This single, released in April 1970, was the last thing Jimi released while he was still on earth, and it was withdrawn shortly after its release. Some say that Jimi was unhappy with the mix, but the real reason may never be known.
What *is* known is that the 45 mix of 'Stepping Stone' is ONLY heard on the original 45; the version used on the posthumous Kiss The Sky LP is very close, but on close listening there are some subtle differences in the wall of guitars weaving in and out of the track.
Both sides of this record are devastating; 'Stepping Stone' is one of Jimi's greatest guitar symphonies, and the song clearly shows the frustrations that he was feeling in his life and music at the time. Buddy Miles' intense drumming makes this song feel like an out of control freight train until the final explosion at the end and the engineer's statement of 'you made it'. 'Izabella' is one of the blueprints of funk-rock, with an unstoppable groove and a lyric full of powerful metaphors. Jimi's brilliant songwriting was right on par with his spellbinding guitar work. The man *was* music.
Jimi was the greatest, and my biggest influence as a musician.