* Jimi Hendrix — West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)
It’s been a banner year for archival Jimi Hendrix releases. First came Valleys of Neptune, and now there’s West Coast Seattle Boy (out now), a five-disc anthology (four CDs and one DVD) of mostly previously unreleased studio and concert recordings. This is a true career-spanning collection; the first CD contains 15 songs from Hendrix’s days as a sideman for The Isley Brothers, Little Richard and others. Also included are top-shelf takes of familiar tunes such as “Fire” and “Are You Experienced?” (with Experience band mates Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell), choice concert performances and several recordings from 1970 that show Hendrix had plenty left in the tank when he died that September.
* Jim Byrnes — Everywhere West (Black Hen Music)
Raised in St. Louis, blues singer/guitarist Jim Byrnes has called Canada home for years. But his weary, soulful voice has the influence of the Deep South written all over it, and Byrnes is in fine form on his latest album, Everywhere West (out now). Standouts include the Byrnes original “Hot As a Pistol,” a New Orleans-flavored take on Robert Johnson‘s “From Four Until Late” and a juke-joint-suitable rendition of the Jimmy Reed tune “Take Out Some Insurance on Me.”
* Edie Carey — Bring the Sea (self-released)
There’s plenty to like about Edie Carey‘s voice, which is smooth and classy. What’s lacking on Bring the Sea (out now) is rhythmic variety to her adult contemporary/folk-rock material: The album is in dire need of a few upbeat numbers. Highlights include “Easy Now” and “Come Inside.” Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame guests on “Waiting,” and Shawn Mullins sings harmony on “So Wrong for Me.”
— By Chris M. Junior