This is an exhaustive collection of Experience alternate takes, outtakes, alternate mixes and live performances. For the Hendrix completist, it’s probably more essential than any of the other studio rarities collections that have come out, just because it shows off more facets of his playing and his experimentation – unlike those studio rarities collections, which are mostly demos, or those live sets which show him in an altogether different light – than any other set. This is as complete a picture you’ll get of the Experience (and Hendrix himself) outside of the original studio albums plus Band of Gypsies.
But this thing is exhaustive. And it serves no purpose to the casual fan, as these are just alternatives to the numerous other collections out there. If you’re a casual fan, I could absolutely recommend better stuff to listen to than this 4 disc set. And so that’s why I can’t give it full marks. Though the music is good (obviously), and though you get to hear Hendrix’s process in the studio and his ability live at the same time (which you can’t elsewhere), you also are hearing versions and mixes that Hendrix himself didn’t like as much, and a scattershot assortment of live performances, rather than any full set. It’s just not necessary, unless you are obsessed with the guy.