Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels

by Kevin Wierzbicki

More than 40-years have passed since the death of Jimi Hendrix and many posthumous albums have been released during this time, including most recently 2010's Valleys of Neptune, a set culled from Jimi's final recordings with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the Hendrix estate has come up with yet another album's worth of material to release but it is somewhat startling how good People, Hell and Angels is. None of the dozen included tracks have been released before although Hendrix aficionados may be familiar with some of the songs in drastically different versions.

After Jimi wrapped things up with the Experience he wanted to branch out a little and enhance his sound by working outside his usual power trio format so here you have impressive cuts like "Izabella," one of Jimi's concise, radio-ready rockers where he's backed by familiar sidemen Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell as well as second guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan; the song is classic Jimi all the way and could easily have had a place on the Smash Hits collection.

Cox and Mitchell play on numerous other cuts as does Buddy Miles and the exceptional "Hear My Train A Comin'" is drawn from the 1969 sessions where Miles recorded with Hendrix for the very first time.

Other standout tracks include "Crash Landing," an anti-heroin warning that was directed at Jimi's girlfriend of the time, "Earth Blues" featuring Stephen Stills on bass and a killer run-through of "Let Me Move You" featuring vocals and screaming sax from Lonnie Youngblood. Hendrix was clearly onto something with his idea to enhance his sound; with the exception of "Let Me Move You" this set is instantly recognizable as Jimi's work while the use of horns, extra percussion and second guitarists hint at the progression that was to come if he had lived.

If you happened to catch the January 20 episode of television's Hawaii Five-O you heard snippets of much of People, Hell and Angels; fans should know that the entire album is as good as those brief samples.

Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels

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