Somehow, over forty years after his death, there is a new Jimi Hendrix album—and it actually is new, as in these are studio recordings most of us have never heard before. (Or at least different versions of a couple of previous Hendrix releases.) Said to be the potential follow-up to Electric Ladyland, People, Hell and Angels was recorded over the last three years of Hendrix’s life and mostly with the Band of Gypsys lineup.
If this album is any indication of the direction Hendrix was going with his music then, it seems Jimi was content with mostly abandoning his overdriven, feedback-heavy rock sound for more bluesy material. Not that the blues were never present in his music before or that his rock edge is completely absent from this release, it’s just heavier on the blues than his Experience releases.
I’m impressed by how well the production of these songs has held up through the years. You always get worried with releases like this, that it will sound like a raw, unfinished collection of B-sides that the artist would have never released in their lifetime. That’s not the case here. These tracks are polished and fit in perfectly with the rest of Hendrix’s catalog like its 1970. However, although this is a good album and doesn’t feel like throwaways at all, there really isn’t anything here (in my opinion) that will pull in casual Hendrix fans who are all too familiar with legendary tracks like “Purple Haze” and his excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” More devoted Hendrix fans though should enjoy this album, despite its lack of any instant classics. Hey, even a bad Hendrix album is better than a lot of the current albums being put out now. And this is a good one.