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TBTS Music Review: Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell and Angels

March 15, 2013

Jimi Hendrix would have turned seventy last November, had he stuck around. One can only imagine what his extended body of work would have included if he’d lived even another ten years. The artistic process has always fascinated and intrigued me. I love to see the first sketches on a cocktail napkin or scrap of stationary that later would become a beautiful painting or glorious composition. Each piece of the puzzle can reveal something the others lack.  It’s kind of stunning that new Hendrix recordings are still popping up more than 40 years after his passing, but you’ll get no complaints from me. In fact, the latest entry in the lost recording category People, Hell and Angels (Experience Hendrix) debuted at number two, so it would seem I am not alone in my interest. What many do not realize is that Jimi was only on the scene for four years. Four years, that’s all. But what a ride it was.

People, Hell and Angels has some really cool goodies, as Jimi was branching out to record with other people outside The Experience. This collection expands the Hendrix legacy and further teases the listener with what might have been. Some true Hendrix classics appear here in their primordial form; “Izabella,” “Hey Gypsy Boy” (eventually manifesting as “Hey Baby/New Rising Sun”), “Inside Out” (later to become “Ezy Rider”) and “Hear My Train A Comin'” in particular. Billy Cox and Buddy Miles (with whom Hendrix formed Band of Gypsys) feature prominently, with one or both appearing on nearly every track. Steven Stills, Mitch Mitchell, Albert Allen and James Booker also made contributions.

Another great thing about this particular disc is that it’s not overproduced. Something fully guaranteed to kill the vibe of any raw studio session, especially the likes of what is presented here. P, H & A captured Jimi on tape with so many irons in the fire. As an artist he was relentless, always trying something new, always pushing himself to the brink. Retaining an authentic feel was not optional, so having it engineered, mixed and co-produced by the legendary Eddie Kramer should make true Hendrix fans happy and assure them of getting what they want. I know I did, so fly your freak flag and go get it.

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