Jimi Hendrix – 2013 New Album Preview
The upcoming Jimi Hendrix collection ‘People, Hell & Angels,’ which comes out on March 5, is likely to be one of the most important archival releases of 2013. The album is being advertised as featuring 12 new and unreleased Hendrix tracks.
But as we recently reported, much of the material has previously seen the light of day in one form or another. Here’s a breakdown of each track’s origins, and how they differ from previously released versions of the same songs:
Origins: “This harks back to that first May 1969 session,” co-producer John McDermott says in a new interview with Music Radar. “It was one of the songs that Jimi showcased to Buddy [Miles] and Billy [Cox]. While they didn’t get it then, they certainly had an interesting handle on it.”
Where Have We Heard It Before: 1971’s posthumous ‘Rainbow Bridge.’ It was also featured on the 1997 release ‘First Rays of the New Rising Sun,’ which Experience Hendrix put out as perhaps the most successful attempt to replicate the fourth studio album Hendrix was working on at the time of his death.
How Is This Version Different: It’s an entirely different studio take, complete with a new drum break. “It shows off the stripped-down funk, without the Ronettes and a lot of the extra guitar things that were overdubbed by Jimi later,” McDermott states.
Origins: Cut during a 1968 recording session which found Hendrix beginning to branch away from the Experience, this track finds him working with future Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles and none other than Stephen Stills on bass.
Where Have We Heard It Before: A different version, entitled ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ was featured on 1975’s outside-musician adorned ‘Crash Landing’ compilation. A version also appeared on the 2000 box set ‘The Jimi Hendrix Experience.’ It has been released as the lead single from ‘People, Hell and Angels.’
How Is This Version Different: It’s a different take than the ‘Crash Landing’ version. As McDermott explains, “To us, this is the version that has all the right pieces. It’s got the original instrumentation and none of the posthumous overdubbing.”
‘Hear My Train A Comin”
Origins: This is a song Hendrix revisited several times throughout his career, but never officially released. Perhaps the most well known version is the jawdropping 1967 solo acoustic rendition captured in the 1973 documentary ‘Jimi Hendrix.’
Where Have We Heard It Before: All over the place. There are many different versions of the song on various collections. In fact, never tell anyone else you don’t know this one, OK?
How Is This Version Different: This rendition comes from Hendrix’ first-ever sessions with Miles and Cox, who would go on to form the rhythm section for the ‘Band of Gypsys’ album.
Origins: Hendrix was a longtime fan of Elmore James, who wrote and first recorded the song. He had worked with the song repeatedly throughout his career, including an early version with Curtis Knight and the Squires in 1965 or ’66.
Where Have We Heard It Before: The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded the song live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, which was later released as part of what would have been the soundtrack to the film ‘Experience.’ He cut two studio versions of the song at the Record Plant, one of which appeared on 1994’s ‘Blues’ compilation, and the other on 2010’s ‘Valleys of Neptune.’ Another studio version with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell was recorded in March of 1970 and has been released on both 1972’s ‘War Heroes’ and 1997’s ‘South Saturn Delta.’
How Is This Version Different: This track derives from the same May 1969 sessions with Cox and Miles that yielded ‘Hear My Train A Comin.” McDermott states, “What’s so cool about this track is that, prior to cutting it again, he told Buddy and Billy, ‘I want to drive a whole different beat.’ Again, it’s Jimi reinterpreting the blues. This is a fresh take.”
‘Let Me Move You’
Origins: Before he was famous, Hendrix had played as a sideman for sax player Lonnie Youngblood. He looked his old friend up for this track, which is from a session in March of 1969.
Where Have We Heard It Before: Actually, we haven’t.
How Is This Version Different: This is an honest-to-goodness unreleased track, though we won’t know whether it’s a full song or a studio jam until March 5. McDermott describes it like this: “It’s a very exciting, energetic cut. Jimi put everything he had into it. If you compare it to some of the things he had done with Lonnie three years earlier, it’s like night and day.”
Origins: Hendrix debuted the song at Woodstock.
Where Have We Heard It Before: Reprise Records released a recording with the Band of Gypsys in 1970, and it appeared again on 1997’s ‘First Rays of the New Rising Sun.’
How Is This Version Different: It was recorded in August of 1969 with different musicians than the Band of Gypsys version that has already been released. It features Hendrix’ old friend Larry Lee on rhythm guitar. “The solo is just fantastic – absolutely scorching,” McDermott comments.
Origins: It’s from a studio jam between Hendrix, guitarist Larry Lee, Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Where Have We Heard It Before: There was an edited version on 1981’s ‘Nine to the Universe.’
How Is This Version Different: This much-rumored unedited track is twice as long.
Origins: This recording from April of 1969 features Hendrix with Billy Cox and drummer Rocky Isaac of the Cherry People.
Where Have We Heard It Before: The ‘Crash Landing’ album, which featured random musicians overdubbing parts onto incomplete Hendrix recordings.
How Is This Version Different: “We just felt that anything that had been tinkered with should be heard in its original form,” McDermott states. “This is what Jimi was actually doing with the players, and it’s really good. There was never any need for any of that overdubbing that had gone on in ’75.”
Origins: Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell recorded this song by themselves, with Hendrix playing guitar and bass.
Where Have We Heard It Before: It is the early version of a track called ‘Ezy Ryder,’ from 1971’s ‘The Cry of Love.’
How Is This Version Different: It’s a precursor to ‘Ezy Ryder,’ based around the same riff, but a different song and performance.
‘Hey Gypsy Boy’
Origins: Recorded in March 1969, again as part of Hendrix’ first sessions with Buddy Miles.
Where Have We Heard It Before: On both 1975’s ‘Midnight Lightning’ and ‘First Rays of the New Rising Sun,’ though it appeared both times under the title ‘Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).’
How Is This Version Different: It’s a precursor to the other track, with a less advanced arrangement.
Origins: Hendrix’ old friends the Ghetto Fighters recorded this track at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, then took it to Hendrix to finish at Electric Lady Studio.
Where Have We Heard It Before: Released in 2011 as a single by the Ghetto Fighters.
How Is This Version Different: It’s probably not, but this does mark the first time it’s being released under the Jimi Hendrix name.
‘Villanova Junction Blues’
Origins: This recording goes back to May of 1969, before Hendrix publicly debuted the song at Woodstock.
Where Have We Heard It Before: The 2006 compilation ‘Burning Desire.’
How Is This Version Different: Again, it’s unclear if this version is any different. But McDermott says it’s still a worthwhile addition. “We thought it was a sweet way to bring the record to a close. Like a lot of great songs in the library, it’s one that held a lot of promise, but of course, he wasn’t able to finish it.”