People, Hell And Angels review by Jimi Hendrix

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  • Released: Mar 5, 2013
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 6.6 (55 votes)
Jimi Hendrix: People, Hell And Angels
3

Sound — 8
There has been a wealth of unreleased material recorded by Jimi Hendrix that has been doled out by his family trust since his death, leaving more posthumous releases than albums released while Jimi was alive. While there are some people that feel like this is robbing Jimi Hendrix of his legacy, there are others like myself who are just happy to hear Jimi playing something new we haven't heard before. The claim is that this album was going to be a follow up to "Electric Ladyland". Jimi Hendrix began working on some songs in 1968 1969 at Record Plant Studios and a few from assorted other studios including Electric Lady Studios with the "Band Of Gypsys" lineup. These songs were mainly recorded with Jimi, Buddy Miles and Mitch Mitchell with a few other musicians guesting or helping out throughout. There are 12 tracks on the album with a total run-time of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 55 minutes. A few of the tracks have been released previously, but not in this exact form. Jimi Hendrix wrote all the songs on the album except for "Bleeding Heart" and "Mojo Man". "Bleeding Heart" was written by Elmore James and "Mojo Man" was written by Albert Allen and Arthur Allen. Eddie Kramer was involved in the production of the album, as well as Janie Hendrix and John McDermott. With the recording of "Electric Ladyland" Jimi Hendrix had really developed a type of perfectionism in his recording that is not present on "People, Hell And Angels". The album is immediately rawer, and there are some takes that I'm sure Jimi was not exactly happy with. That is the blunt truth about the album it occasionally feels like a demo or otherwise unfinished project. Then suddenly Jimi plays a lick that blows me away. There are a few times on these songs where the intros or going into the chorus it feels like a previous Hendrix release, and maybe why these songs didn't make it out while he was still alive but make no mistake, these songs stand up on their own. It comes down to this while this album might not be completely "finished", it is still Jimi Hendrix. There is a heavy feeling of funk and blues on the album much more than was in "Electric Ladyland" but still with moments of psychedelia, such as the wah riff of "Somewhere". The album opens with a track called "Earth Blues" that comes in as something between a funk and blues song with some fairly straightforward guitar work. The version of "Hear My Train A Comin" on the album is really just a slightly different take of a song we're all familiar with. The song "Bleeding Heart" is a great blues track that sounds like Jimi doing his impression of Albert King, to my ears. I'm not going to say something about every song on the album, but I can say as I went from track to track it felt more and more like a worthwhile album. While the playing is a little raw at times, it is absolutely amazing at others.

Lyrics — 7
Jimi wasn't the best vocalist ever but he was definitely good enough to get the job done and his voice fit his music. Jimi sings all the songs except for on the tracks "Let Me Move You" and "Mojo Man". The vocals on "Let Me Move You" were performed by Lonnie Youngblood, who also performed saxophone on the track. The vocals on "Mojo Man" were performed by Albert Allen. The vocals on the album are satisfactory, except I would really have preferred Jimi's vocals on the track "Mojo Man". Here are some lyrics from the opening track, "Earth Blues": "Well I see hands/ and I see tear stained faces/ reaching up but not quite touching the promised land/ well I taste tears and a precious year wasted/ sayin' lord please send us a helping hand/ love love love/ on a mountain stands a woman/ love love love/ hey I feel her shining light/ love love love/ love must be the answer/ love love love/ thank you lord and keep her alright/ I heard the thunder, freedom's beating heart/ sirens clashing with flat earth and rock and stone/ I think you better love me now darling/ this might be too late after while/ and tell our child to bury old daddy's broken clothes/ love love love/ Hey I see a beautiful woman/ lord lord lord/ yes and I feel her shining light on me/ love love love/ love must be the answer/ love love love/ and keep on right for me".

Overall Impression — 8
When I first started playing guitar, I would go over to my friend's house to listen to his older brother's band practice. Their lead guitarist was probably the very best guitarist in our local music scene and I would just sit rapt and watch him play and wonder how he made it sound so easy. That is how I've always felt listening to Jimi Hendrix as well, and I think that there are a lot of people who feel the same way. There are hundreds or thousands of guitarists who would name Jimi Hendrix as one of their main influences, a lot of times the reason they picked up the instrument in the first place. There is a reason for that Jimi Hendrix's whole approach to the instrument was unique. He was doing things over 40 years ago with a guitar that people are striving to emulate today. While Jimi clocked out early in what I'm sure would have continued to been an amazing career, all we have left are recordings even when they are recordings that I'm sure were at least partially recorded and mixed after his death. The opportunity to listen to something from Jimi Hendrix that I haven't heard before brightened my whole day when I got my hands on this album. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite song off the album, because even when the album sounds raw it is impressive. For me, I guess "Bleeding Heart", "Izabella", "Inside Out" and "Crash Landing" are my favorites. Something about "Crash Landing" was really catching my interest but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. While I don't believe that "People, Hell And Angels" stands up to Jimi's releases while he was alive, I still believe this is an awesome release. I feel like that if Hendrix had lived and conquered his drug addiction and alcoholism (or at least kept it in hand enough to have survived), then most of these songs would eventually have been released during his life. Overall, I would recommend this album to everyone it is absolutely worth it.

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28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mjones1992
    It's not bad. My only complaint is that some of the recordings were chopped (Hear My Train A Comin' and Gypsy Boy). I have every one of these tracks in bootleg format. Gypsy Boy is missing about 30 seconds of material, while that recording of Hear My Train is actually missing a whopping 3 minutes. Just before the final chord, there's supposed to be another whole section...
    madpaperboy89
    Good god how many tracks could he have recorded in his short lifetime? Sometimes I wonder if all these posthumous releases are actually even Hendrix anymore and not just a studio musician hired to sound alike....and if they are him he surely would be thoroughly disgusted with these greedy people packaging up half ass takes and random guitar noodlings and whoring it out as a studio album. I swear if they had a recording of him farting it would be on one of these albums. I mean how in the hell could they STILL be releasing "unheard" tracks decades after his death. They shouldve ran out of material after the first couple of posthumous albums. Seriously WTF? Please quit polluting and diminishing his legacy!
    Carl Hungus
    Nice review. Now I just want a live blu ray release of Jimi in concert other than Woodstock or Monterey. Even the Isle of Wight sucked because the cameraman only focuses on Jimi's face and not his playing.
    crazysam23_Atax
    I don't know if you're going to find that. Woodstock, Monterey, and Isle of Wight are the iconic concerts that most people think of.
    katalyzt13
    According to Eddie Kramer he is working on live concerts of Hendrix now - supposedly one disc's worth is already done, but they don't have a release date yet. Not sure if it is going to release on Blu Ray or not, though.
    el tigre
    Why can't I be good enough to release an album with two unheard recorded songs and get good reviews...
    Acacia69
    I really like "Earth Blues" with the alternate lyrics, and "Somewhere" is a good track, but the rest of the album I wasn't really impressed by. And I think alot of it Jimi would never release.
    Leyva41
    i am diggin Hear My Train A Comin'! hes got an attitude on that song! i wish i was there to hear the recording live!
    Gerard Way Jr
    Fine collection; the review could use a touch-up. The huge block of lyrics is pretty unnecessary. The personal commentary is also pretty lame.
    FriggenCarl
    How would you compare it to Valley of Neptune? I liked the alternate recordings of songs on there as well as the Cream cover.
    Clarkinator
    I prefer Neptune due to the Sunshine Of Your Love cover, and the version of Fire on there is better than the one on Are You Experienced (in my opinion)
    shirley nebosh
    is Brandon East on the experience Hendrix payroll??? this is NOT an album for everyone. this is an album for the completist like myself and many others out there, there isn't a track on here i've not heard before. i like it, but then i would, i too think that that the reviewer should keep his derogatory thoughts to himself. stay free
    katalyzt13
    Well, since the review was posted the album has hit the charts and doing pretty well for itself, especially considering it is a posthumous release decades after the death of the primary artist/musician.
    Jazz-
    I like it. it's not as great as the classics that made us the Hendrix fans we are today, but still, it has the value of being genuine and not produced with an fear of being out of touch. Like many muscians today: Bowie, Bon Jovi etc. They produce this happy go lucky crap that is kinda the opposite of what made us listen to them in the first place. Thank god or Sadly Jimi will never have this problem since he's one of the founding members of club 27. Anyway It's well worth a listen if you are a Rock fan that has always enjoyed Hendrix.
    ocguitarplayer
    The reason you never heard this stuff before is that Jimmy never would have released it ! Not everything he recorded was up to HIS standard and they are just scraping the bottom of the well for one thing, MONEY. Sorry Jimmy