Recorded between the release of 1968’s Electric Ladyland and the opening of the storied Greenwich Village recording studio in 1970, the songs that make up Valleys of Neptune have never been commercially available. Many of these songs are already well-known portions of the Jimi Hendrix canon. But given the fact that the guitarist was on the outs with Experience bassist Noel Redding, but had yet to commit to the Band of Gypsies, there are arrangements reflecting the experimental nature that was at the man’s core. “Stone Free” goes from a rave-up with a militaristic backbeat to a funky shuffle that’s far looser than the original courtesy of bassist Billy Cox.
Likewise, the full-band version of “Hear My Train A Comin'” carries far more emotional heft than the better-known acoustic rendition. Elsewhere, “Lullaby for the Summer” and “Crying Blue Rain” represent previously unreleased fare by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Both reflect the two sides of Hendrix, the frenetic and loose-limbed master of the six-string (“Summer”) and the laid-back creative genius whose relaxed and rhythmic touch said far more than the shred-happy acolytes who followed in his wake. (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)