Mendelsohn: Long ago, back when we first started this little experiment, I had given Jimi Hendrix a pass, carte blanche, on any and all material. He can do no wrong and I stand by that, Klinger. So please, don’t take what I’m about to say as a repudiation of that previous statement. What I’m about to say is for the sake of argument.
Out of the entire Hendrix oeuvre, I tend to simply ignore Axis: Bold as Love. I don’t find it nearly as compelling as Are You Experienced? or Electric Ladyland. Axis has some great material—I mean, c’mon, it is Hendrix—but the overall package is lackluster and held together by studio trickery. There is a great sense of exploration and experimentation that permeates Axis, as Hendrix and Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell look for solid, songwriting footing, but I think the push by the band to get this album out to fulfill its recording contract really hurt the finished product. I suppose it’s easy for me to say that type of thing with 25 years of hindsight. As a follow-up to Are You Experienced? the listeners in 1968 might have found the record much more compelling than I ever will.