12 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Under the supervision of Jimi Hendrix's sister Janie Hendrix and his producer/engineer Eddie Kramer, 2013's People, Hell and Angels collects 1968 and 1969 recordings that showcase what Hendrix was doing post–Electric Ladyland. Most of the recordings here haven't surfaced in these forms on bootlegs, and the quality is consistently high. "Hear My Train A-Comin'" and Elmore James' "Bleeding Heart" have previously been available, but never in this naked presentation from the first studio session with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles (who formed Hendrix's Band of Gypsies). Hendrix had Stephen Still overdub the bass for "Somewhere" at a time when original bassist Noel Redding was on the outs. Saxophonist and singer Lonnie Youngblood leads the furious funk of "Let Me Move You." The instrumental "Inside Out," with original Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell on drums, feels like a variation on "Purple Haze" and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." "Easy Blues" adds rhythm guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan to the Hendrix/Cox/Mitchell trio. 

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Under the supervision of Jimi Hendrix's sister Janie Hendrix and his producer/engineer Eddie Kramer, 2013's People, Hell and Angels collects 1968 and 1969 recordings that showcase what Hendrix was doing post–Electric Ladyland. Most of the recordings here haven't surfaced in these forms on bootlegs, and the quality is consistently high. "Hear My Train A-Comin'" and Elmore James' "Bleeding Heart" have previously been available, but never in this naked presentation from the first studio session with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles (who formed Hendrix's Band of Gypsies). Hendrix had Stephen Still overdub the bass for "Somewhere" at a time when original bassist Noel Redding was on the outs. Saxophonist and singer Lonnie Youngblood leads the furious funk of "Let Me Move You." The instrumental "Inside Out," with original Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell on drums, feels like a variation on "Purple Haze" and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." "Easy Blues" adds rhythm guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan to the Hendrix/Cox/Mitchell trio. 

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TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
849 Ratings
849 Ratings
pjp7228 ,

Really!!!!???

Better then 99% of what is put out today by so called "bands"

juggsjudy ,

HENDRIX!!!!!!!

Jimi is the man without a doubt. The funny thing is when people comment & have no idea what they're talking about. The music has already been released, it's really not "new". What's new is the package in which it is released. Like the song "Somewhere" was already released back in the 70's from a posthumous album called "Crash Landing" released by Reprise records. The only real difference is you may get the unedited versions of certain songs (hopefully) on the new release. I only hope that the other songs on this album are different versions and not being rereleased on a newer album. I also love the fact that Jimi's original engineer remasters his music for the Experience Hendrix label. Who better than the man himself Eddie Kramer!

mccflo99 ,

Inferior Versions Of Already Released Songs - Amatuer Copy & Paste Work - For Completists Only.

This is a very disappointing release that is FAR from “12 new studio recordings” as being advertised by Experience Hendrix. Almost all of these songs have been released in far superior versions on readily available retail releases. They have duplicated multiple songs from the Valleys Of Neptune album they put out just a couple of years ago also, including the second single from that album!

To Casual Fans – Avoid this release completely. If you are a casual fan of Jimi Hendrix, this release is going to be sorely disappointing to you as almost all of theses songs have been released in superior versions on other retail releases. Additionally, this collection is not a fair representation as to the quality of Jimi’s studio material. Go with Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, or First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.

To Completists – Obviously a must-have, but be prepared to be disappointed in order to add this “new studio album,” to your collections when hearing some of the amateur cut and paste jobs on Jimi’s vocals, leaving them off beat in some songs (Somewhere, Crash Landing, etc.). Experience Hendrix created a sub-label called Dagger Records many years ago, which they use to release albums of alternate versions of songs, demos, and songs that didn’t have a place on mainstream studio albums. People, Hell and Angels belongs on that label as a release for Jimi Hendrix completists only.

This is a pretty low cash-grab on the part of Experience Hendrix. In fact, Eddie Kramer, head producer on the project was interviewed on video by Harmony Central after mixing this album down and said “this is the, HOPEFULLY [emphasis added by Kramer], the last of all the studio albums,” which seems to imply he is being coerced in some capacity by Janie Hendrix to arrange inferior albums like this in order to fulfill contractual obligations to Sony. Pretty clear he didn’t want to publicize a collection like this as a studio album, because it’s not. They are duplicating songs that were on the “new studio” album they released just a couple of years ago (Valleys of Neptune), including that album's second single (Bleeding Heart)! And inferior versions of these songs at that.

I was critical of their last release Valleys of Neptune, but still have it 3 stars out of 5 because it did contain some new music. However, this release is just shameful. This is a collection of nearly all alternate (and inferior) versions of songs that have already been released. There is so much duplication against their recent releases and songs that pale in contrast to their already released versions, that it’s clear what’s going on here: Experience Hendrix (Janie Hendrix) is doing everything they can to fulfill the 10 album deal they inked with Sony a few years back and it appears they are trying to slip by far inferior quality material and advertise it as “new studio recordings” to do so. That’s right; they are now contractually obligated to release 10 albums of “new material.” They have released Valleys of Neptune, Live In Cologne, the West Coast Seattle Boy box-set, the Winterland box-set, and now this release. That means they’re only half way to fulfilling this 10 album deal, so this is probably only the beginning of a string of horrid releases like this.

Additionally, it’s important to note that there is still some good music contained on this album, but it’s not a studio album as advertised, not even close. This is a disjointed collection of demos, alternate takes, jam sessions & rehearsals, already released songs, instrumentals, and tracks that weren’t even Hendrix songs, but rather tracks he guest appeared on only playing guitar – All inferior to their already released counterparts. If released as an “alternate versions” collection or as a disc in a rarities box set, this would be a real gem and Hendrix completists like me would be happy to purchase an accurately billed release, aside from the few tracks that have horrible timing issues due to amateurish “cut & paste” jobs on Jimi’s vocals. However, the advertising of this being a “new studio album,” is going to do nothing but alienate many would be Jimi fans when they hear the inferior quality of these recordings and think that’s how Jimi’s “studio” material sounds.

I’m being very generous in giving this album two stars despite of the inferior versions of already released songs included on People, Hell and Angels, and the amateurish (and off beat) pasting of Jimi’s vocals into many of the songs.

About Jimi Hendrix

In his brief four-year reign as a superstar, Jimi Hendrix expanded the vocabulary of the electric rock guitar more than anyone before or since. Hendrix was a master at coaxing all manner of unforeseen sonics from his instrument, often with innovative amplification experiments that produced astral-quality feedback and roaring distortion. His frequent hurricane blasts of noise and dazzling showmanship -- he could and would play behind his back and with his teeth and set his guitar on fire -- has sometimes obscured his considerable gifts as a songwriter, singer, and master of a gamut of blues, R&B, and rock styles.

When Hendrix became an international superstar in 1967, it seemed as if he'd dropped out of a Martian spaceship, but in fact he'd served his apprenticeship the long, mundane way in numerous R&B acts on the chitlin circuit. During the early and mid-'60s, he worked with such R&B/soul greats as Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, and King Curtis as a backup guitarist. Occasionally, he recorded as a sessionman (the Isley Brothers' 1964 single "Testify" is the only one of these early tracks that offers even a glimpse of his future genius). But the stars didn't appreciate his show-stealing showmanship, and Hendrix was straitjacketed by sideman roles that didn't allow him to develop as a soloist. The logical step was for Hendrix to go out on his own, which he did in New York in the mid-'60s, playing with various musicians in local clubs, and joining white blues-rock singer John Hammond, Jr.'s band for a while.

It was in a New York club that Hendrix was spotted by Animals bassist Chas Chandler. The first lineup of the Animals was about to split, and Chandler, looking to move into management, convinced Hendrix to move to London and record as a solo act in England. There a group was built around Jimi, also featuring Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass, that was dubbed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The trio became stars with astonishing speed in the U.K., where "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," and "The Wind Cries Mary" all made the Top Ten in the first half of 1967. These tracks were also featured on their debut album, Are You Experienced, a psychedelic masterwork that became a huge hit in the U.S. after Hendrix created a sensation at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967.

Are You Experienced was an astonishing debut, particularly from a young R&B veteran who had rarely sung, and apparently never written his own material before the Experience formed. What caught most people's attention at first was his virtuosic guitar playing, which employed an arsenal of devices, including wah-wah pedals, buzzing feedback solos, crunching, distorted riffs, and lightning, liquid runs up and down the scales. But Hendrix was also a first-rate songwriter, melding cosmic imagery with some surprisingly pop-savvy hooks and tender sentiments. He was also an excellent blues interpreter and a passionate, engaging singer (although his gruff, throaty vocal pipes were not nearly as great an asset as his instrumental skills). Are You Experienced was psychedelia at its most eclectic, synthesizing mod pop, soul, R&B, Dylan, and the electric guitar innovations of British pioneers like Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and Eric Clapton.

Amazingly, Hendrix would only record three fully conceived studio albums in his lifetime. Axis: Bold as Love and the double-LP Electric Ladyland were more diffuse and experimental than Are You Experienced. On Electric Ladyland in particular, Hendrix pioneered the use of the studio itself as a recording instrument, manipulating electronics and devising overdub techniques (with the help of engineer Eddie Kramer in particular) to plot uncharted sonic territory. Not that these albums were perfect, as impressive as they were; the instrumental breaks could meander, and Hendrix's songwriting was occasionally half-baked, never matching the consistency of Are You Experienced (although he exercised greater creative control over the later albums).

The final two years of Hendrix's life were turbulent ones musically, financially, and personally. He was embroiled in enough complicated management and record company disputes (some dating from ill-advised contracts he'd signed before the Experience formed) to keep the lawyers busy for years. He disbanded the Experience in 1969, forming Band of Gypsies with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox to pursue funkier directions. He closed Woodstock with a sprawling, shaky set, redeemed by his famous machine-gun interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner." The rhythm section of Mitchell and Redding were underrated keys to Jimi's best work, and Band of Gypsies ultimately couldn't measure up to the same standard, although Hendrix did record an erratic live album with them. In early 1970, the Experience re-formed and disbanded again shortly afterward. At the same time, Hendrix felt torn in many directions by various fellow musicians, record company expectations, and management, all of whom had their own ideas of what Hendrix should be doing. Almost two years since Electric Ladyland, a new studio album had yet to appear, although Hendrix was recording constantly during the period.

While outside parties did contribute to bogging down Hendrix's studio work, it also seems likely that Hendrix himself was partly responsible for the stalemate, unable to form a permanent lineup of musicians, unable to decide what musical direction to pursue, unable to bring himself to complete another album despite endless jamming. A few months into 1970, Mitchell -- Hendrix's most valuable musical collaborator -- came back into the fold, replacing Miles in the drum chair, although Cox stayed in place. It was this trio that toured the world during Hendrix's final months.

It's extremely difficult to separate the facts of Hendrix's life from rumors and speculation. Everyone who knew him well, or claimed to know him well, has different versions of his state of mind in 1970. Critics have variously mused that he was going to go into jazz, that he was going to get deeper into the blues, that he was going to continue doing what he was doing, or that he was too confused to know what he was doing at all. The same confusion holds true for his death: Contradictory versions of his final days have been given by his closest acquaintances of the time. He'd been working intermittently on a new album, tentatively titled First Ray of the New Rising Sun, when he died in London on September 18, 1970, from a drug-related overdose.

Hendrix recorded a massive amount of unreleased studio material during his lifetime. Much of this (as well as entire live concerts) was issued posthumously; several of the live concerts were excellent, but the studio tapes have been the focus of enormous controversy for over 20 years. These initially came out in haphazard drabs and drubs (the first, The Cry of Love, was easily the most outstanding of the lot). In the mid-'70s, producer Alan Douglas took control of these projects, overdubbing many of Hendrix's tapes with additional parts by studio musicians. In the eyes of many Hendrix fans, this was sacrilege, destroying the integrity of the work of a musician known to exercise meticulous care over the final production of his studio recordings. Even as late as 1995, Douglas was having ex-Knack drummer Bruce Gary record new parts for the typically misbegotten compilation Voodoo Soup. After a lengthy legal dispute, the rights to Hendrix's estate, including all of his recordings, returned to Al Hendrix, the guitarist's father, in July of 1995.

With the help of Jimi's step-sister Janie, Al set up Experience Hendrix to begin to get Jimi's legacy in order. They began by hiring John McDermott and Jimi's original engineer, Eddie Kramer, to oversee the remastering process. They were able to find all the original master tapes, which had never been used for previous CD releases, and in April of 1997, Hendrix's first three albums were reissued with drastically improved sound. Accompanying those reissues was a posthumous compilation album (based on Jimi's handwritten track listings) called First Rays of the New Rising Sun, made up of tracks from the Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes.

Later in 1997, another compilation called South Saturn Delta showed up, collecting more tracks from posthumous LPs like Crash Landing, War Heroes, and Rainbow Bridge (without the terrible '70s overdubs), along with a handful of never-before-heard material that Chas Chandler had withheld from Alan Douglas for all those years.

More archival material followed. Radio One was basically expanded to the two-disc BBC Sessions (released in 1998), and 1999 saw the release of the full show from Woodstock as well as additional concert recordings from Band of Gypsies shows entitled Live at the Fillmore East. 2000 saw the release of the Jimi Hendrix Experience four-disc box set, which compiled remaining tracks from In the West, Crash Landing, and Rainbow Bridge, along with more rarities and alternates from the Chandler cache.

The family also launched Dagger Records, essentially an authorized bootleg label to supply hardcore Hendrix fans with material that would be of limited commercial appeal. Dagger released several live concerts (of shows in Oakland, Ottawa, Clark University in Massachusetts, Paris, San Francisco, Woburn in Bedfordshire, and Cologne) and a collection of studio jams and demos called Morning Symphony Ideas.

Mainstream Hendrix reissue activity continued during the 2000s and 2010s, spotlighted by major live albums originally recorded at the Isle of Wight (2002), Berkeley (2003), Monterey (2007), Winterland (2011), and the Miami Pop Festival (2013). In 2010, Sony issued a four-disc set titled West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology, which offered a full disc of recordings from Hendrix's time as a backing guitarist.

That same year, Legacy, an imprint of Sony, released Valleys of Neptune. The compilation contained 12 previously unreleased tracks, and was the first of further such releases. In 2013, a second compilation appeared. People, Hell and Angels again contained 12 never-before-released songs, which in this case were recorded while Hendrix was working on the follow-up to Electric Ladyland. The final release in this series was put out in 2018, and its ten unreleased tracks also featured guest appearance from Stephen Stills and Johnny Winter. ~ Richie Unterberger & Sean Westergaard

HOMETOWN
Seattle, WA
GENRE
Rock
BORN
November 27, 1942

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