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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/8203277d4148f9f6857206cced77711f6e7bba7d.jpg South Saturn Delta

Jimi Hendrix

South Saturn Delta

MCA Records
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 25, 1997

Oh, the temptation — to just say that Kettle Whistle blows, that it's the alt-rock answer to Led Zeppelin's Coda, But if these outtakes from one of the shortest, brightest careers in post-punk rock aren't all diamonds, they are solid evidence that even in their formative days (the "Mountain Song" and "Ocean Size" demos, the early club-gig cuts), Jane's Addiction were onto something, a visionary bent on art-metal violence and millennial sensuality. The live material from '90 and '91 shows that Jane's broke up too soon, while the two new studio tracks with substitute bassist Flea hint at newer, greater things — without quite delivering.

Jimi Hendrix completed just three studio albums in his lifetime. The guitarist's death, in September 1970, and the prolonged manhandling of his legacy mean that the bulk of his life's work — demos, live tapes, unfinished recordings — has been treated shabbily over the decades: cherry-picked for compilations, deleted, reissued, re-reissued with every change in stewardship. South Saturn Delta is less of a mess than its predecessors, combining tracks from Rainbow Bridge, Loose Ends and War Heroes with previously unissued material that is revealing, although not always in the way the compilers intend. The instrumental sketch of "Little Wing" and the early mix of "All Along the Watchtower" prove that there was magic as well as mania in Hendrix's obsessive studio ways. But "Sweet Angel" (a '67 demo of "Angel") and "Midnight Lightning," cut solo as a Venusian-delta blues, indicate there is still much to be discovered and cherished. Memo to Experience Hendrix: This set's fine; now let's get deep.

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