The second studio album of the most iconic guitarist in history showcases ideal rock and pop guitarist in a way the world had never seen before. It is no secret that Hendrix is the most influential guitarist in pop history as you can see his influence on so many renowned and celebrated guitarists. From being vital to the emergence of the modern rock guitarist in the mid 60s to being an icon of the psychedelic rock scene at the turn of the decade. However, one aspect of the sonic powerhouse that is Jimi Hendrix is often overlooked. Axis Bold As Love exhibits an expert in mature and emotional songwriting.
If 6 Was 9
Experimentation with new sounds was one of the biggest musical developments within the Era that ‘Bold As Love’ was released. From ‘Pet Sounds’ to ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, psychedelia in music was becoming the norm and Hendrix certainly more than dipped his toe in the genre. ‘If 6 Was 9’ begins as a simple bluesy jam including another of Hendrix’s instantly recognisable sounds of the vocals following the guitar melody. Lyricly this song focuses on Hendrix’s view on society. The hippie movement was in full swing and the era of the music festival was approaching at light speed. The song pushes his view of freedom, peace and love into the spotlight and just as the song reaches its climax there is a burst of liveliness with the inclusion of a flute solo, yet another example of the willingness to be different than what was so common in arguably pops greatest decade.
How a song that is so short and simple can become so iconic is an unbelievable achievement. Two minutes and 25 seconds of unforgettable elegance is possibly the only way to describe ‘Little Wing’. The opening is subtle, but still hides so much rhythmic and melodic beauty. The addition of the bell like sound of the glockenspiel could be seen as novel and irrelevant to the song, but in a song so sweet it adds a splash of arrangement perfection that shows how Hendrix thought about so much more than his instrument when writing music. When the artwork that is ‘Little Wing’ is painted with so few colours the slightest addition of brightness can make the music so much more alluring.
Bold As Love
It would be near impossible to count how many times this song has been covered. It appears to be a right of passage for any young guitarist to work there way between the loose and expressive lines of ‘Bold As Love’. It’s easy to see why albums such as this still bare relevance in the hearts of modern musicians. The song showcases the importance of playing the right thing at the right time. Despite the virtuosity of Mitch Mitchell (Drums) and Noel Redding (Bass) they still manage to constrain themselves to simplicity and allow Hendrix to musically express himself. ‘Bold As Love’ can often be overshadowed by other masterpieces such as ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Hey Joe’ but in my opinion it is ‘Bold As Love’ that best provides an insight into the songwriting ability of Hendrix and his colleagues. Concluding the album with such as masterful arrangement applies an ideal resolution to the album.
You can buy ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ on Amazon here
You can listen to ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ on Spotify below