Album Review: Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell and Angels on Sony Legacy Recordings
Review by Joseph Timmons- Xombiewoof Magazine
It is a standard in Rock Music, to know the work of one of the greatest musicians in Rock History, one who was legendary in his own lifetime, as well as every moment since he first walked out on stage. The legacy of Jimi Hendrix has never been forgotten nor will it ever be, but it has been our fortune that there are conservators of this recorded genius whom have found previously un-released studio and live performances of Jimi Hendrix and his entourage of lore, and have with the permission of his estate, are making these masterpieces of music available to us to listen to, enjoy and celebrate his life.
In the years between 1968 and his death in 1970, Jimi Hendrix embarked upon new experimentations in music, with his signature sound and his entire view on the creative processes that for him were as natural as breathing.
Jimi Hendrix set into the studio with the best known musicians of the day, all masters of their craft – Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, Stephen Stills, Jimmy Mayes, Hank Anderson, John Winfield, Larry Lee, Jerry Velez, Juma Sultan, Al Marks, Chris Grimes, James Booker, Lonnie Youngblood, Mitch Mitchell, Rocky Isaac and both Albert and Arthur Allen at sessions that would create masterpieces that are now, for the first time, on one album in their entirety.
Jimi Hendrix desired to develop new material and new departures in music with old friends and new ensembles and would create mini-super groups to record with. Working diligently to craft his next musical statement with others that saw his vision, these recordings encompass a variety of unique sounds and styles incorporating many musical elements − horns, keyboards, percussion and a second guitarist. People, Hell and Angels presents some of his finest creative work ever issued and provides a compelling window into his growth as a songwriter, musician and producer.
Jimi Hendrix personally oversaw the mastering process of the original recordings, working in new rhythms and progressions, the limitless creative talents of these musicians have recorded 12 truly unique songs that are deep in Rhythm & Blues, Soulful Expression and awe inspiring tones that enchant and hypnotize the listener, transporting them back in time to the heyday of the Modern Rock Movement that was the center of Jimi Hendrix’s life. This collection of studio tracks showcases the legendary guitarist working outside of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio.
Looking at his career with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, one would already know his music is fueled by emotion and energy, a truly honed skill that retained the rawness that was often mistaken for improvisation, an intoxication duality of harmonies and a mystifying allure of what was to next come from his restless soul. People, Hell and Angels is the answer, a collection of works that would be a new and ever enduring tribute to one who consistently broke his own achievements with every touch of a string.
At this point, I would normally start rattling off track titles, or say why I find them good or suggest that one was better than the rest. I find myself at a loss to do this with People, Hell and Angels, this album is not “one song after the other” but a winding road into the spirit of music the Jimi Hendrix and his fellow musicians, these spiritual travelers would weave into a web of star-stuff, that ensnares the listener, from funky, jazzy rhythms, to instrumental passages and heart breaking blues, this album is one long song with no one track being more or less significant than the rest.
Here is the Track Listing and some footnote facts I gathered at The Jimi Hendrix Website jimihendrix.com – People, Hell & Angels, – Track by Track Annotation:
Totally unlike the version first issued as part of Rainbow Bridge in 1971, this December 19, 1969 master take features just Hendrix, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles–stripped down funk at its very origin.
This newly discovered gem was recorded in March 1968 and features Buddy Miles on drums and Stephen Stills on bass. Entirely different from any previous version fans have ever heard.
Hear My Train A Comin’:
This superb recording was drawn from Jimi’s first ever recording session with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles–the powerhouse rhythm section with whom he would later record the groundbreaking album Band of Gypsys.
Jimi shared a deep love for the blues with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Both musicians understood Jimi’s desire to create what he described as a ‘new type of blues’. Jimi’s menacing lead guitar is the centerpiece of this dramatic addition to his remarkable legacy.
This Elmore James masterwork had long been a favorite of Jimi’s. He had performed the song earlier that year with the Experience in concert at the Royal Albert Hall and had attempted to capture the song in New York studio sessions during the weeks that followed.
Recorded at the same May 1969 session as “Hear My Train a Coming,” the track conveys Jimi’s firm understanding of the arrangement and tempo he desired. Before they began, Jimi instructed Cox and Miles that he wanted to establish a totally different beat than the standard arrangement. He then kicked off this amazing rendition that was nothing like any other he had ever attempted.
Let Me Move You:
In March 1969, Jimi reached back to another old friend, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood. Before he was discovered by Chas Chandler in the summer of 1966, Jimi had contributed guitar as a nondescript studio sideman for Youngblood and such infectious rhythm and blues styled singles such as “Soul Food“.
This March 1969 session features Hendrix and Youngblood trading licks throughout this never before heard high velocity rock and soul classic.
In the aftermath of the Woodstock festival, Jimi gathered his new ensemble, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, at the Hit Factory in August 1969 with engineer Eddie Kramer. “Izabella” had been one of the new songs the guitarist introduced at the Woodstock festival and Jimi was eager to perfect a studio version. This new version is markedly different from the Band of Gypsys 45 rpm single master issued by Reprise Records in 1970 and features Larry Lee, Jimi’s old friend from the famed rhythm & blues ‘chitin’ circuit’, on rhythm guitar.
An edited extract of this gorgeous, free flowing instrumental was briefly issued as part of the long-out-of-print 1981 album Nine to the Universe. Now nearly twice as long, the track offers fans the opportunity to enjoy the dramatic interplay between Jimi, second guitarist Larry Lee, Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Perhaps known as the title song for the controversial 1975 album that featured Hendrix master recordings posthumously overdubbed by session musicians, this April 1969 original recording has never been heard before. Jimi is joined here by Billy Cox and drummer Rocky Isaac of the Cherry People to record this thinly veiled warning to his girlfriend Devon Wilson.
Jimi was fascinated by the rhythm pattern that would ultimately take form as “Ezy Ryder“. Joined here by Mitch Mitchell, Jimi recorded all of the bass and guitar parts for this fascinating song–including a dramatic lead guitar part amplified through a Leslie organ speaker.
Hey Gypsy Boy:
The roots of Jimi’s majestic “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” trace themselves to this March 1969 recording. Unlike the posthumously overdubbed version briefly issued as part of Midnight Lightning in 1975, this is original recording that features Jimi joined by Buddy Miles.
Jimi would lend a hand to Albert & Arthur Allen, the vocalists known as the Ghetto Fighters, whom he had befriended in Harlem long before he achieved fame with the Experience. When the two recorded this inspired, previously unreleased master at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama they took it back to Hendrix at Electric Lady Studios. Jimi knew just what to do to elevate the recording beyond contemporary R & B to the new hybrid of rock, rhythm and blues he was celebrated for.
Villanova Junction Blues:
Long before his famous performance of this song at Woodstock, Jimi recorded this studio version with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles at the same May 1969 session which yielded “Hear My Train a Comin’” and “Bleeding Heart” also featured on this album. Never fully finished, the song stands as an example of the fertile ideas he hoped to harness and brings to fruition.
I will leave unto you the titles of these wonders for you to “Experience”, get this album and look into the heart of the storm that was the musical mind of Jimi Hendrix. The Album comes with linear notes and history of each recording session, assisting in putting you into the recording studio and feeling every note as it is played.
I am taking for granted that you will want this album, so I have included a link to the Jimi Hendrix.com Web Page for People, Hell and Angels, don’t miss an opportunity give witness to an unseen chapter in the life of Jimi Hendrix, a man who’s life ended too soon, a musician whom many saw as the embodiment of a generation that struggled to live, love and be at peace with itself but foremost, in People, Hell and Angels, a soul who still walks the earth, bringing his music to the masses. This landmark presentation is available on both CD and Archival Grade Vinyl. Pre-Order Today through the Jimi Hendrix Website.
Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell and Angels on Sony Legacy Recordings
JIMI HENDRIX EXHIBIT AT THE FENDER VISITOR CENTER
Jimi Hendrix release, People, Hell and Angels, and memorabilia exhibit to debut at Corona, California Fender Facility
In celebration of the partnership between Fender and Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the Fender Visitor Center will be exhibiting authentic Jimi Hendrix memorabilia along with the intimate in-studio photography of Jimi’s legendary producer, Eddie Kramer for a limited engagement. The exhibit coincides with the new Legacy Recordings release of Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels, a collection of re-mastered and previously unreleased studio recordings. Starting March 6th, 2013 The Jimi Hendrix exhibit represents the Fender Visitor Center’s first artist exhibit and will run through May 31, 2013.
The 8,600-square-foot Fender Visitor Center, located near Fender’s historic Southern California birthplace, features interactive displays of modern Fender musical products, historic instruments, rare photographs and artifacts, a tribute to Leo Fender, video presentations on the evolution of the electric guitar (including rare archival footage), displays presenting reflections on Fender by musicians throughout the history of modern music, and much more.
Jimi Hendrix’s People, Hell and Angels album will be available for sale during the exhibit, as well as Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Lyric Book compiled by Janie L. Hendrix and Jimi Hendrix An Illustrated Experience, an interactive book/CD by Janie L. Hendrix and John McDermott and Robert Knight’s Jimi Hendrix photography.
More News on this event to be published soon.
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