With almost four times as many posthumous collections as studio albums released during his lifetime, James Marshall Hendrix really may be worth more dead than alive. Most of the dozen songs here have been released before in other forms, and 1997's First Ray of the New Rising Sun remains the definitive set of "building blocks" for what would have been Hendrix's fifth album. However, these 1968-9 recordings (mostly with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles) are free of overdubs, and the playing is incendiary. Easy Blues and Elmore James' Bleeding Heart are rawer than other versions, but most intriguing are the songs where you can hear him feeling out new directions: Earth Blues and Izabella are lithe and funky, and the outstanding, sax-blasting Let You Move You, with Lonnie Youngblood's vocals, suggests Hendrix could have made a blistering metamorphosis into turbocharged electric soul.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author