Hendrix estate rolls out 'People, Hell and Angels' set
By Iain Blair, ReutersLOS ANGELES--If there were any doubts about the lingering force of fabled rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix more than four decades after his death, his latest single should put them to rest.
March 5, 2013, 12:35 am TWN
The single “Somewhere” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Singles sales in February. That bodes well for the latest posthumous album plucked from the Hendrix musical vaults, which producers say has stood up well to the test of time.
“People, Hell and Angels,” to be released on CD this Tuesday, is billed as a collection of twelve previously unreleased studio performances by Hendrix, although some of the songs have emerged in other versions since his death at age 27 in 1970 from an accidental drug overdose.
The album arrives with the simultaneous release of newly struck mono vinyl editions of early Hendrix classic albums “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold As Love.”
The tracks on “People, Hell and Angels,” were planned as a follow-up to the influential guitarist's chart-topping 1968 album “Electric Ladyland.”
“After the huge success of the (Jimi Hendrix) Experience and those first albums, he wanted to branch out more, and the blues sound on this is just different from the others,” said Janie Hendrix, Jimi's step-sister and president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, the company founded by the musician's father to oversee the star's estate.
“This new album is very important for all his fans as it really showcases his creativity and a different side to him,” she told Reuters.
Feeling constrained by the limitations of the Jimi Hendrix Experience trio (which included drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding), the guitarist had already started working with an eclectic group of musicians.
They included the Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and bassist Billy Cox, with whom Hendrix had served in the U.S. military.
The resulting sessions, culled from 1968 and 1969, form the basis of “People, Hell and Angels,” co-produced by Janie Hendrix, original engineer and mixer Eddie Kramer and long-time Hendrix historian John McDermott.
“What we wanted to do with this new album is provide what we all felt are really compelling examples of Jimi's artistry and also his often-overlooked role as a producer,” said McDermott, a long-time collaborator with Experience Hendrix on various Hendrix projects.
“He saw right away that guys like Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, with whom he later formed Band of Gypsys, brought a new approach and sound to his songs and music. And Jimi was always very free creatively. He wasn't afraid to serve the song,” McDermott told Reuters.
McDermott cites “Electric Ladyland,” which featured such diverse players as Stevie Winwood, Dave Mason and Chris Wood.
“Working in the studio was a totally different palette for him, compared with playing live,” he said. “He could experiment with extra percussion, an additional guitar, organ — whatever he felt the track needed.”
And while those tracks, which include such titles as “Earth Blues,” “Baby Let Me Move You” and “Izabella,” are now 45 years old, the audio quality is superb, because nothing beats analog tape for enduring sound quality.