"People, Hell and Angels"With an unwavering dedication to peace and love, Jimi Hendrix’s prophetic messages are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. People, Hell & Angels is an extension of those principles, but offers a different take on his creative direction at the time. These songs were the original blueprints for First Rays of the New Rising Sun, the sequel to Electric Ladyland. Many of them have already seen the light of day, but as a cohesive project it expresses an untapped desire to reconnect with his roots – particularly blues and funk. Session players Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, and Stephen Stills helped facilitate the shift, but what’s most noteworthy is how consistent Jimi’s writing is. Here are five lyrics that exemplify the timeless nature of his message.

Hey Gypsy Boy

Hey Gypsy Boy; Photo:N/AOver a slow chorus of wailing wah-wahs, Jimi hips the world to his role as a divine messenger, a visitor from the “land of a new rising sun.” It’s a slower version of what he had originally intended – more subdued than the final recording that would appear on Midnight Lightening – but the stripped down nature of it seems to be a better overall fit. He keeps it clean and simple, letting his guitar speak when words fail: [LISTEN]

Where do you come from?
From the land
Of a new rising sun

Earth Blues

Earth BluesThe 70s witnessed monumental shifts in culture – glam rock was poppin’, Nixon was conspiring and Vietnam was riling everyone. So when Jimi made a song like “Earth Blues,” where he totally detaches himself from society, it’s no surprise he did so with unnerving ease. It’s a version that embraces the nuts and bolts of the song, which is a hybrid between psychedelic rock and raw spirited funk – equal parts gospel and Motown. Jimi’s narrative holds steady throughout, and he’s able to vehemently proclaim his “ebony queen” as Earth’s saving grace: [LISTEN]

Thank you Lord keep her alright
I think I’ll be alright with my baby
Shake these Earth blues away from me baby

Crash Landing

Crash LandingOver bluesy riffs and thumping, hollowed out percussion, Jimi laments in anguish, warning his then girlfriend Devon Wilson of the dangers of heroin. It’s a bit of a surprise hearing him so carefully articulate his feelings towards drugs, but apparently he saw something that demanded a lucid perspective. He moans in his distinctly off-key voice, and claims that her drug use is running him dry. At this point he isn’t even sure that the person he fell in love with is still there: [LISTEN]

You get me spaced out, fade out
Look at the sun fade out
And you almost made me leave my faith outside

Somewhere

SomewhereJimi tells a story in such a way that makes his voice a perfect accessory to his lyrics. In just under five minutes he raps about cities burning and how aliens are laughing at humans from above. He ruminates over these ideas while sipping a tear-filled cocktail, and by the end he concludes that it’s just a matter of time before it’s his turn to be packaged and sold. It’s not incredibly hard to dissect. He just saw the shit-storm brewing well before it came inland: [LISTEN]

And up in the clouds I can imagine UFO’s chucklin’ to themselves
Laughin’, they sayin’ those people so uptight, they sure know how to make a mess

Izabella

IzabellaOf course there was going to be an anti-war song on this album. And sure he may be referencing Vietnam, but place this in any decade and it’ll still be relevant. Jimi pens an open letter to his lover, and wishes he could trade in his weapon for her warm embrace. He longs for her, but is stolen away by senseless violence. Sound familiar? [LISTEN]

Keep those dreams comin’ in strong
Maybe one day I’ll be holdin’ you instead a machine gun