Album review: Jimi Hendrix – ‘People, Hell and Angels’ [9/10]

jimiThere’s been a wealth of unreleased Jimi Hendrix materials – rumour has it in his periods of peak creativity, it didn’t take more than a day or two to create an album. Ironically, more material has been released since his infamous passing than during his lifetime; some have claimed, and with good arguments, that this is stripping Hendrix of his legacy, but for myself, I just have to say that I’m a little more selfish, and I’m just happy I get to listen more Hendrix material – because it absolutely rocks.

This isn’t the masterpiece of “Electric Ladyland”, but that’s pretty much the only bad thing you’ll be hearing me say about “People, Hell and Angels”; it just sounds a little raw and unfinished, not from a musical but from a production standpoint – Jimi would have probably disliked this, given that he was usually a perfectionist when recording new material, but… what are you gonna do.

As a (very) amateur guitar player, the number of licks that just blow me away is inhuman. Virtually all songs stand on their own, with a distinct flavor of bluesy funk around them, something which is pretty rare on other Hendrix albums.

The album opens with a track called “Earth Blues” that is straightforward guitar work, perfect for setting the mood for what’s to follow. The version of “Hear My Train A Comin” on the album is a touch different than the version we’re all familiar with, but it’s a nice touch. Jimi performs not only guitar, but also voice for almost all the songs (exception being “Let Me Move You”, where Lonnie Youngblood sings and “Mojo Man”, where vocals were performed by Albert Allen). All in all, vocals sound just fine, though that’s not why you buy the album – it’s all about the guitar; and as expected the album really hits its prime here.

This is a Jimi Hendrix album, with the mind blowing guitar playing that made most people today rightfully call him the best guitarist of all time. He was doing things 40 years ago that people are still trying to emulate today, and good luck finding a guitarist that doesn’t have Hendrix (or somebody that was influenced by Hendrix) as an inspiration. The man changed the face of music, and it’s through this kind of music that he changed it. I cannot recommend this album enough, for its uniqueness, creativity, and overall pure quality – something pretty rare in 2013 music.

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