People, Hell & Angels [VINYL]
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People, Hell & Angels is an album of twelve previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix studio recordings. The album showcases the legendary guitarist working outside of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio. Beginning in 1968, Jimi Hendrix grew restless, eager to develop new material with old friends and new ensembles. Outside the view of a massive audience that had established the Experience as rock’s largest grossing concert act and simultaneously placed two of his albums together in the US Top 10 sales chart, Jimi was busy working behind the scenes to craft his next musical statement.
The battle for the soul and spirit of Jimi Hendrix continues undiminished.
The problem with Jimi is that he never stopped making music – he left behind an estimated 1,500 hours of material when he died in September 1970.
The irony is, of course, that Hendrix died so young – he didn't even make it to 30 – that his legacy was built upon just four albums that he released in his lifetime.
This is the 12th official studio set released since Hendrix’s death. The last, 2010’s Valleys of Neptune, proved his appeal hadn’t waned: it charted top 30 in the UK, and reached number four on the Billboard 200 stateside.
The very nature of Hendrix's approach to recording was due in large part to the fact that, having his own studio, he was not at the mercy of a record label. This freedom produced his amazing archive.
Inevitably, much of the material that has subsequently surfaced is made up of studio jams – but when you are dealing with a guitarist of such stature, even jams can be a revelation.
Hendrix's music was rooted in the blues, as demonstrated here by Hear My Train a Coming' and Bleeding Heart. On Somewhere, a previously unreleased cut from 1968 with long-time Jimi fan Stephen Stills on bass, the sheer fluency of Hendrix's playing is breathtaking.
A jam with saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood is also enjoyable, and equally welcome is the inclusion of original versions of songs that are more familiar in posthumous versions with overdubs and editing.
While the debate still rages about where his muse might have taken him next, few would question Hendrix's place in the pantheon of rock greats – after all, Miles Davis didn't offer to play with just anyone.
No one knows for certain, but this latest collection offers a tantalising glimpse of how Hendrix's genius might have progressed.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read more