“Merry Christmas & Happy New Year” by Jimi Hendrix

Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: “Merry Christmas & Happy New Year”
Label: Legacy Recordings
Release Date: 11/16/2010
Genre: Holiday Rock
Rating: 3.75/5

In an age where popular musicians are releasing holiday themed albums by the dozen it was nice to find this little surprise being released from an era where such an occurrence was a very special rare feat and not something one did on a regular basis. The CD single by the legendary Jimi Hendrix had been recorded in 1969 as a special treat to his fans and this was done with his band of Gypsy’s players Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. The liner notes explain how this was recorded while the musicians were preparing for Fillmore East appearances. We get two versions of the tune and one is the extended version which I feel is the better track since it is more encompassing. It obviously has Jimi’s signature flair to it and while he most likely put a healthy amount of thought into it, the whole tune seems to just be a flowing jam that calls to mind these three classic holiday numbers. I never owned the original of this but was told it was released on a 45 many, many years ago. We also get “Three Little Bears” which is performed by the members of The Experience (Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding) and this charming little tale by the master guitar player has not been available anywhere in more than twenty five years. It was originally recorded in 1968 as a part of his “Electric Ladyland” sessions.

In addition to a page of liner notes we get two interesting photos of Hendrix. The first is the musician dressed up in his Santa best as he offers up copies of “Are You Experienced” while the second is Jimi and the band in front of a roaring holiday fireplace. It’s very Johnny Mathis Christmas when it comes down to it and I found it amusing and playful to see him in such settings. It’s a far cry from the usual visual we all have when Hendrix comes to mind. This is worth having if you stockpile holiday tunes from the Rocker set or are just a diehard Jimi enthusiast.

Track Listing:
1. Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne (edited)
2. Three Little Bears
3. Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne (extended version)

Official Website: http://www.jimihendrix.com

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