Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jimi Hendrix: Midnight Lightning [Reprise, 1976]
With posthumous Hendrix it's best to concentrate on the improvisations as if he were a jazz musician, and heard this way Alan Douglas's second attempt at creative tampering beats the first. Once again the standouts are instrumentals--a Mitch Mitchell vamp called "Beginnings" and especially "Trash Man," reminiscent of McLaughlin's Devotion only grander, more passionate, and more anarchic. Guitarist Jeff Mironov actually enriches that cut, just as guitarist Lance Quinn does "Machine Gun," which due to the stiffness of the rhythm section is less funky than either live version but smashes through as a raveup. And beyond that the blues playing--as opposed to singing or writing--carries the album. B+