainbow Bridge concert were stolen, this collects a few excellent tracks (Dolly Dagger, Hey Baby) with trivial outtakes (a curiously tame Star Spangled Banner)” WA and the live “10-minute electric version of Hear My Train A-Comin’, which saw the song transformed almost beyond recognition; like ‘Machine Gun,’ it showcased the classic elements of the Hendrix electric sound and featured some of his most inspired improvisation.” WK Overall, though, the “strong material is on New Rising Sun and [South Saturn Delta].” WA

War Heroes
Charted: 12/9/72 Recorded: 1/28/68 to 8/22/70
Peaked: 48 23 Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Bleeding Heart SSD 2. Highway Chile 3. Tax Free SSD 4. Peter Gunn 5. Three Little Bears 6. Catastrophe 7. Stepping Stone FR 8. Midnight SSD 9. Beginnings FR 10. Izabella FR

Review/Notes: “Just a couple of new release-quality tracks (Izabella) plus B-sides (Highway Chile) and throwaways (Three Little Bears).” WA “Again, this one would be worth owning if the two new Hendrix estate releases hadn't made it irrelevant.” WA

Loose Ends
Released: 2/74 Recorded: 7/19/67 to 6/17/70
Peaked: -- -- Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Coming Down Hard on Me 2. Blue Suede Shoes 3. Jam 292 4. The Stars That Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice SSD 5. Drifter’s Escape SSD 6. Burning Desire 7. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man 8. Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland?

Review/Notes: “Scraping the bottom of the barrel, with trivial jams (Jam 292, Peter Gunn Theme) and an endless live-in-the-studio take on Burning Desire.” WA

The Alan Douglas Era (1974-1996): This “era is defined by the period of control held by producer Alan Douglas…Douglas reconstructed selections of studio material by hiring session players to overdub portions that were incomplete. The resulting LPs, Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning, contain several important tracks but are generally considered to be of substandard quality. Intending to ‘refresh’ Hendrix's sound with the funk driven grooves of the era, they achieved only marginally successful sales, and the use of replacement musicians (including lead guitar work) was viewed by fans as sacrilege.” WK

Crash Landing
Charted: 3/22/75 Recorded: 3/13/68 to 11/12/69
Peaked: 5 35 Sales: 0.5 -- 0.5

Tracks: 1. Message to Love (aka “Message to the Universe”) SSD 2. Over the Rainbow 3. Crash Landing 4. Come Down Hard on Me 5. Peace in Mississippi 6. With the Power (aka “Power of Soul”) SSD 7. Stone Free Again 8. Captain Coconut (early version of “New Rising Sun”) FR

Review/Notes: “The first really vile plundering of the vaults, with guitar and sideman tracks scrubbed to make room for session musicians (principally Jeff Mironov, guitar; Alan Schwartzberg, drums; and Bob Babbitt, bass). There was such a preponderance of clueless white people involved with the project that no one could figure what a track labeled ‘MLK’ stood for, so they retitled it Captain Coconut.” WA

Midnight Lightning
Charted: 11/29/75 Recorded: 3/18/69 to 3/23/70
Peaked: 43 46 Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Trash Man 2. Midnight Lightning SSD 3. Hear My Train a Comin’ 4. Gypsy Boy (New Rising Sun) FR 5. Blue Suede Shoes 6. Machine Gun 7. Once I Had a Woman 8. Beginnings FR

Review/Notes: “Worse than Crash Landing, with Hey Baby, Hear My Train, the title track and other unfinished tunes given the Douglas session cat treatment.” WA

The Experience Hendrix Era (1997-present): In 1995, Jimi’s father Al Hendrix regained the rights to his son’s music. The three original Experience albums were remastered for new CD releases and, in 1997, a pair of compilations were issued. Also notable during this era was a box set, expanded reissues of previous live releases, and the development of Dagger Records, through which “official” bootlegs were released.

First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Charted: 5/10/97 Recorded: 3/13/68 to 8/22/70
Peaked: 49 37 Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Freedom 2. Izabella 3. Night Bird Flying 4. Angel 5. Room Full of Mirrors 6. Dolly Dagger 7. Ezy Ryder 8. Drifting 9. Beginnings 10. Stepping Stone 11. My Friend 12. Straight Ahead 13. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) 14. Earth Blues 15. Astro Man 16. In from the Storm 17. Belly Button Window

Review/Notes: This is as close as you can get to an essential “fourth” studio album from Hendrix. “Having finally wrested control of Hendrix's estate from the vile Alan Douglas, Hendrix's family made a genuine effort to reconstruct Hendrix's final project. It ends up including all of Cry of Love, plus seven tracks that had been the high points of the two cash-in albums that followed (1971's Rainbow Bridge and 1972's War Heroes). Even though all of these tracks had been released on assorted LPs a quarter-century earlier, the disc does bring together classics like the blazingly psychedelic Room Full of Mirrors and the thundering Dolly Dagger, and it also features only the original performances and mixes [as opposed to the Alan Douglas versions with added session musicians]…The solid track listing and respectful presentation make the collection nearly as essential as Hendrix's three classic studio albums.” WA

Also check out the DMDB page for this album.

South Saturn Delta
Released: 10/25/97 Recorded: 7/19/67 to 7/1/70
Peaked: 51 -- Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Look Over Yonder 2. Little Wing 3. Here He Comes (Lover Man) 4. South Saturn Delta 5. Power of Soul 6. Message to the Universe (Message to Love) 7. Tax Free 8. All Along the Watchtower 9. The Stars That Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice 10. Midnight 11. Sweet Angel 12. Bleeding Heart 13. Pali Gap 14. Drifter’s Escape 15. Midnight Lightning

Review/Notes: “The second Hendrix family release, and again it consists mostly of previously available – though in many cases out of print - material. Generally speaking, this is the best of the material that wasn't seriously considered for release by Hendrix: abandoned tunes (the title track with a jazz horn section, Bleeding Heart); tossoff jams (Midnight, Pali Gap); demos (Sweet Angel, Little Wing). That said, it's very well put together, in several cases restoring material edited out or erased by the Douglas regime (Power of Soul), or returning to mixes Hendrix made before his death rather than posthumous mixes (Drifter's Escape). The biggest surprise on this set is a slow blues, unaccompanied version of Midnight Lightning that blows all the previously released versions away - for devotees, that one track alone makes this a valuable acquisition. Because the cuts featured here don't really reveal any previously unseen facets of Hendrix the composer, performer or producer, it's of interest only to fans, but it's roughly a hundred times better than the previous releases it makes irrelevant (War Heroes, Loose Ends, Crash Landing, Voodoo Slop). Finally somebody's doing the job right.” WA

Valleys of Neptune
Released: 3/9/10 Recorded: 5/5/67 to 5/15/70
Peaked: 4 21 Sales: -- -- --

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

Review/Notes: Valleys of Neptune, the first new Hendrix studio album released in more than a decade,” MM “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 “The bulk of these tracks were recorded in early 1969” MM “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

Also check out the DMDB page for this album.

People, Hell and Angels
Released: 3/4/13 Recorded: 3/13/1968 to 12/19/1969
Peaked: -- -- Sales: -- -- --

Tracks: 1. Earth Blues 2. Somewhere 3. Hear My Train A-Comin’ 4. Bleeding Heart 5. Let Me Move You 6. Izabella 7. Easy Blues 8. Crash Landing 9. Inside Out 10. Gypsy Boy 11. Mojo Man 12. Villanova Junction Blues

Review/Notes: This album captures Hendrix as he “was transitioning away from the mega-successful but limiting trio format of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, whose ending was documented on…Valleys of Neptune.” UT and toward “a new, fuller and funkier sound.” UT He tapped “musicians who could supply a broader array of sounds and rhythms, from chitlin' circuit R&B spice to Sly Stone-like psychedelic soul.” UT Among the players are Buddy Miles and Billy Cox (the future Band of Gypsys rhythm section) and “Stephen Stills playing funky bass lines on Somewhere; saxophonist/vocalist Lonnie Youngblood leading a nearly seven-minute wailing R&B workout on Let Me Move You; rhythm guitarist Larry Lee fattening the sound behind Hendrix's killer rock solo on Izabella; pianist James Booker lending a modern R&B spin to Mojo Man.” UT

“Electrified blues-rock is still at the heart of the music, exemplified by thrilling re-interpretations of Hendrix’s own Hear My Train a Comin’’ and Elmore James’ Bleeding Heart.” UT Still, “while the recordings…might very well be unreleased, …the songs themselves are nothing close to that.” AQ “Let Me Move You” seems to be a new cut and “Inside Out” is – sort of. It appears to actually be an early version of “Ezy Ryder.” AQ “An overall look…shows that very little is to actually be unveiled with the record…It feels like the tracklisting was organized as a grab-bag of cuts from the many Hendrix posthumous albums already out there.” AQ

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Link(s):

This page last updated March 5, 2013.