May 12: Are You Experienced

are-you-experiencedIn the mid-1960s, Jimi Hendrix was best known, if he was known, as a rhythm and blues guitarist. He had backed some of the best known acts of the day including Wilson Pickett, The Isley Brothers, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard and Sam Cooke. However, that began to change in the winter of 1966 when he cut a recording of the Billy Roberts song “Hey Joe”. In England, Hendrix would release two other singles, “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary” in the spring of 1967, both of which would draw the attention of the musically hip. However, it was on May 12, 1967 that Hendrix became an instant icon when the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album Are You Experienced was released.

Widely regarded as one of the finest debut records ever released, Are You Experienced is one of those albums that marked a significant change in the musical landscape. Just imagine putting the original British version of the record (the American version had a different tracklisting and a decidedly more iconic cover) on a turntable, pressing play and being confronted with the opening guitar line of “Foxy Lady” charging towards you like a bullet train. From there, Are You Experienced takes a psychedelic journey through 20th century music, drawing on blues (“Red House“), R&B (“May This Be Love“) and jazz (“Third Stone From The Sun“) while also inventing new sounds. The title track still sounds as fresh and vibrant now as it did 47 years ago.

In tribute to Hendrix’s striking debut, let’s drink a Foxy Lady. Unlike Hendrix’s heavy rock song, this is a sweet and soft after-dinner drink.

Foxy Lady

  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce Dark Crème de Cacao
  • 1 ounce cream

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cordial glass.

Tomorrow: We go back to the beginning.

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