Jimi Hendrix: People, Hell & Angels

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Posted April 1, 2013 by in Rock
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

Details

Genre:
 
Producer: , ,
 
Label:
 
 
 
 
Genre: Rock
 
Producer: John McDermott, Jimi Hendrix, Janie Hendrix
 
Label: Legacy
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
 
Time: 52:42
 
Release Date: 5 March 2013
 
Spin This: "Earth Blues," "Let Me Move You," "Bleeding Heart," "Mojo Man"
 

Pros:

Great production and intelligent assembly of songs; Hendrix breaking new ground past the Experience era
 

Cons:

Some of the tracks have been heard in the form of other outtakes
 

Posthumous adventure surprises even the hardcore of Hendrix collectors

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Posthumous adventure surprises even the hardcore of Hendrix collectors

Before you start to cringe over the fact that People, Hell & Angels is another one of those posthumous albums made up of lost tracks, mark my words carefully: This is good. Hendrix on a bad day is still a very good day, and this album ultimately proves that. Culled mostly from recorded sessions hoping to become the follow-up for Electric Ladyland, this set brilliantly showcases the superpowers of the legendary rock god, even as he’s just assembling the Band of Gypsys after dumbing The Experience. Amazingly, the production here – assembled by Hendrix, co-producer  and engineer Eddie Kramer – is the album’s soft spot. It sounds like it’s been persevered properly and hardly shows its age.

Obviously, the better tracks are thrust towards the front of the disc. “Earth Blues,” the first track, kicks out a Summer of Love jam, while showcasing a catchy “love love love” sing-a-long. Hendrix then cranks out more of his iconic guitar solos on the seven-minute display of “Let Me Move You,” which gives him a chance to work a song with James Brown gusto using outrageous wails and Stax ad-libbing. Lonnie Youngblood’s sax then transforms it into something the Blues Brothers would’ve envisioned for the perfect finale’. “Somewhere” is seriously blues-drenched, so is Hendrix’s invocation of Elmore James’s “Bleeding Heart,” which showcases a deep bass that feels Roots-like. He’s tried the tune out in various forms, one as a 12-bar slow version and one on 2010’s Valleys of Neptune. The 2013 version is like the baby boy bear’s bed on Goldilocks; it’s not too hard, not too soft, it’s just right.

Certainly as the album reaches mid-point, the disc starts to wallow longer in a cave of lofty self-indulgence. “Inside Out” and “Izabella” are the heaviest of those explorations. But even on an instrumental jam like “Easy Blues” – with its “Killer Joe” jazzy elements, Hendrix is kicking out foundational templates for the Led Zeppelins and Santanas to come. By the time the album nears its close with the solemn melancholic ballad, “Hey Gypsy Boy” and the energetic “Mojo Man,” where the latter puts the electric rocker inside Alabama’s FAME Studios alongside R&B-ready horns, you’re left wondering what any untapped power from the well of Hendrix greatness would have done to the face of rock after 1972. Posthumous albums, especially with this kind of age, hardly sound this great. Actually you could lay it alongside the 2012 albums from Gary Clark, Jr. and Jack White without a problem.

 



About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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