Album Review: Hendrix’s People, Hell, And Angels

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Jimi Hendrix People Hell and Angels

A Review On Hendrix’s Posthumous release, People, Hell, And Angels

People, Hell and Angels Album Cover
People, Hell and Angels Album Cover

Being an old Hendrix fan, and having seen the man himself live in San Francisco, twice, Guitar-Muse bought me Jimi’s new album (wow, just realized I’m living in the vinyl record days) over for my comments. I listened through and then asked my wife to listen and give me her opinion as well. She said, “Yup, that’s Jimi alright.” (“Thank you, Dear. That’s so helpful.”)

It’s playing in the background as I write this, the shades are down, the lights low, the incense is burnin’, just a sec… where can I plug this in… ahhh, there we go… okay, the disco ball is spinnin’, just let me get that light switch… there… now we got the mood. Where did I put that hookah? Oh… well, if you are Experienced, you know what it’s like to listen to a Hendrix album.

Hendrix fans won’t be disappointed here, at least not too much. Many of the tracks seem like “B” sides, which I’m sure they are but fans will still appreciate this album simply because it’s new stuff. There can never be too much Jimi, right? There are twelve songs on the album, all pretty fair representations of Hendrix’ general style but this collection of songs is raw and garage-band like by comparison to Electric Ladyland, as an example.

Don’t get me wrong, now. While some of the tracks sound unpolished, the rawness of Jimi’s emotions just oozes out of the speakers at other times. Listening to this reminds me of hearing him live as he would sometimes make a left turn in the middle of a song and go someplace else, Buddy and Mitch dutifully following as if the whole thing was planned. If Jimi gets into a groove, look out… he can leave you writhing on the floor. This album has those moments on it. At other times, you’re left a little unsatisfied by the lack of “finish” to the songs that Jimi may never have let out of the studio if he were alive today.

Track number 4, “Bleeding Heart”, is an Elmore James tune that Jimi gives the Hendrix treatment to and Mojo Man was written by Albert and Arthur Allen, with Albert handling the vocals. Jimi wrote everything else but, listening to the lyrics gives that away – they are pure Jimi. Lonnie Youngblood handled the sax and vocals on Let Me Move You, while Jimi sang all the other vocal tracks. Eddie Kramer, Janie Hendrix and John McDermott produced People, Hell and Angels. The tracks are recorded with the Band of Gypsies lineup, Buddy Miles on drums and Mitch Mitchell on bass, with guest musicians sitting in now and then.

Overall, as a former big Hendrix fan, a dedicated hippy and a guitarist who came of age back then (“back in the day”, as we “of experience” like to say), this is a must have album for my collection. There aren’t too many guitarists from that era who wouldn’t say that Jimi Hendrix was one of their influences. I wore my records out listening back in 1967-68! This is the guy who started the era of experimentation with an instrument that was created just for that purpose. Jimi Hendrix planted the seed that grew some of the great guitarists we have today.

If you’re a Jimi fan, buy this album. If you aren’t, but you grew up then, buy it anyway and play it whenever you need a mood improvement.

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Doug Knight

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.

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