By at 8:40 PM Tuesday, November 27th 2012


How Much of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘People, Hell And Angels’ Is Actually New?

Jimi Hendrix, Music


It’s quite likely that you’ve heard something about an upcoming “new Jimi Hendrix album” this week. Experience Hendrix – the estate holding the rights to the deceased musician’s material – recently announced the posthumous release People, Hell and Angels, described as “an essential new album premiering twelve previously unreleased studio recordings completed by guitarist Jimi Hendrix.” Though twelve new songs sounds like quite an exciting deal, the reality is far from what’s being sold here.

The fact is that, after three (phenomenal) albums put to tape as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the guitarist went on to record lots of different material that never got collected into one cohesive package before he passed away. That led to four decades of varying levels of nostalgia and cash-grabs via the oft-dreaded posthumous releases. Go on, click that link, and see how many of them there are – nine, counting just the studio ones, as live albums could nearly triple that number.

Since the guitarist’s catalog just can’t seem to be put to rest, it’s time to analyze the tracklist of the latest offering advertised as his once-intended “next” LP. While the recordings featured on People, Hell and Angels might very well be unreleased (for example, featuring different musicians from the previously known version), the the songs themselves are nothing close to that. What follows is a track-by-track analysis of just what’s new and what’s old in this upcoming album:

Title: Earth Blues
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured? – The 1997 posthumous release First Rays of the Rising Sun, arguably one of the best, and closest to “final” version of a fourth Jimi Hendrix LP that ever came to be. It was also the first attempt at a posthumous studio effort by Experience Hendrix.

Title: Somewhere
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured before? – The pretty solid 4-disc box set titled The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in 2000 and featuring Somewhere as one of its highlights. The new version is supposed to be “entirely different.”

Title: Hear My Train A Comin’
Is it actually new? – Certainly not.
Where was it featured before?Everywhere. You don’t have to go far to find various different versions of this track. We’ll leave you with one of our favorites:

Title: Bleeding Heart
Is it actually new?Hell no.
Where was it featured before? – Valleys of Neptune, the record released just two years ago by Experience Hendrix, hyped as what would’ve been the “fourth” studio effort by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Sounds familiar?

Title: Let Me Move You
Is it actually new? - Yes. According to the press release: “In March 1969, Jimi reached back to another old friend, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood. […] This session features Hendrix and Youngblood trading licks throughout this never before heard, high velocity rock and soul classic.” Though we’ll have to see whether this sounds like an actual song, or a mere studio jam.

Title: Izabella
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured before? – The aforementioned First Rays of the New Rising Sun.

Title: Easy Blues
Is it actually new? – No.
Where was it featured before? – As the press release itself states, an edited, 4-minutes-long version was featured on the 1981 posthumous release Nine to the Universe. The new version on People, Hell and Angels is said to be nearly twice as long. Hey, look what we’ve found:

Title: Crash Landing
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured before?Crash Landing, the infamous posthumous album of the same name, which unfortunately featured session musicians overdubbing the original recording. If anything, it’ll be nice to hear the real version

Title: Inside Out
Is it actually new? – Sort of.
Where was it featured before? – If the press release is to be believed, this is an early version of the track Ezy Ryder, which was featured on the first posthumous Hendrix release, The Cry of Love, as well as First Rays of the New Rising Sun. We’ll have to see how different it is when the record is released.

Title: Hey Gypsy Boy
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured before? – Midnight Lightning, yet another posthumous album, where a more advanced version of the song was included under the title Hey Baby (New Rising Sun). It was also on (again) First Rays of the New Rising Sun.

Title: Mojo Man
Is it actually new?No.
Where was it featured before? – This came out as a single by The Ghetto Fighters late last year. The press release further explains: “Jimi would lend a hand to Albert & 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.”

Title: Villanova Junction Blues
Is it actually new? – No.
Where was it featured before? – 2006 compilation album Burning Desire. As the press release for People, Hell and Angels states that this song was “never fully finished” by Hendrix, it’s safe to assume that it won’t differ much from this:

An overall look of People, Hell and Angels, even for enthusiastic fans, shows that very little is to actually be unveiled with the record. While it’s nice for hardcore fans to get different versions of songs, it feels like the tracklisting was organized as a grab-bag of cuts from the many Hendrix posthumous albums already out there, and won’t really add anything substantial to the mix. Eventually, either casual listeners will get tired of seeing new versions of Hear My Train a Comin’, or Experience Hendrix will just run out of alternate takes.

People, Hell and Angels is set to come out on March 4th, 2013.


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. ‘How to Destroy Legacies’ 101 with Janie Hendrix! And the first fifty people to click on buy also get a free e-book on ‘Making Legends Turn in their Graves!’

  2. Exploding Ned says:

    “Eventually, either casual listeners will get tired of seeing new versions of…” It’s already happened. The true collectors aren’t buying Hendrix right now… reason being… Janie apparently has to have a new mink stole. Janie ‘Hendrix’, the chick who isn’t even related to Jimi, only saw Jimi twice, and the same chick who nixed Jimi’s brother Leon from Al’s will. Gotta love a golddigger.

  3. Dana says:

    Like his own lyric says “But as far as I know, they may even try to wrap me up in cellophane and try and sell me”

  4. I’d still buy it though, haha.

  5. Steve says:

    I agree that Janie is a golddigger. But Valleys Of Neptune and the single disc version of West Coast Seattle Boy were actually pretty good albums, even though they weren’t all “new” songs. Alas, it seems that the bottom of the barrel has been reached. The only song I’m interested to hear on People, Hell and Angels is the unadultered “Crash Landing.”

  6. Toby Woby says:

    I don’t know why they don’t release other stuff? I have tons of bootlegs including an 8-album box set of unreleased stuff which includes duets with other famous musicians as well a video and a book. Also, why don’t they release more footage? I’ve got ours of footage of the experience at work & at play. Really monumental stuff and hardly anyone gets to see it. Lazy release. Shame.

  7. Markle says:

    Let Jimi rest in peace. I’ve been a Hendrix fan since my high school days in the 70’s. He left us enough music that we can still enjoy today. All of the true Hendrix fans don’t need all these FAKE recordings.I’m 54 years young and i can still enjoy his REAL RECORDINGS.

  8. Steve says:

    These aren’t “fake” recordings, although they might be unfinished tracks. The fake stuff was what Alan Douglas produced in the 1970s.

  9. Dan Fratoni says:

    I’m curious to hear some Hendrix recordings that have been locked away, specifically what he experimented with in the studio. People, Hell, & Angels should be interesting.

  10. Matt says:

    I have a hard time believe that it’s Jimi singing on Let Me Move You and Mojo Man. It doesn’t sound anything like him.

  11. joe says:

    From the way I heard it back in the ’80’s, the tapes that the new tracks are being made from, are the stuff that Jimi thought was junk and that’s why it was “cutting room floor” stuff.For the most part, not much if any of the “new” tracks, are polished enough and only offer a glimpse of what maybe Hendrix, was trying out.

  12. Ron Robinson says:

    Matt, your senses are correct. It’s not Jimi singing. On Let me Move you it’s Curtis Knight or a member of that band and on Mojo Man its Albert or Arthur Allen of the Ghetto Fighters. Peace, Keep Listening!

  13. Tom McCarter says:

    While everything stated at the beginning is true, this is still a great album. Personally, I have over 100 Hendrix discs. Here you get a collection of different versions of the tunes (some REALLY different) organized in a nice set and engineered to the best they can be presented by Eddie Kramer, Hendrix’s original engineer. I never get tired of hearing Jimi’s different takes on the same material. That’s one thing that made him a genius in my opinion. Instead of whining about what it isn’t, I suggest sitting back and grooving on what it IS.

  14. Tom McCarter says:

    I’m still waiting for an explanation for why they gave it this title.

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  16. harmon says:

    Ummmm….Essentially these are “outtakes” and demos. Jimi Never would have wanted most – if any – of this material released. I find Janie’s work gluttonous, unimaginative, and full of re-packaging. Why doesn’t she put out “Electric Ladyland” with the cover Jimi wanted: The Experience pic in NYC, Central Park???

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