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Astral Projection – Live

Shrapnel (1983)
Rating: 5/10

This has to be the most puzzling release of the year. An album of Jimi Hendrix compositions (not forgetting Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’) performed live at the Keystone in Palo Alto, California.

Now Randy Hansen, you may remember, had a self-titled album out some three years ago. Although by no means a masterpiece, the album did however indicate some potential with his Hendrix-inspired guitar work; most noticeably on ‘Champagne And Cocaine’ and ‘Millionaire’. So why release a follow-up which is filled with cover versions?

It must be said that versions of ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Foxy Lady’, ‘Stone Free’, ‘Red House’ etc, are all well rehearsed covers displaying Mr. Hansen’s guitar playing talents to the max, with a tight rhythm section from Jeff Pilson on bass and Mark Nelson on drums, but apart from those present at the gig and Shrapnel collectors, I fail to see who would be interested in paying out hard earned money on this slice of vinyl? I mean, would, say, a Motörhead or a Judas Priest fan buy an album by an unknown quantity that was full from beginning to end with covers of their heroes material? Hendrix fans, old and new, will surely already have the originals of the great man’s work on countless compilations and live recordings.

This release suggests to me a lack of confidence Randy Hansen has in his own material, which is sad because Robin Trower, Frank Marino and numerous others have proved that you can gain success by sounding like Hendrix, yet still manage to create your own identity along the way.

Astral Projection – Live, a fine tribute, but purely for collectors only.

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 2 (1983)

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