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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 March 2013
People, Hell and Angels is for Jimi Hendrix completists only.

This is a very disappointing release that is FAR from "12 new studio recordings" as being advertised by Experience Hendrix. Almost all of these songs have been released in far superior versions on readily available retail releases. They have duplicated multiple songs from the Valleys Of Neptune album they put out just a couple of years ago also, including the second single from that album!

I'll break down the technical details of each song so you can see what you're truly getting here.

1. Earth Blues - Several years ago, John McDermott, one of the producers of this album and Hendrix catalog manager said in his book Ultimate Hendrix that this song was "loose" and non-cohesive with it being ultimately abandoned due to tuning and tempo issues. Now he's changed his opinion to calling it "stripped-down funk." Interesting change of heart when it comes time to put together a "new Hendrix album." Additionally, the final studio version mixed by Jimi was released on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, and then re-released in a deluxe version just a few of years ago. This version on People, Hell and Angels is far inferior and simply a demo that lacks many of the overdubs and embellishments that Jimi himself later added to the version released on First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Confusing as to why they would include this inferior track and call it a "new studio recording."

2. Somewhere - Firstly, Jimi's guitar work shreds on this song. However, this song has a lot of technical issues. Listening to the song carefully, especially the last half, it's easy to notice the amateurish "cut and paste" job Eddie Kramer did on this track, and it's disconcerting to say the least. This song was made up of several takes, and put together in shoddy fashion. During the breaks after Jimi's verses, you can hear how his vocals were inaccurately pasted into this song. This is most noticeable at the break around 3:00, his vocals don't match up and aren't in time. The timing when the instrumentation comes back in after Jimi's ending vocals is so off, it makes one wonder if Mr. Kramer has any sense of timing at all. The vocals are from an entirely different take of the song than the instrumentation, which isn't a problem in and of itself, but Kramer's mixing of the song is horrible. Also, you can hear how Jimi's guitar breaks out of the field of sound field a bit in places because it was part of a studio rehearsal, not a "new studio recording," as advertised. Not something that sounds good played loudly like most Hendrix fans enjoy. And all these issues on the lead single off the album? A version that is actually "in time" was released on the Jimi Hendrix Experience Boxed Set in 2000 in better quality, and the vocals are in time. Can't believe the shoddy cut and paste jobs they are doing to Jimi's work, very sad Eddie Kramer

3. Hear My Train A Comin' - How many times do we need to see this song released? Studio versions of this song have been released at nearly a half-dozen times on official releases by the Hendrix estate over the years, including being released on their last "new Hendrix studio album," Valleys of Neptune, just a couple of years ago! The song was released twice on the single disc Blues release, again on the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues album, on The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box-set, etc. Not to mention the numerous live versions that have been released all over the place. This version on People, Hell and Angels is inferior to all of them and is NOT a studio version, this is from a practice run-through session of the band and they are mis-labeling it as a studio version, which is easily observable when listened to. It sounds like it was recorded in a garage and is the first time Jimi got together with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox to practice songs. Keyword being "first time" and "practice." Sound quality speaks volumes on this one as you hear Jimi's vocals distort in places.

4. Bleeding Heart - This song was released as a SINGLE off of the Valleys Of Neptune album they released just a couple of years ago and they release it again already? Two times in a row? Yet another studio version was released on South Saturn Delta. Here on People, Hell and Angels we get a far inferior version that is nothing more than a studio rehearsal, not a completed studio recording. The sound quality almost sounds like it was recorded in a bar and there is nothing fantastic about this take.

5. Let Me Love You - One of the truly "new" songs on the album and Jimi doesn't sing a single word in the song. This is actually a Lonnie Youngblood song that Jim just plays guitar on. A good song though.

6. Izabella - This song has been released multiple times. The definitive studio version has already been released on First Rays of The New Rising Sun. An alternate studio version from this same recording session was released on The Experience Hendrix box-set in 2000. They released yet another version on the Burning Desire album. The version we have here on People, Hell and Angels is far inferior to the already released versions.

7. Easy Blues - This is a purely instrumental song released on the Nine To The Universe album. Experience Hendrix claims that this "new extract" is nearly twice as long as the Nine To The Universe release, which is untrue. The Nine To The Universe release was 4:30 and this version is 5:57, a mere 1 minute and 27 seconds longer. It's the same version, with another minute and a half of instrumental. Not sure if someone forgot how to do arithmetic or what.

8. Crash Landing - This song was released on the album Crash Landing, with the original instrumentation replaced by Alan Douglas, which a lot of people thought was insane to do. Here we get the original version, although Jimi's vocals have been pasted from another take, and one beat behind, not in time! Eddie Kramer, how are you doing this to multiple songs on the same album? Better yet, how did this pass quality control after that glaring mistake? A shameful hack-job. Additionally, Eddie Kramer (producer) and John McDermott (catalog manager) both stated how horrible this recording was in the book they released, Ultimate Hendrix, stating that this song was "uninspired." Now that they want to release it as some "newly found gem," McDermott has changed his position from calling it "uninspired" to saying "it's really good." Interesting.

9. Inside Out - Yet another early instrumental version of Ezy Ryder, no vocals at all. They released two more early Ezy Rider jams on the "new studio album," Valleys Of Neptune, and the Fire CD single from that same album just a couple of years ago! Add in even more Ezy Rider jams released on the Hear My Music and Burning Desire albums, and we're just about at a half-dozen releases now. So now we're getting alternate versions of recently released early versions of songs?

10. Hey Gypsy Boy - Released on the Midnight Lightning album with Alan Douglas overdubs, here we have the original version as Jimi intended it, which is nice to hear.

11. Mojo Man - Yet another song that Jimi has no vocals on. This isn't a Jimi Hendrix song, it's a Ghetto Fighters song with Jimi guest appearing on rhythm guitar. And when I say "rhythm guitar," I means exactly that because there are not even any guitar solos by Jimi on this song. Additionally, it's obvious a lot of tinkering was done to the song long after Jimi's passing, none of which is very flattering. This song was also already released as a single by the Ghetto Fighters just a mere year ago - Not unreleased by any means.

12. Villanova Junction - John McDermott, one of the producers of this album and Hendrix catalog manager said in his book Ultimate Hendrix that this song was "disjointed," but in a recent interview flip-flopped and said that it was "a sweet way to bring the record to a close." This was what I expected to be one of the shining points of the album, but this is merely a 1 minute and 45 second excerpt of this instrumental that fades out in the middle of the jam, unbelievable. For an album that barely clocks in at 50 minutes long, it's pretty obvious they could have, and should have, included the full Villanova Junction jam. Additionally, there was a 5 minute version of this song released on the Burning Desire album.

To Casual Fans - Avoid this release completely. If you are a casual fan of Jimi Hendrix, this release is going to be sorely disappointing to you as almost all of theses songs have been released in superior versions on other retail releases. Additionally, this collection is not a fair representation as to the quality of Jimi's studio material. Go with Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, or First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.

To Completists - Obviously a must-have, but be prepared to be disappointed in order to add this "new studio album," to your collections when hearing some of the amateur cut and paste jobs on Jimi's vocals, leaving them off beat in some songs (Somewhere, Crash Landing, etc.). Experience Hendrix created a sub-label called Dagger Records many years ago, which they use to release albums of alternate versions of songs, demos, and songs that didn't have a place on mainstream studio albums. People, Hell and Angels belongs on that label as a release for Jimi Hendrix completists only.

This is a pretty low cash-grab on the part of Experience Hendrix. In fact, Eddie Kramer, head producer on the project was interviewed on video by Harmony Central after mixing this album down and said "this is the, HOPEFULLY [emphasis added by Kramer], the last of all the studio albums," which seems to imply he is being coerced in some capacity by Janie Hendrix to arrange inferior albums like this in order to fulfill contractual obligations to Sony. Pretty clear he didn't want to publicize a collection like this as a studio album, because it's not. They are duplicating songs that were on the "new studio" album they released just a couple of years ago (Valleys of Neptune), including that album's second single (Bleeding Heart)! And inferior versions of these songs at that.

I was critical of their last release Valleys of Neptune, but still have it 3 stars out of 5 because it did contain some new music. However, this release is just shameful. This is a collection of nearly all alternate (and inferior) versions of songs that have already been released. There is so much duplication against their recent releases and songs that pale in contrast to their already released versions, that it's clear what's going on here: Experience Hendrix (Janie Hendrix) is doing everything they can to fulfill the 10 album deal they inked with Sony a few years back and it appears they are trying to slip by far inferior quality material and advertise it as "new studio recordings" to do so. That's right; they are now contractually obligated to release 10 albums of "new material." They have released Valleys of Neptune, Live In Cologne, the West Coast Seattle Boy box-set, the Winterland box-set, and now this release. That means they're only half way to fulfilling this 10 album deal, so this is probably only the beginning of a string of horrid releases like this.

Additionally, it's important to note that there is still some good music contained on this album, but it's not a studio album as advertised, not even close. This is a disjointed collection of demos, alternate takes, jam sessions & rehearsals, already released songs, instrumentals, and tracks that weren't even Hendrix songs, but rather tracks he guest appeared on only playing guitar - All inferior to their already released counterparts. If released as an "alternate versions" collection or as a disc in a rarities box set, this would be a real gem and Hendrix completists like me would be happy to purchase an accurately billed release, aside from the few tracks that have horrible timing issues due to amateurish "cut & paste" jobs on Jimi's vocals. However, the advertising of this being a "new studio album," is going to do nothing but alienate many would be Jimi fans when they hear the inferior quality of these recordings and think that's how Jimi's "studio" material sounds.

I'm being very generous in giving this album two stars despite of the inferior versions of already released songs included on People, Hell and Angels, and the amateurish (and off beat) pasting of Jimi's vocals into many of the songs.

The U.K. Edition Extras: The UK version of the album comes packaged with a magazine that's all about Jimi. The first 20% of the magazine attempts to legitimize this release, but still includes some interesting information. The rest of the magazine is filled with interviews from Jimi's friends and band-mates, includes new pictures, and discusses the recording of Are You Experienced?, Axis Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, and Band Of Gypsys. Also included are two 8X10 non-glossy photos. The actual CD case is the same size as the US digi-pak, but is actually a hard cover book with the same liner notes. While the packaging and extras are nice, I wish they would put as much effort into the selection and arrangement of Jimi's music as they do the marketing and packaging, because no amount of shiny packaging, or hype filled marketing is going to hide shoddy mixing or sub-par song selection.

A note on irony - The very first page of the magazine is an ad for Dagger Records, the label that releases authorized bootlegs if Jimi's music, which isn't studio quality or mainstream market worthy - The very label People, Hell and Angels should have been released on in the first place.
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on 9 March 2013
The cd packaging is nice, containing rare pictures, and the guitar playing itself is from the maestro. But; there is much to be troubled over here.
What is Experience Hendrix' strategy? There is a risk that newcomers to a release such as this, or Valleys of Neptune or South Saturn Delta will be underwhelmed by what they hear and dismiss Hendrix as overrated. There is a danger that the material released in his lifetime (plus First Rays) will be drowned in a torrent of inferior product.
This is the dilemma. Hendrix fans want unreleased material made available and packaged nicely. The packaging is usually excellent on these products, but the content isn't good enough to release as stand alone cds. Its demos, rehearsals and run-throughs.Its very incomplete work which would be better served by being placed in boxed collections. It could be organised chronologically. This would allow the material to be heard in context. It isn't good enough to release comparatively minor material in a scattershot fashion over increasingly inferior one cd releases. I cannot help but think that in the long run this will damage Hendrix' reputation.
The live release of Winterland also showed muddled thinking. Hendrix never considered releasing this in his lifetime because there is a lot of slipshod playing. If it had to come out, The kind of person who purchased the 4cd box set is likely to be a collector and would rather have all six shows complete.
If we all accept that Hendrix would have been upset with the release of much of this material, then it shouldn't be marketed as if this is weapons grade Hendrix when it clearly isn't. They should concentrate on material that was presented to the public, that is, concert recordings. There should be more thought given to releasing live shows. With Experience Hendrix clout, why isn't there effective negotiation relating to the release of concert footage. Where is all the material from the 1969 European Tour and two Albert Halls, Maui Hawai 1970, and more importantly Randalls Island 1970, footage of which is on You Tube.
My advice to anyone who wants to listen to Hendrix is; stick to the stuff he released in his lifetime. the rest is diminishing returns.
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If the treatment of the Jimi Hendrix's legacy by his own estate was marked out of 10 what would it receive? The mind boggling importance of Hendrix is a given. It becomes even more incredible when we realize that he only completed three full studio albums (1970's "Cry of Love" was a posthumous release) and yet 43 years after his tragic death his discography is ever expanding. This is partly due to his prolific nature but also a far old amount of "cashing in" has occurred not least on the Alan Douglas overdubbed albums like "Crash Landing", whilst the demos and curiosities of "South Saturn Delta" had the sound of the bottom being truly scraped.

"People, Hell and Angels," is billed as a collection of twelve previously unreleased studio performances by Hendrix. That is partly true although some of the songs have emerged in other versions since his death. The Hendrix estate is presenting this as the planned follow-up to the great guitarist's masterpiece 1968 album "Electric Ladyland". This frankly is completely overegging the pudding on display here and if you come to the album expecting some kind of "lost" full blown studio work then sore disappointment awaits. Let us state firmly that this is Jimi Hendrix and it is a good album but listening to this it instinctively feels to be little more than a possible template for Hendrix's next set of musical explorations. He clearly was moving in the direction of a more funky jazzy turn and on the evidence of the single "Somewhere" which has Stephen Stills on bass his guitar playing was getting better and better. Opener "Earth Blues" typifies these 1968-9 recordings mostly with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles and differs from the version on "Rainbow Bridge". It is a tight and sassy Hendrix song mercifully free of overdubs and the playing is incendiary. Equally the there are rock solid versions of well known Hendrix songs like "Izabella" and the often recorded heartfelt blues of "Hear my train comin" where the soloing is out of the top drawer. The song on the album that is drawing much attention is "Let me move you" Recorded at the Clinton Recording Studios the night of March 18, 1969, it as an example of Hendrix offering his genius to an old friend Lonnie Youngblood. The latter sings and blows a mean sax and the song unfolds like a Sly and Family Stone classic with Hendrix providing great background guitar chops. A couple of things do however show the preliminary nature of the recordings. "Inside out" for example is little more than a jam with echoes of "Purple Haze" and with Hendrix playing both guitar and bass. Equally "Mojo Man" sees Hendrix as a sideman playing to accompany a vocal for his planned album as the Ghettofighters with the Allen Twins. It is almost an Issac Hayes style piece of funk but hardly sparkles. Much better is the brilliant slow blues of "Hey Gypsy Boy" which is essentially a much pared down version of "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" from Rainbow Bridge, where the "less is more" approach taken by Hendrix works perfectly.

The album ends with Jimi's famous downer closer at Woodstock the beautiful "Villanova Junction Blues" which is somewhat curtailed here. Yet listening to it once again that image inhabits your mind of the great man dressed in a white Indian shirt welding a brilliant white Stratocaster (which this reviewer was lucky enough to see a few years back at the in the EMP museum in Seattle). Ultimately "People, Hell and Angels," is certainly no masterpiece but neither is it a travesty. It gives some clear and unmistakable clues where Hendrix was moving next and how we would have loved for him to complete that journey. Remember that 2013 would have seen his 70th birthday, listening again to greatest rock guitarist bar none through this material is both a source of great joy and aching sadness.

* This album can be listened to on stream over on the National Public Radio site for a limited time.
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on 26 March 2013
Although most of the songs on this are released before on several other albums(like some people mentioned), it's still Hendrix. So even if the material is well-known already, it's still better than most of the albums that are released nowadays.

If you are interested in having different versions of the songs (or if you're a completist) then you definately should buy this. If you are happy with the versions that appear on previous releases, don't bother buying this. If you are completely new to Jimi Hendrix, I don't recommend this one to start with. You should get Are You Experienced?, Axis Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland first.
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on 3 January 2014
I received this CD for Christmas and I am a big Jimi Hendrix fan so I took time to read the booklet that came with the CD with all the history of all the tracks including which take was used from the recordings made in the studio.
I have seen one review saying that these songs have been released on other Jimi Hendrix albums which is the case. However, this is not just a copy and paste job as the review implies as if you listen to the tracks on People, Hell and Angels and compare them to the remixed releases on those earlier albums they sound nothing like the tracks on People, Hell and Angels.

Being a musician and guitar player you can distinguish that the solos and playing on the People, Hell and Angels tracks is completely different to the remixed tracks released on those earlier albums and for one Hear My Train A Comin is played at a much slower tempo and has a more bluesy feel.

I would recommend this CD for anyone who likes Jimi Hendrix and wants to hear the differences from those earlier released tracks. Go buy it you won't be disappointed.
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on 6 March 2014
Janie Hendrix claims that Experience Hendrix has potentially about another 10 such albums to compile and release of the material Jimi left in the can at the time of his death before they finally reach the end. It is truly remarkable that we continue to hear excellent new Hendrix material more than 40 years after his untimely death. However, while there may be more versions of the excellent "Hear My Train A'Comin" and others still in the vaults there are most likely other further yet to be released versions of inferior material such as "Crash Landing" and no doubt there is the prospect of future releases of albums such as this mixing gems with relative filler.

I don't want to carp and the truth is I like this album and I am grateful for it. A lot of careful and thoughtful effort has clearly gone into making this a superior release. But is it time to put aside the studio compilations for a while and release more live material - a complete top sound quality Band of Gypsys for example (four concerts over two nights) rather than just studio tracks? Now that really would be a pleasure to listen to because those concerts contain, in my opinion, some of his best and most awesome (that really is the right word here) guitar work, virtually redefining what the instrument could do. In my view some of these performances (currently only available on poorer quality bootlegs) took Blues, R&B and what was to become Funk as well as rock guitar into places they had never been before and never have been since and probably never will be again.
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on 29 December 2013
This isn't really Jimi at his best, but the tracks are probably some of the last that he recorded and they do indicate the direction that he would probably have gone in.

As a guitar player myself I recognise a lot of familiar Hendrix licks and phrases in this album but also some new, almost modern jazz type of influences.

I'd say this is a must for serious Hendrix fans.
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on 5 April 2013
Billed as a example of Hendrix's more experimental & less rock orientated music, but apart from the "Let there be love" & "Mojo Man" which have a soul feel to them, & Hendrix not doing the vocals, this album is pretty similar to the previous 11 albums in this series.
Not to say it isn't utterly fascinating to listen too (it's always interesting to look under the bonnet of Hendrix's creative process), seeing how songs like "Izabella" & "Hear my train a comin" evolve & change.
You also have four tracks that are instrumental, which really magnifies the quality of the musicianship, from all players.
According to the Hendrix Family, this should be the last of this type of album, & I certainly hope it is, finishing on such a high mark.
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on 18 January 2016
What's not to love about Jimi Hendrix!
There's a lot of unfinished material in here, but that's something you already know if you're interested in buying this.
I just wanted the remastered version of Isabella. Great track.
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on 24 April 2013
Unbelieveable how they keep bringing out new Jimi Hendrix albums after all these years since his untimely death, and this album along with the last one, (Neptune) have got to be about the best - no duds here - superb album!
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