Legacy Recordings and Experience Hendrix, Inc. have released in the new Jimi Hendrix album, People, Hell & Angels what is one of the best albums of 2013. This latest release from the vaults represents Hendrix in a never before heard manner. Audiences will best understand and appreciate this record by listening to its twelve total tracks for themselves. Whether one is a devotee of Hendrix’s work or not, most people know songs such as ‘Hey Joe’, ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and his take on Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower.’ But few people have heard Hendrix as they will on this new release; even the most devoted of fans.
People, Hell & Angels represents Hendrix at a pivotal point in his career. Having made music with The Jimi Hendrix Experience for so long, Hendrix wanted to do something outside of his comfort zone. And this compilation of songs is the result. The album opens with a nice up-tempo piece in ‘Earth Blues.’ The fuzz effect that Hendrix uses in his guitar with this song is true retro. And his vocals are just as strong. One can easily close one’s eyes and see people dancing to this, bodies moving in time throughout its near four-minute run time. What’s really interesting about this song is its stripped down sound. Compared the music that Hendrix had previously written in his career, this is quite a different sound. It’s more of a funk style work. And lyrically, one can only be led to believe that Hendrix was writing about a woman here. And even as old as it is, it sounds like something that could have been included in the repertoire of so many of today’s garage rock bands. Yet again, it’s proof of how far ahead of his time Hendrix was.
Just as impressive as the album’s opener is the take on this record of his song, ‘Hear My Train a Comin’.’ This song is without a doubt one of the highlights of this new album. It exhibits not just Jimi’s talents as a guitarist but as a musician. This song is pure blues at its best. His musicianship here is equivalent to that of fellow blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan if not greater. And while the song clocks in at less than six minutes, the guitar breaks throughout the song give Hendrix the opportunity to really shine along with his band mates Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, with whom he would later go on to record the landmark album, Band of Gypsys. Noting that, it’s just one hint of the greatness that was to come.
Hendrix fans will appreciate the original take of ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ as it’s without a doubt one of the true highpoints of this album. Though, it isn’t the album’s only high point. As already noted, People, Hell & Angels shows Hendrix in a way never heard before. And nowhere is this more evident than in the absolutely funky ‘Let Me Move You.’ Presented in this song is Hendrix playing alongside a saxophonist by the name of Lonnie Youngblood. The relationship between Hendrix and Youngblood went way back, even before Jimi had been discovered by Chas Chandler in March 1969. Jimi’s guitar styling here, Youngblood’s musicianship, and the vocals (supposedly by Youngblood, too) combine for a work that will leave any listener breathless and sweaty from dancing to its infectious grooves. If ‘Hear my Train A Comin’’ is a high point to this new release, then ‘Let me Move You’ is the definitive high point of this LP.
‘Let Me Move You’ is the high point of People, Hell & Angels. But even after its near seven-minute run ends, the enjoyment doesn’t end. The second half of this album offers its own share of enjoyment. A prime example of that is the instrumental ‘Easy Blues.’ This hard to find song was originally recorded for the long out of print 1981 album, Nine to the Universe. After the raw energy of ‘Let me Move You’ and ‘Izabella’, this song makes for a great way for listeners to catch their breath while still enjoying some outstanding improve musicianship not only on the part of Jimi, but fellow band mates at the time, Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell and then second guitarist Larry Lee. It’s just one more example of the greatness of this music legend and his band mates throughout his career. Of course it isn’t the end of things, either. The album still offers no less than five more tracks for listeners to enjoy and select from as their favorite on an album that is one of the year’s best. People, Hell & Angels will be available in stores and online Tuesday, March 5th. Audiences will be able to order it online via Legacy Recordings’ online store at http://www.legacyrecordings.com/a/#/home/.
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