In her autobiography about being a young artist in New York City, Just Kids, Patti Smith described attending the opening night party for a new recording studio in August of 1970. Being shy and easily overwhelmed by crowds, she spent a great deal of time outside on the fire escape with the equally shy musician responsible for the studio's existence. Jimi Hendrix didn't have too much longer to live when he sat on the fire escape outside his newly opened Electric Ladyland Studios with the young poet. The studio was to be the place where he would experiment and play music away from the demands of the world—he was only able to do so for four weeks before going on the road and ultimately passing away in September. Today, more then 40 years after Hendrix's death, the studio is one part of his legacy to the world of music. (Smith is only one of many artists who recorded there too, taking advantage of what Hendrix created.)
Listening to the new CD, People, Hell and Angels, released by Legacy Recordings, of previously unreleased Hendrix studio sessions is to be reminded once again how complete a musician he was. Some might wonder why bother releasing the music of somebody dead for four decades, especially tracks which are essentially unfinished. The answer would be for the same reason we publish and read the letters and diaries of famous writers. Hendrix was a musician, so these tracks are his diaries, his letters to the world. They represent a chance to gain some insight into the directions he wanted to take his music, what his interests were and maybe get to know him a little better.
The majority of music released under his name since his death has been of not only dubious quality, but dubious origins as well. It's only been recently his family has been able to gain control of his music and try and redress the damage done to his legacy by a legion of unscrupulous people trying to make a fast buck off the name of Hendrix. In the years following his death a number of poorly recorded and badly mixed albums were dumped on the market.