Various Artists "Gypsy Blood: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix - Vol. 2"

Various Artists
"Gypsy Blood: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix - Vol. 2"
Comet Records

CD review by Roger-Z (3/06/05)

A few weeks ago, I sat at a club in Nyack, NY listening to the manager explain what he looked for in a cover band. The group had to make the songs their own -- not simply re-create them. For the most part, the various artists on volume two of this tribute to Jimi Hendrix would not get the gig. The CD, on a small, Italian label, Comet Records, once again features an assortment of medium to lesser known musicians. The tracks were cut at the same time as the first volume and contain many of the same guitarists.

Obviously, these artists spent a lot of time mastering the music. But for the most part, they don't capture the magic. Robben Ford's "Bold as Love," Steve "Toto" Lukather's "Hear My Train a Comin'," and Pat Travers' "Ezy Ryder" all fall into this category -- knock-off's that lack the inspiration of the original.

The artists who succeed do so by putting a distinctive spin on the tunes. As on the first record, Larry Coryell manages to concoct a totally unique version of Hendrix. Imagine a funky, acoustic jazz version of "Purple Haze." Then when you get used to that idea, prepare yourself for the song to morph into a full blown electric fusion workout. Jeff Richman also surprises with a beautifully subtle soul/jazz re-working of "Who Knows." Instead of the usual guitar histrionics, we get a tasty bass vamp -- and then a greasy, slinky guitar solo.

Once again, some artists aim high and almost reach their targets. Arlen Roth throws some tasty country licks on "The Wind Cries Mary." And Mark Doyle mixes reverb drenched country guitar lines with tasty slide on "Little Wing."

Sadly, for the most part, I found myself fighting the urge to stop the CD and put on the original Hendrix tracks.

2005 Roger-Z