The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis Bold as Love: [Record 20]
Axis: Bold as Love: is the second studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Under pressure from their record company to follow-up the successful debut of their May 1967 album Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love was released on Track Records in the UK in December 1967. It reached number five in the UK and later number three in the US.
The album was recorded to fulfill the band’s contract, which stated that they must produce two albums in 1967. Even so, it was not released in the US until 1968 due to fears that it might disturb the sales of the first album. Noel Redding plays eight string bass on some tracks.
Just before the album’s completion, Hendrix left the master tapes of side one in a taxi. They were never found again, and thus the A-side had to be mixed again quickly.
The album was re-released on the week of March 30, 2010. Like the other 2010 re-releases, the sound varies slightly with minor tweaks from Hendrix’s sound engineer Eddie Kramer.
2.Up from the Skies
3.Spanish Castle Magic
4.Wait Until Tomorrow
5.Ain’t No Telling
7.If 6 Was 9
8.You Got Me Floating
9.Castles Made of Sand
10.She’s So Fine
11.One Rainy Wish
12.Little Miss Lover
13.Bold as Love
Legacy: In 2003, the album was ranked #83 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Guitarist magazine named the album #7 on their list of “the most influential guitar albums of all time”.
Music: Many of the album’s songs were composed with studio recording techniques in mind and as a result were rarely performed live. Only “Spanish Castle Magic” and “Little Wing” were performed regularly. Hendrix utilizes many colors of the spectrum in his lyrics as well as guitar to give a unique perspective to the world and his ultimate interpretations of human emotions, most critically, love. The lyrics of “Spanish Castle Magic” were inspired by The Spanish Castle, a dance hall in what is now Des Moines, Washington near Seattle where Hendrix jammed with local rock groups during his high school years. On “Little Wing” Hendrix plays his guitar through a Leslie speaker for the first time (a revolving speaker which creates a wavering effect, that is typically used with electric organs).
The intro track, “EXP”, begins with a few notes from “Stone Free” (although played one-half step down) and then features a conversation between Mitchell and Hendrix about UFOs, where Mitchell plays a radio host, and Hendrix plays an outerspace alien in the guise of a human named Mr. Paul Carusoe, whose voice is gradually slowed down until he eventually takes off in his spaceship, much to the host’s consternation (“But-but-but”, he splutters). Paul Caruso was actually a friend of Hendrix’s from his days in Greenwich Village. “Up from the Skies” is a jazzy number featuring Mitchell playing with brushes. The song is about a space alien who has visited the earth thousands of years in the past, and returns to the present to “find the stars misplaced, and the smell of a world that has burned.”
“Wait Until Tomorrow” is a pop song with an R&B guitar riff with Mitchell and Redding singing backing vocals. The fifth track, “Ain’t No Telling”, is a rock song with a complex structure despite its short length. “Little Wing”, as Hendrix himself said, was his impression of the Monterey Pop Festival put into the form of a girl. “If 6 Was 9”, the last song on side one, is the album’s longest track and arguably the most psychedelic; Gary Leeds (from The Walker Brothers) and Graham Nash use their feet during the outro to make some stomping. The song features prominently on the soundtrack for the 1969 counterculture film, Easy Rider.
“You Got Me Floatin'”, a rock song opening with a swirling backwards guitar solo (which is absent on the mysterious, differently mixed Polydor version of this LP [only available in stereo], which outside of France and the UK was the only one available in Europe), opens the second side of the album. Roy Wood and Trevor Burton from The Move, who toured with Hendrix on a package tour through Britain during winter 1967, supplied backing vocals. The following track, “Castles Made of Sand”, is a ballad also making use of a backwards guitar solo. “She’s so Fine”, Redding’s contribution to the album as a composer, a very British pop/rock Who-influenced affair features Redding on lead vocals with help from Mitchell. “One Rainy Wish” begins as a ballad but develops a rock feel during the chorus that is in a different time signature than the verses.
The song “Little Miss Lover” was the first to feature a percussive muted wah-wah effect (with the fretboard hand “killing” notes) – a technique that was later adopted by many guitarists. The final song of the album, “Bold as Love”, opens very abruptly. With a psychedelic chorus and an extended solo at the end it fades out the album. An early Mellotron instrument can be heard in the outro to the title track as well.
Packaging: Hendrix was a little disappointed with the album’s cover art. Although he appreciated the symbolic design, he mentioned in an interview that it would have been more appropriate if the cover art showcased his Native American “Indian” heritage. The British Track records art department had independently chosen to use the current fad for all things Indian to create the cover, and thus the album’s cover has a photographed copy of a mass-produced religious poster of the Hindu devotional painting known as Viraat Purushan-Vishnuroopam with a small, superimposed painting of the group by Roger Law (from a photo portrait by Karl Ferris) blended in.
In November a giant B&W blow up of the fantastic day-glo pink, orange & blue offset litho print over gold foil, Hapshash/Osiris poster featuring Hendrix dressed as a Native American, wearing a feathered War Bonnet, was used as a background to his appearance on Hoepla, a controversial Dutch TV show. This poster, although produced later in London, and supposedly commissioned by Hendrix has text along the top to make it appear as if it was an original poster, advertising his (post Monterey) 1967 Fillmore concerts, this design was possibly what he had in mind. The original prints of this poster are probably all in collections, and later copies which have surfaced fetch high prices at auction.
The original Track UK issue came in a gatefold sleeve with a large B&W portrait photo of the group by Donald Silverstein spread over the inside and an orange sheet insert with overprinted lyrics in red; the allegedly high cost of this packaging was a topic of note in the music press. The US issue had no insert and instead of the group photo inside, had the lyrics. In Europe, the Polydor issue had no lyrics and stuck a 1-inch-wide (25 mm) white border round the inside portrait, while the French dispensed with the original cover entirely and put it in a single sleeve with a photo of the group taken from a recent French TV show on the front.