Monday, 4 March 2013

Jimi Hendrix- People, Hell and Angels

This posthumous release is the latest in a long line of albums comprised of what were unfinished, partially recorded songs, and lengthy jams captured before the legendary guitarist’s death in 1970. Unlike many of the others, however, this is the most complete “album” released since the 1990s. Made up from cuts of various musical experiments and line-ups which never made it onto full length albums, this collection includes interesting snapshots and insights into the working process of Jimi Hendrix’s various bands.

The tracks on People, Hell and Angels offer a snapshot into the various directions that Hendrix was moving toward, with either his later trio- Band of Gypsies, or expanded groups to include extra percussion, horns and secondary guitarists. This album comprises of a mix of hard, rock epics, showing Jimi playing at his best, soulful-jazz drenched, funky numbers and driving electric blues tracks. Despite the fact that some of the tracks on this album have been released on earlier posthumous albums, this is the first time that many of those have been released to the public at large without any extra overdubs or too much electronic alteration to remove the spirit and essence of Jimi’s playing from the takes.

Highlights include the wonderful Somewhere: A slow, acidic ballad, which is reminiscent of Little Wing, with slower verses and ample space for the fiery guitar work Jimi is famous for to shine through. Also, the funky, soulful Let Me Move You, which features Lonnie Youngblood on saxophone and vocals, showing off the roots of all the musicians involved on the recording, backing up Rhythm & Blues and Soul acts in the 1960s. The addition here of an organ as well as the sax shows how well Jimi could perform with a much fuller sounding line-up.

Whilst still nothing compared to the fully complete albums that were released during Jimi Hendrix’s lifetime, People, Hell and Angels represents a respectful look at the unpublished work which was unreleased until now, showing off the best of what could have been.