HOW MUCH OF JIMI HENDRIX’S ‘PEOPLE, HELL AND ANGELS’ IS ACTUALLY NEW?

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.

Fernando Scoczynski Filho from antiquiet.com wrote 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. Read more here: http://bit.ly/YAOCJt

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 onPeople, 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.

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