Jimi Hendrix "Axis: Bold As Love"
Jimi Hendrix only released three studio albums in his lifetime. The second was perhaps the most underappreciated of these, Axis: Bold As Love. Out of those three, it's perhaps the. Instead of the oft-heard rock radio staples which are the backbone of the debut album Are You Experienced or the psychedelic jams of Electric Ladyland, Axis shows Hendrix spreading his wings, adding an array of studio experimentation to his guitar virtuosity.
The songs showcase Hendrix's interest in different musical styles. (All songs were Hendrix originals, except for "She's So Fine"—written and sung by bassist Noel Redding.) They range from the catchy ballad "Little Wing" to the psychedelic jazz of "Up From the Skies" to the total space-themed mind-trip of the spoken word piece "EXP."
Axis: Bold As Love also showed Hendrix moving beyond the rock trio approach of his debut album. In addition to Jimi Hendrix Experience bandmates Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, Hendrix welcomed some guests into the recording studio. Graham Nash contributed some foot-stomping percussion on "If 6 Was 9." And "You Got Me Floatin'" is buoyed by backing vocals by Roy Wood and Trevor Burton of English rock band The Move, helping to give it a sound not unlike The Who.
With so few studio albums released when Hendrix was still around to be part of the creative process, Axis: Bold As Love is essential for any Jimi fan. And it's a key window into the development of such a short-lived but influential musical pioneer. In the lyrics to "If 6 Was 9," Hendrix provided as close to a personal mission statement as he ever provided: "I've got my own life to live/I'm the one that's gonna have to die when it's time for me to die/So let me live my life the way I want to."