Holiday Gift Guide Edition - Hendrix, Elvis and Prince

There's lots of new vinyl out in time for holiday gift giving, and here we tell you about titles from Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley as well as three titles from His Royal Purpleness, Prince.

Jimi Hendrix Experience - Live in Maui
If you've ever been to Haleakala National Park in Maui you know the scenery there is stunning. By extension so is this 3-LP set by the Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded at Haleakala Crater in July of 1970. With Jimi on guitar, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass and backing vocals, this set is pressed on audiophile grade vinyl with each disc housed in a cardboard picture sleeve, all of which come packed in a hybrid box/gatefold cover, making Live in Maui an attractive collector's item. The show starts with a take on "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" that segues into "In from the Storm" where Jimi indulges in his well-known guitar histrionics for the first time in the show. "Foxey Lady" ends Side One of Disc 1 and the flip side also contains three tracks; long jams on "Hear My Train A-comin'," "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and a raucous take on the radio hit "Fire." Big hit "Purple Haze" opens Disc 2, which also includes "Dolly Dagger" and favorites like "Spanish Castle Magic," "Message to Love" and "Ezy Rider" where Mitchell's drumming gets the song started. Jimi is feeling bluesy as Disc 3 begins with an extended groove on "Red House;" "Jam Back at the House" and "Freedom" are featured on this side as well. The show nears its end with "Straight Ahead" and a revisiting of the show's beginning with another take on "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" that incorporates "Midnight Lightning." Then there's the big finish with "Stone Free" and a few riffs from "Hey Joe." Also included in this package is a Blu-ray disc featuring the documentary film "Music, Money, Madness...Jimi Hendrix in Maui;" bonuses on the Blu-ray include a filmed performance of most of the show. Tying it all together is a photo-laden booklet with an essay by Jeff Slate.

Elvis Presley - From Elvis in Nashville
RCA/Legacy Recordings recently released a 4-CD collection called From Elvis in Nashville; this similarly-named 2-LP vinyl release presents the highlights from the CD set. With these cuts being laid down in Nashville with some of the city's hottest session players---Norbert Putnam, Charlie McCoy, James Burton and David Briggs among them---you might get the idea that this is a country record. It is and it isn't; a dozen of the songs are country but 10 are pop, and for the listener's convenience each genre gets its own disc. And there are gems to be heard in both styles. On the pop side, the big-sounding and emotional "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" is a great set opener, "Got My Mojo Working"/"Keep Your Hands Off of It" boogies like crazy, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a rehearsal take, is Elvis at his reflective best, and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" conjures the energy and sexual tension that Elvis brought by the boatload. Among the standouts of the country cuts are a swinging take on the chestnut "Faded Love" where McCoy features on harmonica, a version of Hank Cochran's "Make the World go Away," a nod to Willie Nelson with a bluesy interpretation of "Funny How Time Slips Away" and a romp through the Bill Monroe/Lester Flatt co-write "Little Cabin on the Hill." Packaged in a gatefold jacket with inner sleeves that are loaded with photos and reproductions of memorabilia along with extensive notes from Ernst Mikael Jorgensen.

Prince - One Night Alone...Live!, One Night Alone: The Aftershow...It Ain't Over!, The Rainbow Children
Imagine the look of joy on your Prince fan's face if you were to gift them all three of these reissues on vinyl this holiday season. But trust us, they will be ecstatic with any one of the titles. One Night Alone...Live! is the plushest of the releases; it is a 4-LP set that Prince recorded with the New Power Generation. It represents the first time that Prince released a live album, and each of the set's four discs is pressed (of course!) on purple vinyl. Prince's current album at the time was The Rainbow Children and some cuts from that record, including "Muse 2 the Pharaoh," "Mellow," "1+1+1 is 3" and the title cut are performed here early in the show. Hits like "Raspberry Beret," "Take Me With You," "Nothing Compares to You" and "I Wanna Be Ur Lover" sit among cuts such as "Sometimes it Snows in April," "Anna Stesia," "Do Me Baby," "Family Name" and "Starfish & Coffee;" in other words a great cross-section of the Purple One's material, which was recorded in half a dozen cities during spring of 2002. One Night Alone: The Aftershow...It Ain't Over! can be thought of as the companion piece to its namesake; the nine cuts here were recorded after hours as Prince cut loose after his regular show with the NPG and guests like Candy Dulfer and Maceo Parker on saxophones and Larry Graham on bass. Songs found on this 2-LP set, again on purple vinyl, include "Dorothy Parker," "Girls & Boys," "Alphabet Street" and a medley of "Just Friends (Sunny)" and Sly Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay" with guest Musiq Soulchild. Also guesting is George Clinton who appears for a take on his "We Do This." The third reissue is 2001's The Rainbow Children, which marked several changes in Prince's life; his marriage had ended, his infant child had died, and he had become a Jehovah's Witness which found his spiritual beliefs evolving. The Rainbow Children also marked the end of his "the artist formerly known as Prince" phase and his use of the "unpronounceable glyph" as an identifier as he began using the name Prince again. Songs here are overt yet laden with subtext and what may take a while to sink in while words are being sung may be easier for fans to grasp while perusing the lyrics that are printed in a booklet that also features hip artwork like the album cover. While there is dance music here, many of the songs have jazz roots and groove in a different way from the Prince norm. Included is a colorful turntable slip mat and if you get the limited edition clear vinyl version of this release you can see the mat as the record spins.

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