Panel from Sweet Sixteen comic book issue #9, September 1947
I don't have anything revelatory to say about Electric Ladyland, but it's made a pretty big impression on me in the last couple weeks (why did it take me so long to get around to buying this record?!!?) Here are my five random thoughts on Electric Ladyland:
1. It's kind of funny that the Experience's most psychedelic album arguably has the least psychedelic cover art - none of the proposed or actual Electric Ladyland cover designs come close to the superior covers of Are You Experienced or Axis: Bold as Love.
2. I have a much better listening experience when I cue this album up so that the fifteen minute jam "Voodoo Chile" is moved from being the fourth track to the very end of the album, switching places with the track's song-form distillation "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".
3. "Little Miss Strange" is a cool enough song, but I really don't like hearing Noel Redding sing lead - it's pretty jarring in the middle of a sequence of Hendrix-sung tracks. The same is true of "She's So Fine" on Axis: Bold as Love.
4. I've gradually come to enjoy the other epic track on Electric Ladyland, "Moon, Turn the Tides...Gently Gently Away", simply because I know that the unmatched greatness of the album's last four tracks ("Still Raining, Still Dreaming", "House Burning Down", "All Along the Watchtower", "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)") is just around the corner when it comes on.
5. I was pretty surprised when I discovered that one of my favorite tracks on the album (and one of the tracks that best defines the album's sound), "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", was actually recorded and released as a single a full year before the album came out. The chorus-style backing vocals, Hendrix's electric harpsichord part, and the panning, sped-up guitar lines make for an innovative and engaging arrangement that fits in well with the rest of the much-later-recorded material on Electric Ladyland.
"Burning of the Midnight Lamp" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience