First Rays of the New Rising Sun

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First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Compilation album by
ReleasedApril 22, 1997 (1997-04-22)
RecordedMarch 1968 – August 1970
Jimi Hendrix chronology
Voodoo Soup
First Rays of the New Rising Sun
Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix

First Rays of the New Rising Sun is a compilation album[1] by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix, featuring songs mostly intended for his planned fourth studio album. The 17-track album was one of the first releases overseen by Experience Hendrix, a family company that took over management of his recording legacy. MCA Records released the album in 1997 and it reached the album charts in the United States, United Kingdom, and four other countries.

Hendrix recorded most of the songs with former Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox, who had performed for Band of Gypsys (1970). Also, most were recorded in 1970 at Hendrix's new Electric Lady Studios in New York City.

All of the songs had been released previously on Hendrix's first posthumous albums The Cry of Love (1971), Rainbow Bridge (1971), and War Heroes (1972). First Rays of the New Rising Sun superseded Voodoo Soup, the 1995 attempt by controversial interim Hendrix producer Alan Douglas to realize Hendrix's fourth album.


At the time of his death in 1970, Hendrix was working on enough songs for a double album, with one proposed title First Rays of the New Rising Sun.[2][3] The tracks were in varying stages of development, with only about six believed to be near completion. Long-time Hendrix recording engineer Eddie Kramer and drummer Mitch Mitchell selected 17 of what they felt were the best tracks, which were first released on The Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge, and War Heroes.[2] From the 1970s through the 1990s, the songs also appeared on other posthumous compilations supervised by producer Alan Douglas, who wiped bass and drums performances by Mitchell, Cox and Miles and overdubbed them with newly recorded by session musicians. He also added female backing singers to one track, and claimed co-composer credit on several tracks. For the 1997 compilation, Kramer instead used the original master recordings and sequenced the songs to realize Hendrix's plans to the best of his abilities.[4] He selected tracks based on their original level of completion and Hendrix's personal notes.[5]

According to Richie Unterberger in his Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix (2009), "Some Hendrix fans might take issue with First Rays of the New Rising Sun being classified as a compilation, rather than as a studio album, consisting as it does solely of studio recordings, most of them cut and/or polished shortly before his death in September 1970 ... Yet when all is said and done, [it] is not what Hendrix would have issued as his fourth album. No such record could be posthumously compiled, as nobody knows with absolute certainty what songs he would have included, and what additional production work he might have done on the ones he had laid down in the studio, no matter how complete they might have seemed to others."[6]

Several additional songs that appeared on Hendrix's proposed track listings for his fourth studio album were later released by Experience Hendrix: "Valleys of Neptune", "Cherokee Mist", "Bleeding Heart","Hear My Train A Comin'" (also known as "Getting My Heart Back Together Again"), "Lover Man", "Midnight Lightning" (demo), and "Send My Love to Linda".[7][8] Another three, "Come Down Hard on Me Baby", "The Drifter's Escape", and "Burning Desire", were issued on Loose Ends (1974).[9]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Blender4/5 stars[10]
Down Beat4/5 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[12]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[15]
Tom Hull – on the WebA–[16]

When First Rays of the New Rising Sun was released in 1997, it charted at number 49 on the Billboard 200 in the United States,[17] and at number 37 on the UK Albums Charts in Britain.[18] In 2010, the album was remastered and re-released by Sony Legacy, on March 8 in the UK and March 9 in the US.[14]

According to Robert Christgau in Blender, First Rays of the New Rising Sun was Kramer's reimagination of Hendrix's projected double LP, which was not as remarkable musically as his last studio album Electric Ladyland (1968) and "not too profound lyrically".[10] Nonetheless, Christgau deemed it a suitable successor to The Cry of Love,[19] as well as "a powerful collection by a genius whose songwriting kept growing and whose solos rarely disappoint."[10] Sean Murphy from PopMatters believed it was more successful than The Cry of Love in realizing Hendrix's vision. He highlighted the "liberating presence" of bassist Billy Cox, deeming him an improvement over Noel Redding. According to Murphy, Cox allowed the band to "spread out and chase the guitarist as he soars above, around and beneath them".[14] Rolling Stone magazine called the album "a cohesive cosmic missive", writing that it "illuminates what would have been a transitional phase for Hendrix".[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Jimi Hendrix.

No.TitleOriginal releaseLength
1."Freedom"The Cry of Love (CoL)3:26
2."Izabella"War Heroes (WH)2:50
3."Night Bird Flying"CoL3:50
5."Room Full of Mirrors"Rainbow Bridge (RB)3:21
6."Dolly Dagger"RB4:44
7."Ezy Ryder"CoL4:09
10."Stepping Stone"WH4:12
11."My Friend"CoL4:36
12."Straight Ahead"CoL4:42
13."Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)"RB6:04
14."Earth Blues"RB4:21
15."Astro Man"CoL3:34
16."In From the Storm"CoL3:41
17."Belly Button Window"CoL3:36
Total length:69:27

Recording details[edit]

Track Location Recording date(s)
"Freedom" Electric Lady Studios,
New York City
June 25, July 14 & 19, and August 14 & 20, 1970
"Izabella" Record Plant,
New York City
January 17, 1970
"Izabella" overdubs Electric Lady June 1970
"Night Bird Flying" Electric Lady June 16, July 19, and August 22, 1970
"Angel" Electric Lady July 23, 1970
"Room Full of Mirrors" Record Plant November 17, 1969
"Room Full of Mirrors" overdubs Electric Lady June, July, and August 20, 1970
"Dolly Dagger" Electric Lady July 1, 15, 19, 20, 1970 and August 14, 18, 20, 24, 1970
"Ezy Ryder" Record Plant December 18, 1969 and January 20, 1970
"Ezy Ryder" overdubs Electric Lady June 15 & 18, July 2, and August 22, 1970
"Drifting" Electric Lady June 25 & 29, July 23, and August 20, 1970
"Beginnings" Electric Lady July 1, and August 22, 1970
"Stepping Stone" Record Plant January 7, 17, 20, 1970
"Stepping Stone" overdubs Electric Lady June 26, 1970
"My Friend" Sound Center,
New York City
March 13, 1968
"Straight Ahead" Electric Lady June 17, July 19, and August 20, 1970
"Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" Electric Lady July 1, 1970
"Earth Blues" Record Plant December 19, 1969
"Earth Blues" overdubs Record Plant;
Electric Lady
January 20, 1970; and June 26, 1970 (respectively)
"Astro Man" Electric Lady June 25, July 19, and August 22, 1970
"In From the Storm" Electric Lady July 22, and August 20 & 24 1970
"Belly Button Window" Electric Lady August 22, 1970


From the original MCA Records First Rays of the New Rising Sun CD booklet:[21]

Band members

  • Jimi Hendrix – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar on "My Friend", backing vocals on "Earth Blues" and "In from the Storm", production, mixing on "Freedom", "Nightbird Flying", "Dolly Dagger", "Room Full of Mirrors", "Ezy Ryder"
  • Billy Cox – bass guitar (except "My Friend" and "Belly Button Window"), backing vocals on "Earth Blues" and "In from the Storm"
  • Mitch Mitchell – drums on all tracks (except "Room Full of Mirrors" and "Ezy Ryder"), production (except "Izabella", "Beginnings", "Stepping Stone"), mixing on "Angel"

Additional musicians

  • Albert and Arthur Allen (the Ghetto Fighters) – backing vocals on "Freedom", "Izabella", "Dolly Dagger", and "Stepping Stone"
  • The Ronettes (Veronica Bennett, Estelle Bennett, Nedra Talley) – backing vocals on "Earth Blues"
  • Juma Sultan – percussion on "Freedom", "Dolly Dagger", "Beginnings", "Hey Baby (The New Rising Sun)", "Earth Blues", "Astro Man"
  • Buddy Miles – drums on "Room Full of Mirrors" and "Ezy Ryder", backing vocals on "Earth Blues"
  • Billy Armstrong – percussion on "Ezy Rider"
  • Buzzy Linhart – vibraphone on "Drifting"
  • Emmeretta Marks – backing vocals on "In from the Storm"
  • Steve Winwood – backing vocals on "Ezy Ryder"
  • Chris Wood – backing vocals on "Ezy Ryder"
  • Kenny Pine – twelve-string guitar on "My Friend"
  • Jimmy Mayes – drums on "My Friend"
  • Stephen Stills – piano on "My Friend"
  • Paul Caruso – harmonica on "My Friend"

Additional personnel

  • Eddie Kramer – producer, engineering, mixing, photography, remastering
  • John Jansen – production on "Izabella", "Room Full of Mirrors", "Dolly Dagger", "Beginnings", "Stepping Stone", "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)", "Earth Blues"; mixing on "Izabella", "Beginnings", "Stepping Stone", "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)", "Earth Blues"
  • Tony Bongiovi – engineering on "Room Full of Mirrors"
  • Jack Abrams – engineering on "Ezy Ryder" (1969)
  • Bob Hughes – engineering on "Ezy Ryder" (1970), "Earth Blues" (1970)
  • Bob Cotto – engineering on "Earth Blues" (1969)
  • John McDermott – liner notes, remastering supervisor


  1. ^ Faralaco, John (2010). "Appendix 5: Selected Post-1971 Compilation Albums". The Jimi Hendrix Story: New Edition, Including Updated Discography. IPS Books. pp. 125–126. ISBN 978-1890988395.
  2. ^ a b DeGroot, Joey (August 20, 2014). "Jimi Hendrix Posthumous, Out-Of-Print Albums To Be Reissued". Music Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  3. ^ "Jimi Hendrix - First Rays of the New Rising Sun CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. Album review Jimi Hendrix First Rays of the New Rising Sun at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  5. ^ Roby, Steven, ed. (2012). "Epilogue". Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1613743249.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie (2009). "The Legacy: 1970–Present". The Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix. Penguin. ISBN 978-1405381093.
  7. ^ McDermott, John; Kramer, Eddie; Cox, Billy (2009). Ultimate Hendrix. Backbeat Books. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-87930-938-1.
  8. ^ Some of these were released with new overdubs by studio musicians on the Alan Douglas produced Crash Landing (1975), Midnight Lightning (1975), and Voodoo Soup (1995) albums.
  9. ^ Shapiro, Harry; Glebbeek, Caesar (1990). "Appendix 1 – Music, Sweet Music: The Discography". Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 546–547. ISBN 0-312-05861-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  10. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (December 2005). "Back Catalogue: Jimi Hendrix". Blender. New York. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  11. ^ Down Beat. Chicago (August): 61. 1997.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Jimi Hendrix". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  13. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari (May 2, 1997). "Another Chance to Experience Hendrix". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c Murphy, Sean (March 11, 2010). "God Is Not Dead: The Jimi Hendrix Re-Issues". PopMatters. pp. 1–3. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  15. ^ Evans, Paul; Brackett, Nathan (2004). "Jimi Hendrix". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 374–75. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ Hull, Tom (November 30, 2018). "Streamnotes (November 2018)". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  17. ^ Billboard album charts info - Jimi Hendrix First Rays of the New Rising Sun at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Official Charts Company - Jimi Hendrix First Rays of the New Rising Sun". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 357. ISBN 0312245602.
  20. ^ Rolling Stone. New York (August 7): 62. 1997.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  21. ^ First Rays of the New Rising Sun (CD booklet). Jimi Hendrix. Universal City, California: MCA Records. 1997. pp. 5–20. OCLC 173216743. MCAD-11599.CS1 maint: others (link) CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]