Axis: Bold As Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)

     RATING: 10/10

This record is, hands down, one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. I’ve been enjoying “Axis” since I was a kid in 2003 (when I started playing the guitar), and it has changed/shaped my life as a musician and player ever since. Hendrix is undeniably one of the most creative, flashy, and innovative guitarists/songwriters to grace this planet, and his ability to utilize various genres to showcase his playing style is nothing short of brilliant. The experimental/eerie intro track, “EXP,” leads right into the sly and funky “Up From The Skies,” and then erupts into the fusion-metal “Spanish Castle Magic,” which proceeds to set the pace and uncertainty of the tracks to follow. Hendrix flows seamlessly between R&B, funk, hard rock, psychedelia, and blues, and pop, to prove his newfound leadership and virtuosic role in the evolving rock scene of the late 60s. I love knowing that I am going to get a slight different feel as each track passes, which I believe allows this record to be so popular and enjoyable amongst multiple demographics and fan bases. My favorite tracks make up over half of this record, due to the clever and mystic lyricism and clever/unique musicianship, and the dazzling relationship between the melodies and intricate chord progressions Jimi built: 1) “Up From The Skies” and that sexy wah wah pedal work, 2) “Spanish Castle Magic” and it’s colossal and heavy riffage, 3) “Wait Until Tomorrow” with the love-like lyrics and quick bluesy guitar work, 4) “Little Wing” and all its natural beauty and swag, 5) “If 6 Was 9” and its confronting society and the issues associated with 60s lifestyles, and the final two faves (“Castles Made of Sand” and “Bold As Love”) for being pure genius. The chords, lyrics, melodies, solos, and innovative musical thinking have made these two tunes untouched to this day, in terms of uniqueness and soul. I can’t help but smile and shake my head each time I listen, in hopes that one day I can be half the musician and player Jimi Hendrix was. This album shows true musical genius, through a genuine love of all music and a genuine love for the guitar as an instrument. This will never get old, despite its age.

-Brandt Parke