Rock Legend Jimi Hendrix Back on the Charts

Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and vocalist James Marshall Hendrix, better known as Jimi, made a triumphant return to music recently with the release of his posthumous album entitled “People, Hell and Angels.”

Released March 5, the album marks Hendrix’s fourth release from Legacy Recordings as part of the “Experience Hendrix” deal. The album includes 12 previously-recorded-but-never-released songs that Hendrix was working on when he died in 1970 of drug-related complications. The music was supposed to be included on the then-highly anticipated follow up to “Electric Ladyland,” his third and final album before his death.

The album, which was slated to be called “First Rays of the New Rising Sun” in 1970, was recorded in parts between March 1968 and August 1970, when Hendrix could spare time during extensive touring. “People, Hell and Angels,” like most of Hendrix’s other music, was recorded by producer and sound engineer Eddie Kramer, who has worked with some of the biggest names in 20th century rock, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Peter Frampton, David Bowie and Carlos Santana. The album was remixed with newer music recording technology to make the production style sound more modern.

The album’s sound is very straight forward for a Hendrix record. His signature sound—a fusion of blues, psychedelic funk and rock that led many to think of him as one of the greatest instrumentalists of the 20th century—is still there. But, the mix that we all love doesn’t feel as powerful as Hendrix’s other three albums. All the songs were written by Hendrix, except “Bleeding Heart,” which was composed by blues guitarist/songwriter Elmore James; and “Mojo Man,” written by twins Albert Allen and Arthur Allen.

The songs are good and the album is a great listen, but there seems to be something different. The music has a more serious feel to it this time around, as if Hendrix was really trying to send a message with this record—and that is a good thing. This collection of songs offers a look into the promise of Hendrix’s creativity and how it might have evolved were it not for his untimely demise.

Bassist Billy Cox, the only living member of Hendrix’s band, and drummer, Mitch Mitchell, who died in 2008, reprised their roles as the rhythm section, backing up Hendrix’s guitar and vocals. They did an excellent job of adapting to the slightly adjusted sound. Kramer, the producer, has said “People, Hell and Angels” will be the last album to feature unreleased studio material, but unreleased live recordings might be made available in the coming years, according to web reports.

Despite the darker sound and more serious feel of the album, sales have been respectable. It reached number two on Billboard’s 200, sharing the top spots with artists such as Luke Bryan, Bruno Mars, and Tim McGraw.

"Between the downright fantastic music, to the production quality and the attention to detail, this new album is something any established Hendrix fan should easily be able to get into and passionately enjoy time and time again," said William Clark, a critic for {Music Enthusiast} magazine.

“People, Hell and Angels” has received positive reviews from music critics worldwide. {Rolling Stone} gave it four out of five stars and {NME} ({New Musical Express}) magazine gave the album an eight out of 10.
All in all, the album is a fantastic listen, even with the evolved sound of Jimi

Hendrix. It’s certainly not the album you want to hear if you’re just getting into Hendrix, but long-time fans and collectors will definitely want to give this album a listen. I would give it a seven out of 10.

“People, Hell and Angels” can be purchased on iTunes in digital form, on Amazon in digital and physical form and at Best Buy in physical form. No information was available about plans for a vinyl pressing of the album.

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Rock Legend Jimi Hendrix Back on the Charts


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