Friday, March 15, 2013

Jimi Hendrix - People, Hell and Angels (Legacy, 2013)

One of the most revered musicians in rock ‘n’ roll history, Jimi Hendrix still inspires a cottage industry more than forty years after his death. This album contains twelve “previously unreleased” recordings of tracks he was working on for the planned follow-up to his last studio album Electric Ladyland. The primary musicians for the album are Hendrix on guitar and vocal, Billy Cox on bass guitar, Buddy Miles or Mitch Mitchell on drums and Juma Sultan on congas. Other musicians make guest appearances as well. “Earth Blues” sets the stage for the album with a strong electric guitar riff and stream of consciousness lyrics. “Somewhere” and especially “Hear My Train a Comin’” mine a thick vein of blues that that runs through the album with epic guitar-hero soloing and deeply potent drumming. “Let Me Move You” breaks up the formula by adding organ, percussion and the saxophone and vocals of Lonnie Youngblood. They make an infectious and danceable rhythm and blues boogie-jam. Although it sounds a bit skeletal and not fully formed, “Crash Landing” benefits from a strong, stoic guitar statement. He really takes his time and builds the solo block by block, creating an impressive edifice. “Inside Out” features strong snarls of guitar and drums that sound slightly derivative of some of the riffs he was experimenting with on other performances, but then showing where the true greatness of his talent lay, he shrugs this off to push the music forward are away from cliche. “New recordings” in this case means mostly tracks that have been released on previous posthumous Jimi Hendrix collections that have been shorn of added overdubs and sweetening. As an album this works and holds together quite well, while a few of the performances like “Villanova Junction” and “Inside Out” are sketches, the remainder of the performances are well fleshed out. Hendrix collectors and fans of classic rock will find a lot to enjoy. People, Hell and Angels -

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