Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge [Reprise, 1971]
Given that Hendrix is always a guitarist first, The Cry of Love seems like the verbal/vocal half of the double-LP he was planning when he died. Except for "Dolly Dagger," now the single and a pretty conventional Hendrix song, what you notice here is the playing--the delicate "Pali Gap," the relatively dignified (and pre-Woodstock) "Star Spangled Banner," and the amazing blues jams of side two, especially the live "Hear My Train a Coming." Rich stuff, exploring territory that as always with Hendrix consists not merely of notes but of undifferentiated sound, a sound he shapes with a virtuosity no one else has ever achieved on an electric instrument. A-