Hendrix rarities set: ‘West Coast Seattle Boy’

Liberation of the Jimi Hendrix archives continues Nov. 16 with the release of “West Coast Seattle Boy,” a five-disc box set.

The Hendrix estate calls the set a “definitive career-spanning collection” with more than four hours of music culled from 1964-1970.

In addition to a wealth of rare and unreleased recordings — some live, some demos and alternate takes — “West Coast Seattle Boy” includes a treat for Hendrix history buffs: a CD devoted to the guitarist’s days as an R&B sideman.

Highlights on the other three anthology CDs include a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tears of Rage,” Hendrix’s takes on “Peter Gunn” and “Bolero,” and the “Black Gold” tapes song “Suddenly November Morning,” recorded in Hendrix’s apartment just before his death.

Disc 4 opens with three unreleased songs from the legendary New Year’s Eve shows with the Band of Gypsys: “Stone Free,” “Burning Desire” and “Lonely Avenue.”

The R&B disc delivers three numbers from the Isley Brothers and a pair each from Little Richard, Rosa Lee Brooks (Arthur Lee) and Don Covay. Rounding out the disc are singles by Frank Howard, Ray Sharpe, the Icemen, Jimmy Norman, Billy Lamont and King Curtis. Few of these records will be familiar to non-R&B enthusiasts except for Covay’s hit “Mercy, Mercy.”

Not surprisingly, missing in action on the R&B disc are recordings with Harlem bandleader Curtis Knight, who cashed in on the Hendrix phenomenon early and often.

“West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology” also contains with a DVD of the new feature-length documentary “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child,” directed by Bob Smeaton, who co-directed “The Beatles Anthology” and “Festival Express.” Smeaton was given access to the Hendrix family’s personal letters and mementos.

The Hendrix family and Legacy Recordings in March released “Valleys of Neptune” and rereleased the three official Jimi Hendrix Experience albums. “Neptune” was a collection of unreleased (but bootlegged) studio recordings. The Experience album rereleases added some video content to the psychedelic classics but no upgrades in audio quality — to the dismay of many fans.

Experience Hendrix president Janie Hendrix said the new anthology “leaves no stone unturned.”

“It not only illuminates his years on both sides of the Atlantic and beautifully reveals his versatility as a performer, from his R&B origins to his explosion on the pop culture scene, but highlights who he was for those who knew and loved him,” she said.

Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix also are rereleasing “BBC Sessions,” “Blues,” “Live at Woodstock” and a Christmas EP on Nov. 2. A single-disc highlights CD from the box set is due as well.

View the Hendrix press release and CD tracks order.

Meanwhile, Image Entertainment is bringing to market “Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero,” a documentary narrated by Slash. Part of the Classic Artists DVD series, Its goodies include silent footage from Hendrix’s ill-fated tour with the Monkees.