Lucky for his legions of fans, Jimi Hendrix was a restless experimenter, committing to tape hours and hours of original music beyond the three studio albums released in his too-short lifetime. Posthumous albums of the songwriter/singer/guitar legend’s unheard material have been released as far back as Reprise/Track’s 1971 The Cry of Love, and as recently as Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings’ 2010 Valleys of Neptune. The latest addition to the Hendrix discography will arrive on March 5 from Experience Hendrix and Legacy. Entitled People, Hell & Angels, it concentrates on Hendrix’s recordings outside of the Experience trio line-up and premieres twelve recordings from Hendrix and an array of collaborators including Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Mitch Mitchell, Larry Lee, Lonnie Youngblood, and another legendary guitarist, Stephen Stills.
The tracks selected for People, Hell & Angels show Hendrix proclaiming his freedom from the expected, utilizing horns, keyboards, percussion and second guitar. Produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott from a title coined by Jimi Hendrix, its dozen songs include “Earth Blues,” “Somewhere,” “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Bleeding Heart,” “Baby Let Me Move You,” “Izabella,” “Easy Blues,” “Crash Landing,” “Inside Out,” “Hey Gypsy Boy,” “Mojo Man” and “Villanova Junction Blues.” While he was recording the music featured on People, Hell & Angels at New York facilities including the Record Plant and the Hit Factory, Hendrix was building his own Electric Lady Studios where he planned to continue his various musical explorations, as always, on his own terms. Like many previous Experience Hendrix issues, People, Hell & Angels rescues some original recordings which have only previously seen release in posthumously overdubbed versions overseen in the LP era by producer Alan Douglas.
Janie L. Hendrix, President/CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC, has commented of the upcoming release, “We’re thrilled to be able to release People, Hell & Angels during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of my brother’s birth. The brilliance of the album serves to underscore what we’ve known all along: that there has never been and never will be a musical force equal to his and that we cherish and take inspiration of what he left us both now and for many generations to come…simply eternity.” Legacy President Adam Block continued, “People, Hell & Angels provides us with further insight into the genius of Jimi Hendrix. Working with new rhythm sections and instrumentation, Jimi Hendrix was opening up the horizons of his music, creating new sounds filled with endless possibilities.”
Interested in those sounds? Hit the jump for a track-by-track guide to the new recordings, as presented in the press release for this exciting new title! There are plenty of surprises, even where familiar titles are concerned!
Totally unlike the version first issued as part of Rainbow Bridge in 1971, this December 19, 1969 master take features just Hendrix, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles–stripped down funk at its very origin.
This newly discovered gem was recorded in March 1968 and features Buddy Miles on drums and Stephen Stills on bass. Entirely different from any previous version fans have ever heard.
“Hear My Train A Comin’”:
This superb recording was drawn from Jimi’s first ever recording session with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles–the powerhouse rhythm section with whom he would later record the groundbreaking album Band of Gypsys. Jimi shared a deep love for the blues with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Both musicians understood Jimi’s desire to create what he described as a ‘new type of blues’. Jimi’s menacing lead guitar is the centerpiece of this dramatic addition to his remarkable legacy.
This Elmore James masterwork had long been a favorite of Jimi’s. He had performed the song earlier that year with the Experience in concert at the Royal Albert Hall and had attempted to capture the song in New York studio sessions during the weeks that followed.
Recorded at the same May 1969 session as “Hear My Train A Coming,” the track conveys Jimi’s firm understanding of the arrangement and tempo he desired. Before they began, Jimi instructed Cox and Miles that he wanted to establish a totally different beat than the standard arrangement. He then kicked off this amazing rendition that was nothing like any other he had ever attempted.
“Let Me Move You”:
In March 1969, Jimi reached back to another old friend, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood. Before he was discovered by Chas Chandler in the summer of 1966, Jimi had contributed guitar as a nondescript studio sideman for Youngblood and such infectious rhythm and blues styled singles such as “Soul Food”. This March 1969 session features Hendrix and Youngblood trading licks throughout this never-before-heard, high velocity rock and soul classic.
In the aftermath of the Woodstock festival, Jimi gathered his new ensemble, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, at the Hit Factory in August 1969 with engineer Eddie Kramer. “Izabella” had been one of the new songs the guitarist introduced at the Woodstock festival and Jimi was eager to perfect a studio version. This new version is markedly different from the Band of Gypsys 45 rpm single master issued by Reprise Records in 1970 and features Larry Lee, Jimi’s old friend from the famed rhythm & blues ‘chitin’ circuit’, on rhythm guitar.
An edited extract of this gorgeous, free flowing instrumental was briefly issued as part of the long-out-of-print 1981 album Nine to the Universe. Now nearly twice as long, the track offers fans the opportunity to enjoy the dramatic interplay between Jimi, second guitarist Larry Lee, Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Perhaps known as the title song for the controversial 1975 album that featured Hendrix master recordings posthumously overdubbed by session musicians, this April 1969 original recording has never been heard before. Jimi is joined here by Billy Cox and drummer Rocky Isaac of the Cherry People to record this thinly veiled warning to his girlfriend Devon Wilson.
Jimi was fascinated by the rhythm pattern that would ultimately take form as “Ezy Ryder.” Joined here by Mitch Mitchell, Jimi recorded all of the bass and guitar parts for this fascinating song – including a dramatic lead guitar part amplified through a Leslie organ speaker.
“Hey Gypsy Boy”:
The roots of Jimi’s majestic “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” trace themselves to this March 1969 recording. Unlike the posthumously overdubbed version briefly issued as part of Midnight Lightning in 1975, this is original recording that features Jimi joined by Buddy Miles.
Jimi would lend a hand to Albert and Arthur Allen, the vocalists known as the Ghetto Fighters, whom he had befriended in Harlem long before he achieved fame with the Experience. When the two recorded this inspired, previously unreleased master at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama they took it back to Hendrix at Electric Lady Studios. Jimi knew just what to do to elevate the recording beyond contemporary R & B to the new hybrid of rock, rhythm and blues he was celebrated for.
“Villanova Junction Blues”:
Long before his famous performance of this song at Woodstock, Jimi recorded this studio version with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles at the same May 1969 session which yielded “Hear My Train A Comin'” and “Bleeding Heart” also featured on this album. Never fully finished, the song stands as an example of the fertile ideas he hoped to harness and bring to fruition.
Are you excited yet? People, Hell & Angels is due in stores on March 5, 2013. You can pre-order this latest addition to the rich catalogue of Jimi Hendrix at the link below!
Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell & Angels (Experience Hendrix/Legacy, 2013)
- Earth Blues
- Hear My Train A Comin’
- Bleeding Heart
- Let Me Move You
- Easy Blues
- Crash Landing
- Inside Out
- Hey Gypsy Boy
- Mojo Man
- Villanova Junction Blues
All tracks previously unreleased.
Track 1 alternate version previously issued on Rainbow Bridge, 1971
Track 7 issued in edited form on Nine to the Universe, 1981
Track 8 issued in overdubbed form on Crash Landing, 1975
Track 10 issued in overdubbed form on Midnight Lightning, 1975