It’s that time of year!
The arrival of a “new” Jimi Hendrix
album may sound dubious to some of you but really is a reason to celebrate
given that the Hendrix Estate has been doing a pretty marvelous job in recent
years of issuing high quality archival releases. People, Hell and Angels continues that effort with a sweet
audiophile grade 200-gram two-LP set (by Quality Record Pressings). The
fidelity is pretty remarkable, but then these are tracks freshly mixed off the
multi track masters made at studios such as The Record Plant and The Hit
Factory, two of the premier recording studios of their day.
The guitars sound like they were recorded
yesterday and the bass and drums sound remarkably natural, with full round lows
and crisp cymbals and such. Fans of hearing the tone of pure unfettered guitars
played through amplifiers will like this album which is resplendent in amp
tone-ness! Really, Hendrix was always
about tone and feel and this album has no shortage of that.
How does it sound? Fabulous! As one would hope,
the noise floor on these 200-gram pressings are super quiet so the record
disappears allowing the music to fully flower from your speakers. Turn this one
These are not throwaway takes but carefully
chosen tracks which very much work as an end-to-end album listening experience,
presenting yet another glimpse of where Jimi was headed musically when he sadly
died far too young in 1970. To that, the heart breaking lyrics to this version
of “Crash Landing” hints that Jimi was going to try and get clean off
of the drugs (which ultimately lead to his demise); he clearly knew change was
in the air:
going to spank your hands, and I’m gonna throw away your stupid needle, I’m
gonna try to make love straight for the very first and last time.”
Like its sister compilation albums South Saturn Delta, First Rays of the New
Rising Sun (both of which I have on LP) and Valley of Neptune (which I only have on CD at present), People, Hell and Angels is exciting
authentic listen. So if you are worried that this might be like the dubious mid
70s releases Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning, fear not. Original
engineer and producer Eddie Kramer handled the mixes and has kept the music
very clean and true to what Hendrix laid down – no new overdubs by session
players will be found on these recordings.
What you will find are cool new song
collaboarations like a tune recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama,
with Albert and Arthur Allen (aka The Ghetto Fighters) called “Mojo
Man.” This track features session players of the renown Muscle Shoals
Rhythm section — who played on hits by Wilson Pickett and Etta James, among
others — as well as legendary New Orleans pianist James Booker (who played
with everyone from Fats Domino to Jerry Garcia!). Hendrix also brings in — and
arranges a tune for — his old boss Lonnie Youngblood to perform “Let Me
Move You,” which smokes.
The actual LP package is simple but exemplary,
bearing black and white images printed on classy glossy silver cardboard stock.
It includes a beautiful LP sized full color booklet with detailed information
on each song plus great period photography.
If I have on nit, its that one side of one disc
is a bit off center — but fortunately this is not the type of music that is
horribly ruined by such a phenomenon. Jimi rocks right through it all and I
didn’t notice any significant deterioration of the sound. So, its cool. I’ll
keep my copy, which is #218 in the numbered series.
Go grab yours now, put your speakers out the
window and let your freak flag fly again anew. Jimi lives on forever. You can read more about and order it at the
offiical Hendrix website at http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/news/jimi-hendrixs-people-hell-angels-coming-march-5-2013