PAUL RODGERS AND COMPANY - The Hendrix Set (1993)
Paul Rodgers and Company's The Hendrix Set is a five-song EP of Jimi Hendrix Experience covers recorded live at Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida, on July 4, 1993. Joining the Free and Bad Company vocalist are Journey guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Todd Jensen, and drummer Deen Castronovo. Schon played with Jensen and Castronovo in Hardline and with Castronovo in Bad English. The Hendrix Set is fairly enjoyable, but it's surprising that this vanity project no matter how sincere was released. In fact, it never even charted. Then again, Rodgers was honoring his influences at the time, hence the 1993 Muddy Waters tribute Muddy Water Blues. The five songs here are "Purple Haze," "Stone Free," "Little Wing," "Manic Depression," and "Foxy Lady." Rodgers is strict with some vocal interpretations and much looser on others. Schon re-creates Hendrix's guitar tone and riffs faithfully, but he does show off and shred regularly, too. The unsung key to re-creating Hendrix's sound is Castronovo's sharp, tinny drum sound, which closely copies that of Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. The tempo of "Purple Haze" is a little too slow at times. "Stone Free" is the best track by far. Rodgers' singing is excellent and Schon, Jensen, and Castronovo are solid. The best part occurs when the band turns the song into an uncredited medley by shifting briefly and smoothly into Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" while Rodgers sings part of Cream's "I Feel Free." This practice is repeated on "Little Wing" when Rodgers includes a few lines from Hendrix's "Angel" at the end. Rodgers fans will likely appreciate The Hendrix Set.
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