The fact that the people controlling the Jimi Hendrix estate are still able to find quality unreleased Hendrix recordings is a testament to just how prolific the man was. He needlessly died too young, but still managed to bang out an impressive body of work. People, Hell and Angels is the latest installment in the series of “new” archival releases from Experience Hendrix LLC. It is worth a listen, especially if you are a diehard fan. Is it the greatest Hendrix album? Of course not and not every track is a killer, but there is still a good amount of tasty guitar playing to be appreciated.
A bulk of the material comes from experimental sessions and jams with different friends and musicians following the demise of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix was looking for his new sound and finding new bursts of inspiration. The opener, “Earth Blues”, is a more barebones version from the one that appears on First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Although, this newly released take definitely has its own distinctive charm, because of its rawness. Also of note is “Somewhere” which features Stephen Stills on bass. It has a sexy slow bluesy groove to it. “Let Me Move You” features saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood on lead vocals while Hendrix stabs away on guitar. The resulting recording is a blast, but sounds more like a Wilson Pickett tune instead of classic Hendrix. The version of “Izabella” included here has an impressive guitar solo, but the band sounds rather loose. “Easy Blues” is nothing to write home about either. Songs like “Crash Landing” and “Inside Out” would later develop into “Freedom” and “Ezy Ryder” respectively. However, the versions on People, Hell and Angels have a lot of fire and provide interesting insights into Hendrix’s songwriting development. All in all, People, Hell and Angels has some great moments which far outnumber the mediocre ones. It is a reminder of just how talented Hendrix was, even if he was just jamming with his friends.
Essential tracks: “Earth Blues”, “Somewhere” & “Crash Landing”