Rolling Stone (8/7/97, p.62) - "...a cohesive cosmic missive....illuminates what would have been a transitional phase for Hendrix. Along with the requisite burning-flesh instrumental workouts, it also presents Hendrix in his lyrical, ruminative mode..."
Down Beat (8/97, p.61) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Hendrix's postumously released music sees the light of day for the first time in the form he originally envisioned..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/01/04, p.53) - Included in Mojo's The 67 Lost Albums You Must Own! - "Plenty of the original fire is here and some supremely funky-ass rock, presaging War, etc."
Personnel: Jimi Hendrix (vocals, guitar, piano); Ken Pine (12-string guitar); Paul Caruso (harmonica); Stephen Stills (piano); Buzzy Linhart (vibraphone); Billy Cox (bass); Buddy Miles (drums, background vocals); Jimmy Mayes, Mitch Mitchell (drums); Billy Armstrong, Juma Sultan (percussion); Arthur Allen, Albert Allen, Billy Cox, The Ronettes, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood (background vocals).
Producers: Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, John Jansen, Mitch Mitchell.
Engineers: Eddie Kramer, Bob Hughes, Bob Cotto.
Recorded between March 1968 and August 1970. Includes liner notes by John McDermott.
After years of legal wrangling, FIRST RAYS is the initial album released under the direct supervision of the Hendrix family. These remastered classics, previously found on the posthumous albums THE CRY OF LOVE, WAR HEROES and RAINBOW BRIDGE, were originally slated to be part of a double-album sequel to ELECTRIC LADYLAND, a concept that died with Hendrix in 1970.
The compilation of these songs allows us to see the many sides of this innovative artist. Alongside runaway flights of fancy ("Stepping Stone") and overcharged rock/funk explosions ("Room Full Of Mirrors") are beautiful ballads ("Angel") and rollicking numbers that point to a Bob Dylan influence ("My Friend"). Famous friends dot the sonic landscape (Steve Winwood and Chris Wood on "Ezy Rider" and The Ronettes on "Earth Blues"), but Hendrix remains the center of a musical universe whose light was snuffed out far too soon.