Inferior Versions Of Already Released Songs – Amateur Copy & Paste Work – For Completists Only.

People, Hell and Angels is for Jimi Hendrix completists only.

This is a very disappointing release that is FAR from “12 new studio recordings” as being advertised by Experience Hendrix. Almost all of these songs have been released in far superior versions on readily available retail releases. They have duplicated multiple songs from the Valleys Of Neptune album they put out just a couple of years ago also, including the second single from that album!

Jimi Hendrix People, Hell and Angels Review

Jimi Hendrix People, Hell and Angels Review

I’ll break down the technical details of each song so you can see what you’re truly getting here.

1. Earth Blues – Several years ago, John McDermott, one of the producers of this album and Hendrix catalog manager said in his book Ultimate Hendrix that this song was “loose” and non-cohesive with it being ultimately abandoned due to tuning and tempo issues. Now he’s changed his opinion to calling it “stripped-down funk.” Interesting change of heart when it comes time to put together a “new Hendrix album.” Additionally, the final studio version mixed by Jimi was released on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, and then re-released in a deluxe version just a few of years ago. This version on People, Hell and Angels is far inferior and simply a demo that lacks many of the overdubs and embellishments that Jimi himself later added to the version released on First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Confusing as to why they would include this inferior track and call it a “new studio recording.”

2. Somewhere – Firstly, Jimi’s guitar work shreds on this song. However, this song has a lot of technical issues. Listening to the song carefully, especially the last half, it’s easy to notice the amateurish “cut and paste” job Eddie Kramer did on this track, and it’s disconcerting to say the least. This song was made up of several takes, and put together in shoddy fashion. During the breaks after Jimi’s verses, you can hear how his vocals were inaccurately pasted into this song. This is most noticeable at the break around 3:00, his vocals don’t match up and aren’t in time. The timing when the instrumentation comes back in after Jimi’s ending vocals is so off, it makes one wonder if Mr. Kramer has any sense of timing at all. The vocals are from an entirely different take of the song than the instrumentation, which isn’t a problem in and of itself, but Kramer’s mixing of the song is horrible. Also, you can hear how Jimi’s guitar breaks out of the field of sound field a bit in places because it was part of a studio rehearsal, not a “new studio recording,” as advertised. Not something that sounds good played loudly like most Hendrix fans enjoy. And all these issues on the lead single off the album? A version that is actually “in time” was released on the Jimi Hendrix Experience Boxed Set in 2000 in better quality, and the vocals are in time. Can’t believe the shoddy cut and paste jobs they are doing to Jimi’s work, very sad Eddie Kramer

3. Hear My Train A Comin’ – How many times do we need to see this song released? Studio versions of this song have been released at nearly a half-dozen times on official releases by the Hendrix estate over the years, including being released on their last “new Hendrix studio album,” Valleys of Neptune, just a couple of years ago! The song was released twice on the single disc Blues release, again on the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues album, on The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box-set, etc. Not to mention the numerous live versions that have been released all over the place. This version on People, Hell and Angels is inferior to all of them and is NOT a studio version, this is from a practice run-through session of the band and they are mis-labeling it as a studio version, which is easily observable when listened to. It sounds like it was recorded in a garage and is the first time Jimi got together with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox to practice songs. Keyword being “first time” and “practice.” Sound quality speaks volumes on this one as you hear Jimi’s vocals distort in places.

4. Bleeding Heart – This song was released as a SINGLE off of the Valleys Of Neptune album they released just a couple of years ago and they release it again already? Two times in a row? Yet another studio version was released on South Saturn Delta. Here on People, Hell and Angels we get a far inferior version that is nothing more than a studio rehearsal, not a completed studio recording. The sound quality almost sounds like it was recorded in a bar and there is nothing fantastic about this take.

5. Let Me Love You – One of the truly “new” songs on the album and Jimi doesn’t sing a single word in the song. This is actually a Lonnie Youngblood song that Jim just plays guitar on. A good song though.

6. Izabella – This song has been released multiple times. The definitive studio version has already been released on First Rays of The New Rising Sun. An alternate studio version from this same recording session was released on The Experience Hendrix box-set in 2000. They released yet another version on the Burning Desire album. The version we have here on People, Hell and Angels is far inferior to the already released versions.

7. Easy Blues – This is a purely instrumental song released on the Nine To The Universe album. Experience Hendrix claims that this “new extract” is nearly twice as long as the Nine To The Universe release, which is untrue. The Nine To The Universe release was 4:30 and this version is 5:57, a mere 1 minute and 27 seconds longer. It’s the same version, with another minute and a half of instrumental. Not sure if someone forgot how to do arithmetic or what.

8. Crash Landing – This song was released on the album Crash Landing, with the original instrumentation replaced by Alan Douglas, which a lot of people thought was insane to do. Here we get the original version, although Jimi’s vocals have been pasted from another take, and one beat behind, not in time! Eddie Kramer, how are you doing this to multiple songs on the same album? Better yet, how did this pass quality control after that glaring mistake? A shameful hack-job. Additionally, Eddie Kramer (producer) and John McDermott (catalog manager) both stated how horrible this recording was in the book they released, Ultimate Hendrix, stating that this song was “uninspired.” Now that they want to release it as some “newly found gem,” McDermott has changed his position from calling it “uninspired” to saying “it’s really good.” Interesting.

9. Inside Out – Yet another early instrumental version of Ezy Ryder, no vocals at all. They released two more early Ezy Rider jams on the “new studio album,” Valleys Of Neptune, and the Fire CD single from that same album just a couple of years ago! Add in even more Ezy Rider jams released on the Hear My Music and Burning Desire albums, and we’re just about at a half-dozen releases now. So now we’re getting alternate versions of recently released early versions of songs?

10. Hey Gypsy Boy – Released on the Midnight Lightning album with Alan Douglas overdubs, here we have the original version as Jimi intended it, which is nice to hear.

11. Mojo Man – Yet another song that Jimi has no vocals on. This isn’t a Jimi Hendrix song, it’s a Ghetto Fighters song with Jimi guest appearing on rhythm guitar. And when I say “rhythm guitar,” I means exactly that because there are not even any guitar solos by Jimi on this song. Additionally, it’s obvious a lot of tinkering was done to the song long after Jimi’s passing, none of which is very flattering. This song was also already released as a single by the Ghetto Fighters just a mere year ago – Not unreleased by any means.

12. Villanova Junction – John McDermott, one of the producers of this album and Hendrix catalog manager said in his book Ultimate Hendrix that this song was “disjointed,” but in a recent interview flip-flopped and said that it was “a sweet way to bring the record to a close.” This was what I expected to be one of the shining points of the album, but this is merely a 1 minute and 45 second excerpt of this instrumental that fades out in the middle of the jam, unbelievable. For an album that barely clocks in at 50 minutes long, it’s pretty obvious they could have, and should have, included the full Villanova Junction jam. Additionally, there was a 5 minute version of this song released on the Burning Desire album.

To Casual Fans – Avoid this release completely. If you are a casual fan of Jimi Hendrix, this release is going to be sorely disappointing to you as almost all of theses songs have been released in superior versions on other retail releases. Additionally, this collection is not a fair representation as to the quality of Jimi’s studio material. Go with Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, or First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.

To Completists – Obviously a must-have, but be prepared to be disappointed in order to add this “new studio album,” to your collections when hearing some of the amateur cut and paste jobs on Jimi’s vocals, leaving them off beat in some songs (Somewhere, Crash Landing, etc.). Experience Hendrix created a sub-label called Dagger Records many years ago, which they use to release albums of alternate versions of songs, demos, and songs that didn’t have a place on mainstream studio albums. People, Hell and Angels belongs on that label as a release for Jimi Hendrix completists only.

This is a pretty low cash-grab on the part of Experience Hendrix. In fact, Eddie Kramer, head producer on the project was interviewed on video by Harmony Central after mixing this album down and said “this is the, HOPEFULLY [emphasis added by Kramer], the last of all the studio albums,” which seems to imply he is being coerced in some capacity by Janie Hendrix to arrange inferior albums like this in order to fulfill contractual obligations to Sony. Pretty clear he didn’t want to publicize a collection like this as a studio album, because it’s not. They are duplicating songs that were on the “new studio” album they released just a couple of years ago (Valleys of Neptune), including that album’s second single (Bleeding Heart)! And inferior versions of these songs at that.

I was critical of their last release Valleys of Neptune, but still have it 3 stars out of 5 because it did contain some new music. However, this release is just shameful. This is a collection of nearly all alternate (and inferior) versions of songs that have already been released. There is so much duplication against their recent releases and songs that pale in contrast to their already released versions, that it’s clear what’s going on here: Experience Hendrix (Janie Hendrix) is doing everything they can to fulfill the 10 album deal they inked with Sony a few years back and it appears they are trying to slip by far inferior quality material and advertise it as “new studio recordings” to do so. That’s right; they are now contractually obligated to release 10 albums of “new material.” They have released Valleys of Neptune, Live In Cologne, the West Coast Seattle Boy box-set, the Winterland box-set, and now this release. That means they’re only half way to fulfilling this 10 album deal, so this is probably only the beginning of a string of horrid releases like this.

Additionally, it’s important to note that there is still some good music contained on this album, but it’s not a studio album as advertised, not even close. This is a disjointed collection of demos, alternate takes, jam sessions & rehearsals, already released songs, instrumentals, and tracks that weren’t even Hendrix songs, but rather tracks he guest appeared on only playing guitar – All inferior to their already released counterparts. If released as an “alternate versions” collection or as a disc in a rarities box set, this would be a real gem and Hendrix completists like me would be happy to purchase an accurately billed release, aside from the few tracks that have horrible timing issues due to amateurish “cut & paste” jobs on Jimi’s vocals. However, the advertising of this being a “new studio album,” is going to do nothing but alienate many would be Jimi fans when they hear the inferior quality of these recordings and think that’s how Jimi’s “studio” material sounds.

I’m being very generous in giving this album two stars despite of the inferior versions of already released songs included on People, Hell and Angels, and the amateurish (and off beat) pasting of Jimi’s vocals into many of the songs.

2 Of 5 Stars - Chris Elliott Rated

If you want to pick up People, Hell and Angels by Jimi Hendrix, you can do so at Amazon…

Until Next Time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 12th, 2011

This box set was created as a rarities anthology of sorts and comes with four discs, each representing around a one year period during the existence of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  I was very happy with this collection in both it’s inclusion of quality unreleased studio tracks, as well as alternative takes and live versions of songs.  The packaging was excellent and actually added to the collectible nature of the set.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Review
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Review

I’ve reviewed each of these discs seperately on the blog in the standard CD review format that I use so I will be re-printing the star rating of each of the discs here, and combinging them to create a culmutive review of the entire set.  Each individual star rating is below and you can click the text above each cover to go directly to that discs review…

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set) Disc 1 Review

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 1
5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set) Disc 2 Review

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 2
4.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set) Disc 3 Review
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 33.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Box Set) Disc 4 Review

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 4
4 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

Simple math has a total of 17 stars out of 20 possible.  Divide that by 4 and the overall rating comes to 4.25 stars.  However, the purple velvet box and the tall, full color book are awesome packaging and comes with a ton of nice pictures and liner text so I’m willing to add .25 stars more and round out the total rating 4.5 stars, in addition to my not having a 4.25 star graphic 🙂

4.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

This is truly an excellent box set.  In a time where most box sets that come out are nothing but re-releases of songs in greatest hits fashion, this release actually scours the vaults and brings harder to find material into an anthology like collection.  And just because this stuff is harder to find doesn’t mean it isn’t high quality.  There are some incredible gems in this collection and each disc, even disc three that received 3.5 stars are all enjoyable to listen to.

You can grab this collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 11th, 2011

This is a review of the Disc 4 of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set.  The tracks and live performances included on this installment of the box set are those representative of the second year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Late 1969 through late 1970 when Jimi passed away.  This is another excellent survey of the band that follows them through their Senior year.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, and unreleased songs.  An excellent variety here.

On to disc 4…

  1. Message To Love (Alternate Recording) – This song starts out lively and funky.  Jimi’s vocals are accented by high background vocals, which go well together.The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 4 Jimi’s solo work is flawless.  Jimi’s vocals are are loose but well structured on the song – the background vocals allow him to explore his range while the harmony is kept.  The drums are slightly drowned out but that’s understandable with this track being a showcase for mainly vocals and guitar.  The song ends abruptly in an almost cut off style.
  2. Earth Blues (Alternate Recording) – This track starts with a muddy guitar riff and drops into the full track with the drums and bass.  Background vocals make an excellent addition to this song, giving Jimi more freedom vocally.  Jimi’s vocals are in excellent form here.  Buddy Miles’ drum work is punchy and add’s life to the song.  The bass work by Billy Cox is powerful, masculine, and the guiding force of the song.
  3. Astro Man (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with Jimi reciting a poem type set of lyrics before his lead guitar work drops in along with the bass and drums.  Jimi’s guitar has a flange type sound to it – kind of an electric twang.  Jimi harmonizes with his guitar work throughout.  The bass guitar has a deep funk sound.  Jimi’s solo work is rugged and raw with distortion ever-present.  It’s easy to hear that this was a development track mainly meant for perfecting the material.  The song ends with Jimi asking “Was that fun?”
  4. Country Blues (Previously Unreleased Recording) – This track starts out with Jimi’s guitar solo work reminiscent of his live star spangled banner sound before Jimi brings the lead guitar riff to the forefront.  For several minutes, the simple, yet blues dripping bass riff provides Jimi with the foundation to explore the song with his electric.  Jimi’s guitar sound has a deep electric twang and sways through parts of the song in an almost spaceship like fashion.  The drums, while not a showpiece here, provide excellent rhythm and fills where necessary.  At times, Jimi’s guitar work is wondering and seems to hit a dead end as he jumps right back into another riff idea – an obvious development track.  This track is one of the instrumental gem’s that are a treasure to hear.  At about 6:15 into the song, Jimi let’s some fast finger work loose which then transitions into softer, harmonious riff explorations accompanied by a cool harmonica accent.
  5. Freedom (Alternate Recording) – One of Jimi’s liberating songs, which I feel was a symbol of his new found freedom from creative constraints on his music.  The track starts out with a high laced guitar riff before dropping into the main lead guitar riff.  Jimi’s vocals seem a bit low in the mix but are in good form, nonetheless.  The bass riff is the shining guide of the song, oozing funk into the track.  The drum work is snappy and simple.  The song fades out to conclude.
  6. Johnny B. Goode (Live: Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, Ca., May 30, 1970) – Jimi starts out talking the audience and doing a quick sound check asking the audience “Is it too loud out there, is it too loud?” before he launches into the lively riff of Johnny B. Goode.  Jimi’s vocals are excellent, albeit a bit straining to compete with the musical mix at times.  Jimi’s take on this classic is nothing short of amazing.  The drums are clear and crisp in the track, especially the symbol work.  The bass is less distinguishable in this song than usual but does add to the fullness of the mix.  Jimi’s solo work is well constructed and on point and tears through the track at times.  The solo work at the end of the song is a bit wondering but comes together nicely for the ending climax.
  7. Lover Man (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The guitar riffs starts the track off in a fast, alive tone.  Jimi’s vocals are excellent in both tone and quality and you can tell Jimi really feels this song.  The bass is funky and the drums are consistent.  Jimi’s guitar work is fast and shredding throughout the song.  The last minute of the song has a few points where it’s clear they are trying to find their groove in the song as a cohesive unit.  Jimi laughs and says “That was a perfect ending, good thing you were there” to close the song.
  8. Blue Suede Shoes (Live: Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, Ca., May 30, 1970) – This track starts off with Jimi’s lead guitar lick setting the stage for the rest of the song accompanied by constant bass work, and drums shortly thereafter.  This mix isn’t the best I’ve heard in that Jimi’s vocals seem to be turned down in the mix – Of course this could be a result of this being a live recording.  However, Jimi’s solo work shines bright here and has a fast flange effect to it.  The song concludes with Jimi’s guitar taking the stage in solitude and guiding the song to a fading close.
  9. Cherokee Mist (Previously Unreleased Recording) – This track starts with Jimi’s emotion laced guitar riff, which sings as if a voice.  The drums have a tribal sound style to them and accent Jimi’s guitar work perfectly.  The bass work is simple and provides good structure for the song.  An interesting track that sounds like a mix of something you might hear at a down south blues joint and a rock concert in a smaller, intimate setting.  Halfway through the song, everything stops, in what seems to be a planned reset to make the song more interesting – Jimi’s guitar work then takes over in a soft, yet beautifully singing way and guides the track.  This is one of Jimi’s finest instrumental compositions – variety, beauty, complexity.  The song comes to a close with the drums becoming more prominent in the mix and Jimi guiding the song out with the main riff.
  10. Come Down Hard On Me (Previously Unreleased Recording) – This song starts with a jerky and funky riff, which is shortly accompanied by Jimi’s vocals.  Jimi’s vocals have a demo-ish or unmastered sound to them.  Jimi’s guitar work is excellent and makes the song shine, especially when he starts soloing about half way through the song – gritty style which guides the rest of the song to a close.
  11. Hey Baby/In From The Storm (Live: Maui, Hawaii July 30, 1970) – This song starts with Jimi’s guitar murking through the track in a muddy, blues filled style.  Beautiful, emotional guitar work with a phasing effect.  This concert is infamous for not having the best sound quality which is really only evident in Jimi’s vocals, and which sound a bit muffled throughout.  The bass guitar and drums sound excellent, with an almost studio quality to them.  Jimi’s solo work is powerful and harmonious at the same time.  The last part of the song shows Jimi getting warmed up in both is rhythm and lead licks.
  12. Ezy Ryder (Alternate Recording) – This song has depth and you can hear the obvious multi-layers to the track.  Jimi’s vocals are powerful as is his guitar work.  The bass guides the song and the drums are tucked into the background.  The obvious stars here are Jimi’s vocals and guitar work.  An interesting song with multiple layers of Jimi’s vocals.  A perfect soundtrack song.
  13. Night Bird Flying (Alternate Recording) – The guitar work is very deep and has an excellent sound.  Jimi’s guitar and vocals are in perfect harmony here and you can tell Jimi’s mastery of the song.  The solo work has excellent variety and moves all over the track.  The bass and drums are at the perfect levels to accent Jimi’s composition.  The song ends with the instruments winding down in harmony.
  14. All Along The Watchtower (Live: Isle Of Wight, England, August 30, 1970) (Previously Unreleased Alternate Mix) – The drums and bass are of excellent quality in this track.  Jimi’s vocals are a bit muffled at times and his guitar levels out in distortion in a couple of places.  Jimi’s guitar work is gritty and excellent, adding rawness to the song.  The song ends with Jimi’s gritty rendition of the lead riff.
  15. In From The Storm (Live: Isle Of Wight, England, August 30, 1970) (Previously Unreleased Alternate Mix) – This track starts with prominent drums, which are joined by Jimi’s guitar work shortly after.  The bass is clear and constant, providing the guiding line of the song.  Jimi’s vocals, while excellent, compete with the musical mix of the song.  To be honest, I would say this track as a whole is not one of Jimi’s best live performances, but that’s solely because of the sound issues with Jimi’s vocals – the musical composition is in excellent form.  Jimi ends the song by saying “thank you for being so patient” to the audience, which may indicate there were sound issues that caused a delay.
  16. Slow Blues (Previously Unreleased Recording) – A short, bluesy instrumental riff that comes in at right under two minutes.  The bass is slow and funky and the drums simple and guiding.  Jimi’s guitar wonders through a set of bluesy turns.

This disc in the collection certainly has some great highlights.  There is a great selection of great sounding live songs which is nice.  There are also a couple of unreleased studio tracks which are excellent.  The best tracks on this disc are Message To Love, Earth Blues, Cherokee Mist, Ezy Ryder, and of course the instrumental Slow Blues, which is said to be the last multi-track recording Jimi ever recorded.  While not as powerful as the first disc, it’s certainly strong and comes in at 4 stars…

4 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

 

You can grab this disc and the rest of the collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 11th, 2011

This is a review of the Disc 3 of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set.  The tracks and live performances included on this installment of the box set are those representative of the third year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; 1969.  This is another excellent survey of the band that follows them through their junior year.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, and unreleased songs.  An excellent variety here.

On to disc 3…

  1. Stone Free (Alternate Recording) – This alternate take starts of with what sounds to be a more funky take than the original song.  Jimi’s vocal’s are lively butThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 3 sound a bit demo like in places.  Noel’s bass offers a constant buzz.  Jimi’s guitar  isn’t as vivid in this track as it could be but that shows why this take wasn’t used as the master.  However, on the solo Jimi’s gritty guitar work certainly shines in spite of a slight muffled tone to it in places.  The end of the song ends in a garage demo smash out style.
  2. Spanish Castle Magic (Alternate Recording) – The song starts out abruptly with muffled and rugged guitar work and drums.  Jimi’s vocals are distant and lower quality.  Overall the track just seems lower quality than the usual Jimi – an obvious demo/jam track.  However, it does have a rugged angry feeling, which would be perfect for those times you want to crank something loudly in the car doesn’t necessarily sound great, but drowns out your thoughts and gives you something to rock to – if that makes any sense.  Jimi’s solo work is wondering in places but his finger rolls are classic.  The solo work here is lengthy and it’s interesting to hear Jimi’s work in the development process.
  3. Hear My Train A Comin’ (Previously Unreleased Studio Recording) – The infamous track that most likely would have ended up on the album Jimi was working on before his untimely passing.  Jimi’s guitar is slowly melodic and funky like molasses in the most beautiful way.  Noel’s bass guitar is funky as well and the ever present foundation of the song.  Jimi’s vocals have demo quality at times and this sounds like a demo track that was being used for jamming or song development.  Jimi’s guitar work is certainly looking for a groove at times but the majority of the guitar solo work is beautiful.  The liveliness of Mitch’s drums seem to be mostly drowned out by both the strength of Noel’s bass work and the quality of the overall track, while they are present.  A pop filter was likely not used with the many pops in Jimi’s vocals on the P’s.  The song concludes with a lengthy rhythm/solo jam by Jimi in truly distorted fashion.
  4. Room Full of Mirrors (Previously Unreleased Studio Recording) – Very interesting track which starts with Jimi providing guidance on the drum’s and how he wants the bass drum dropped.  The track then kicks into Jimi’s guitar jamming in solitude which is shortly accompanied by the drums as Jimi builds harmony with his vocals.  Once the bass drops and meshes with the drums and Jimi’s guitar, the track takes on a more rhythmic sound.  Jimi’s vocals are demo like and off beat at times, which show’s this track is an obvious development track.  The entire track lack’s the liveliness and sound quality usually heard by Jimi which accounts for it being an unreleased track.  Jimi’s solo at the end is certainly interesting and the shining point in this track.  The solo has phasing, distortion, finger rolls, and shrieks.  The track ends with studio clapping and chatter.
  5. I Don’t Live Today (Live: Los Angeles Forum, Ca., April 26, 1969) (Previously Unreleased Original Mix) – This live number starts with about a minute of Jimi talking to the crowd and then drops into the song with the drum beating.  The drums on this track are mesmerizing in beginning with a African drum circle type of feel.  The way that Jimi’s guitar drops in along with his vocals is very cool.  Jimi’s guitar work is incredible throughout, both in the lead lick and the searing solo work.  Noel’s bass really becomes evident as Jimi dives into his soloing.  This is one of those songs that would have been an incredible track to experience live.  Four minutes into the song Jimi works the whammy bar and does some spaceship type soloing which winds the song down to an eventual end with the audience cheering.
  6. Little Wing (Live: Royal Albert Hall, London, February 24, 1969) – Already one of my favorites of Jimi, I initially wasn’t sure how this song would fair live, being the delicate nature of it.  This concern was instantly put to rest when Jimi’s guitar floats into the track and sings beautifully.  Jimi’s vocal’s then drop in with perfect soul and rhythm, accompanied by Noel’s precise bass and Mitch’s guiding drums.  Jimi’s guitar is extremely clear and perfect in every way.  The solo is something that truly can’t be accurately put into works – completely emotionally charged and soul engulfing.  Mitch’s drums are in perfect form here.  The cohesion of the band and the special chemistry they shared is evident on this song.
  7. Red House (Live: San Diego Sports Arena, Ca., May 25, 1969) – This track starts with Jimi introducing the track to the audience after applause.  The track has sound reminiscent of 1960’s recordings.  The track starts off with a signature, down south blues meter.  Jimi’s guitar is bluesy.  Jimi’s vocals are soft and lusty throughout and his guitar jagged and loaded with finger rolls and slight distortion.  Right around five minutes, fifty seconds into the song, the tempo increases and Jimi’s guitar work get’s into rhythm and really starts smoking which lasts for several minutes.  The last couple of minutes, the song slows back down and Jimi’s bluesy vocals reappear.  The song ends in a furry of drums, guitar, and bass and is closed with cheer from teh audience.  A thirteen minute composition, this is a real gem that doesn’t get boring.
  8. Purple Haze (Live: San Diego Sports Arena, Ca., May 25, 1969) (Previously Unreleased Original Mix) – The ultimate Jimi classic presented in live format.  The song starts much as the studio version with Jimi adding in additional finger work on the guitar.  Jimi says “Scuze me while I kiss that guy,” which is Jimi’s playful side coming out.  The drums are excellent in quality and Noel’s bass a bit distant in the background at times.  Jimi’s vocals are excellent for a live performance and his guitar has it’s signature searing tone although I think his guitar could have been a touch louder.  The song ends with Jimi shredding through a solo using the whammy bar and his turbo speed finger rolls and Jimi saying “Thank you and goodnight, and peace – and peace to you, and happiness.”
  9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (Live: Royal Albert Hall, London, February 24, 1969) – This song opens up with choppy guitar work which slams into the signature guitar lick Voodoo Chile is famous for.  Mitch’s drums and Noel’s bass aren’t far behind.  This recording show’s not only Jimi’s guitar mastery extremely well, but also showcases high quality recording quality.  Jimi’s vocals are on point and his solo work is incredible in this performance.  Listening to this on quality stereo speakers really allows you to hear the various layers and sounds in the stereo field.  Noel’s bass work is in perfect form and doesn’t miss a beat.  Jimi’s guitar solo work is loose and perfectly interwoven into the track.  About five and a half minutes into the track, the song slows down to a crawl and Jimi’s vocals reemerge, first softly, then right back into a powerful presence.  The song ends with about a minute of Jimi weaving in and out of the track with his lead guitar alternating between finger roll’s and rhythm work.
  10. Izabella (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with guitar that sounds a bit muffled but once the track drops accompanied by bass and the drums, the song pulls together well.  Jimi’s vocals are a bit int he background but still accent the song perfectly – signature Jimi.  The lead guitar, possibly the overdubs, seem turned up a bit too high in some parts of the song, and too low in other parts – possibly a mixing issue.  While certainly a worthwhile listen, and an enjoyable archive piece, it’s clear why this was not released as the master.

This disc in the collection certainly has some great highlights.  However, I don’t think any of the studio/alternative takes were really all that stellar.  The real gems come in the form of some of the live recordings such as Voodoo Chile, Little Win, and I Don’t Live Today.  Certainly not the best disc in the set and this one comes in extremely short at only 10 songs.  The live recordings however, hold this disc up and keep it at a 3.5 stars…

3.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

 

You can grab this disc and the rest of the collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 11th, 2011

This is a review of the Disc 2 of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set.  The tracks and live performances included on this installment of the box set are those representative of the second year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Late 1967 through early 1969.  This is another excellent survey of the band that follows them through their sophomore year.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, and unreleased songs.  An excellent variety here.

On with the review…The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 2

  1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live: Stockholm, Sweden, September 5, 1967) – A great live cover of the classic Beatles track.  Jimi’s vocals, while distant and drowned out at times, are rhythmic and have a hip hop type of feel to them at times.  Jimi’s guitar bends and sways through the song.  The drums are on track.  Short version, under 2 minutes.
  2. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Live: Stockholm, Sweden, September 5, 1967) – The song starts off with Jimi’s soft, mellow guitar riff.  A high quality live track in that both Jimi’s vocals and guitar are clear as are the drums and bass in the song.  There is a slight bit of hissing throughout.  Jimi’s vocals are strong and have an excellent R&B flavor.  Jimi’s guitar has a flange effect on it throughout.  Mitch Mitchell offers slower but finely tuned in drums.  Jimi’s solo is raw and clear.  Noel Redding provides a funky and consistent bass line.  A slower, more mellow song.
  3. Little Wing (Alternate Recording) – A rougher, seemingly un-mastered version of this classic Hendrix composition.  Jimi’s guitar sings deep to the listeners soul.  Noel Redding provides guiding, plunky bass throughout.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are repetitive but in perfect rhythm.  The star is obviously Jimi’s guitar.  The solo is searing and makes you drop your head back and close your eyes in bliss.  Another of Jimi’s all time shining moments which didn’t even require vocals.  A swaying, psychedelic type sound from Jimi’s guitar ends the song.
  4. Little Miss Lover (Alternate Recording) – This song starts with just drums which sounds great.  Jimi’s guitar has a phasing type of effect on it and his vocals seem a bit like the were recorded in a tin can at times.  Noel Redding’s bass work has lots of movement and flavor.  Jimi’s solo is full of classic finger work.  The song fades out with the band still in full force.
  5. The Wind Cries Mary (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 9, 1967) – Jimi starts saying “this guitar is no more good, do you want it?”  Maybe a lucky fan got that hammer!  Jimi thanks the audience for welcoming their rookie performance the year prior.  Jimi’s guitar is soft and blues ridden and sounds good live.  Jimi’s vocals are solid and on cue.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are soft and in the distance as is Noel Redding’s bass.  Jimi’s solo proves he could bring what he created in the studio to the stage very well.  Overall, an excellent live track both in sound and composition.
  6. Catfish Blues (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 9, 1967) – An excellent slow, blues song.  Jimi’s guitar is raw and extremely bluesy.  Jimi provides deep, soul & blues vocals that sing right along with his guitar licks.  The drums are rapid fire in some places but mellow, and distant at times.  Jimi’s solo is rough, rugged, and raw in a good way.  An amazing live song.  Mitch Mitchell has a drum solo which he adds an African type sound to.  The bass line by Noel Redding is excellent.  The guitar solo work at the end is distorted with the song fading out.  Another awesome sounding live song.
  7. Bold As Love (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with Jimi gently sliding on the guitar.  Right when the main riff kicks in, you get that euphoric head bobbing feeling that only a Jimi Hendrix guitar ballad can bring you.  The bass by Noel Redding plays a huge role in the sound of the song.  The glockenspiel seems to be present and accents the song nicely.  Jimi’s guitar work is legendary and sways smoothly throughout the song.  About a third of the way through the song, Jimi’s guitar has a flanging type effect on it, adding to the ambiance of the song.  Jimi’s work on the guitar neck and his fast finger rolls keep this slow moving song somehow moving fast.  Some of Jimi’s solo work is searing and screams through the song.  The song ends with a ripping guitar solo that slows down with pinging drums accompanying.
  8. Sweet Angel (Alternate Recording) – The drums come from a makeshift keyboard Jimi was using to keep time.  Jimi’s guitar is clean and beautiful.  Jimi’s vocals are smooth as butter and really do an excellent job selling the love song.  The bass guides the song right along.  Everything seems excellent but the drums just seem a bit out of place because of the sound quality.  Jimi’s candid laughs throughout the song are a great effect.  Jimi’s solo work at the end of the song is soft, yet striking.
  9. Fire (Live: Clark University, Worcester, Ma. March 15, 1968) – One of the more popular Jimi compositions out there.  The song starts off with a different beginning that the recorded version.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are powerful as are Noel Redding’s backup vocals.  Jimi’s vocals seem a bit more distant than Noel’s which was probably due to microphone placement.  Jimi’s guitar solo work is flat out screaming and raw.  At times the song seems a bit rushed.
  10. Somewhere (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The song starts with a count off.  The guitar riff is instantly full of blues accompanied by blues vocals from Jimi.  The drums are present but stay in the background of the song.  Jimi’s guitar solo work is packed with singing soul.  The bass line is front and center and the designated driver for the song.  Toward the end of the song there are some cool variations in Mitch Mitchell’s drum work.
  11. (Have You Ever Been To) Electric Ladyland (Alternate Recording) – The song starts of with some studio chatter.  The song is demo sounding with a slight muffled sound on the guitar.  No drums are included, nor vocals.  Jimi’s guitar still sounds excellent playing this classic guitar riff.  The entire track clocks in at about a minute and a half.
  12. Gypsy Eyes (Alternate Recording) – The song starts off with Mitch Mitchell’s rhythmic drums.  Jimi’s vocals are powerful and stand out.  The guitar riff has a slightly rugged sound to it which works perfectly with the song.  Sounds like Jimi may have overdubbed vocals on the song which adds to their prominence.  There is a guiding bass line provided by Noel Redding.  At times, there’s an almost Arabic sound to Jimi’s guitar slides.
  13. Room Full Of Mirrors (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with a bit of a tin can sound on the guitar.  A down south, blues type song.  Jimi’s rough guitar is accompanied by a harmonica which adds a lot of depth to the song.  A short song at about a minute and a half.
  14. Gloria (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The song starts with bass and drums setting the tone before Jimi’s raw guitar riff comes in.  The bass riff is simple but consistent.  Jimi’s vocals are a bit rough at times and seem drowned out by the instruments.  However, Jimi’s vocals are smooth and soul filled.  This song clocks in at nearly 9 minutes long but never gets boring or monotone.  Jimi’s guitar work is perfectly placed and bending.  A Van Morrison cover.  A little past half way through the song, Jimi starts clowning around with the vocal content and talks about Noel Redding having a girl named Gloria and how she had horrible breath.  Jimi said this is a more spicy manner, which was hilarious.  Jimi’s guitar has heavy distortion which sounds great.
  15. It’s Too Bad (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The song starts with Jimi’s guitar moaning like something you’d hear in a tavern some place in the south.  This song is about Jimi’s brother Leon coming over and asking for money.  Jimi’s guitar is bluesy and engulfing.  Buddy Miles provides simple drums that do their job well.  The bass line is also simple.  There’s an effect on Jimi’s guitar which seems purposely distant with a hint of distortion.  The song clocks in at almost 9 minutes.  There is also an organ involved in the song which mixes well with the band.
  16. Star Spangled Banner (Previously Unreleased Studio Recording) – You have probably heard the infamous Woodstock performance of this song.  However, this is the studio version which is actually much different.  Jimi’s guitar sings the national anthem like that of a highly skilled soul singer at the super bowl.  The guitar playing is amazing as well as clear.  It’s obvious as Jimi’s guitar screams through this track that no one thought of using the guitar in ways that he did.  There is no bass guitar or drums.

This disc in the collection certainly has some great highlights.  There is a great selection of great sounding live songs which is nice.  There are also a couple of unreleased studio tracks which are excellent.  The inclusion of the studio version of The Star Spangled Banner is a gem, no doubt.  While I don’t think that this disc is as powerful as the first one, it is certainly a classic disc.  Certainly a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars on this disc…

4.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

You can grab this disc and the rest of the collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,

Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 11th, 2011

This is a review of the Disc 1 of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set.  The tracks and live performances included on this installment of the box set are those representative of the first year of The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Late 1966 through 1967.  This is an excellent survey of the band that charts their way through the first year of their existence.  There are live songs, alternate recordings, unreleased instrumentals, and even an unreleased song.  An excellent variety here.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set Disc 1

And away we go…

  1. Purple Haze (Alternate Recording) – An extremely early recording, one of the first from the newly formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Rougher sounding but by no means bad. Signature distortion on the guitar.   Breath filled breathing throughout the song. Vocals are raw and at times seem slightly off beat. Killer guitar work. Shredding guitar distortion and spacey vocals bring this song to an end.
  2. Killing Floor (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 18, 1966) – One of the first performances by The Jimi Hendrix performance.  Jimi’s vocals are strong and full of desire.  His guitar work is slightly distant but still searing.  Mitch Mitchell provides excellent drums which give great traction to the song.  Very high quality recording, especially for being so old.  Jimi’s solo shreds even though it seems a bit distance sound wise.
  3. Hey Joe (Live: Olympia Theater, Paris, France, October 18, 1966) – Another song from the early Olympia performance.  The song starts off slow and Jimi’s vocals are a bit more mellow and harmonious than later recorded versions.  Jimi’s guitar work is right on the mark.  The drums are slow and guiding.  The recording isn’t the greatest which contributes a bit more a distorted effect to Jimi’s guitar at times.
  4. Foxey Lady (Alternate Recording) – One of Jimi’s all time classics.  An early recording of the song shortly after The Jimi Hendrix Experience became a unit.  Jimi’s vocals show the fact that he hadn’t sang this song hundreds of times as later recordings/performances would reveal.  The guitar work is gritty, rugged & raw.  The guitar riff has a slightly different flare in it which can be slightly heard towards the end of the song prior to the screeching ending and the studio chatter.
  5. Highway Chile (Alternate Recording) – The song starts off with an excellent tempo guided by Jimi’s vocal and the drums.  Jimi’s guitar is raw and sounds great.  Jimi’s solo is searing and slightly repetitive.  Jimi’s signature finger rolls can be heard in his playing.  The course is excellent.
  6. Hey Joe (Alternate Recording) – This song starts of hilarious as Jimi messes up on vocals.  You can hear his chatter for a while before getting back into the vocals.  Another early recording on this song.  Female background vocals not heard on other versions accent the song.  Jimi’s guitar sounds like it has a “ping” type of sound to it but still rocks as usual.  Noel Redding provides solid guidance throughout the song with his consistent bass.
  7. Title #3 (Previously Unreleased Recording) – This instrumental is a heck of a jam track.  Jimi’s guitar rocks throughout and is guided by Mitch Mitchell’s drums.  Jimi’s guitar has a nice amateurish (for Jimi) distortion sound to it.  In one portion of the song, remnants of “Winter Wonder Land” seem to be present.  Jimi’s fast moving finger rolls stand out as do his screaming, distortion led guitar shreds.  The song ends with faded chatter.
  8. Third Stone From the Sun (Alternate Recording) – The song starts outs with mistakes in the opening of the space invader type dialog and Jimi laughing uncontrollably.  Very funny beginning.  A rare occurrence of hearing Chas Chandler contributing to a song via the dialog in the beginning.  Jimi then goes into his poetry laced verses with occasion laughs about the oddness of the track.  The music then drops in with weird alien sounds accenting throughout.  The beautiful opening riff is present and makes you immediately stop and take notice.  Jimi’s solo work is in perfect form and adds to the excellence of the song.  Jimi recites his poetic lyrics in talkative style throughout.  There are sound effects which mimic the sound of a space ship gliding through the universe.  Mitch Mitchel provides lively drums which make the track come alive as does Noel Redding’s funky bass riff.  Heavy distortion and breaks in the song mirror the effect of space type sounds.  Jimi’s guitar shreds and effect driven dialog further add to this effect.  Jimi’s statement “You’ll never hear surf music again” is an ode to the musical direction that he was headed in.  Unpredictable breaks and space sounding distortion command the song.
  9. Taking Care Of No Business (Previously Unreleased Recording) – The song starts with dialog before going into Jimi and his guitar singing a bluesy track with the sound of glasses clinking together and people chattering similar to a club scene.  This ambiance was later carried into the song My Friend which showed up on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun.  Jimi says “Play the horn” and then goes into using his voice to mimic a horn sound which actually sounds awesome.  There is a tamberine present to accent the beat and rhythm of the song.  Jimi’s guitar is a bit muffled and murky.  Jimi cracks a few funny jokes in “I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention” and “I’m so poor I couldn’t even give you the time” towards the end of the song.
  10. Here He Comes (Lover Man) (Previously Unreleased Instrumental) – An instantly fast moving song driven by Jimi’s fast guitar riff.  He’s joined by drums that keep their place in the background.  Noel Redding provides a thumping bass riff.  Jimi’s guitar riff is soloesque.  Jimi’s playing throughout has a good amount of distortion that works well.  This is the instrumental version of this song which would later be finished by the band.
  11. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with a carnival/Asian sound combination which is hard to be explained but sounds cool.  Jimi plays a harpsichord instead of his usual guitar.  Jimi messes up in the beginning and starts over again.  This song is a short test instrumental which ends abruptly.
  12. If 6 Was 9 (Alternate Recording) – The song starts with echoed vocals by Jimi.  Jimi’s guitar is hidden in the background a bit with his vocals commanding the song.  Mitch Mitchell provides sparse drums to accent Jimi’s commanding vocals in the beginning of the song.  Jimi’s vocals weave in and out of a kind of poetic dialog to singing.  A muffled sound seems to be purposely present in areas of the song as are echoes.  The song is full of soft spoken vocals, echoes, distortion, and unpredictable breaks which seems to be the theme of the song.  The song ends with shrieking distortion that made my dog go nuts while I was listening which eventually fades to silence.
  13. Rock Me Baby (Live: Monterey International Pop Festival, June 18, 1967) (Alternate Mix) – While the song is live, the sound quality is excellent.  The song starts off with Jimi’s shy chatter to the crowd before he let’s his guitar, which is not shy, take control and launch into this fast moving guitar driven track.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums fire like machine guns.  There is plenty of distortion on Jimi’s guitar.  Jimi’s combines his guitar skill with distortion and feedback masterfully during his solos.
  14. Like A Rolling Stone (Live: Monterey International Pop Festival, June 18, 1967) (Alternate Mix) – Jimi starts this song playing his guitar and talking to the crowd.  Mitch Mitchell’s drums are clear and on track.  Jimi’s guitar is rugged and beautiful.  Jimi’s vocals evoke emotion in the listener.  The song is mellow with a dark bass presence.  Jimi maintains a playful dialog like rapport with the audience throughout his vocals, chuckles included.

The first disc of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Box Set doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a perfect blend of alternate and early takes, mixed with live tracks and a couple of unreleased tracks sprinkled throughout.  This disc earns an easy 5 out of 5 stars as it accomplishes it’s goal of being a rarities box set well on this disc.  That rating covers both experienced Hendrix fans which will love this as well as new Hendrix recruits.  The sound quality is superb, even on the early and live recordings…

5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

You can grab this disc and the rest of the collection at Amazon pretty affordably for a box set.  You can grab it through the Amazon link below and Amazon will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,

Chris Elliott Signature

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As a Kindle owner, I buy a lot of literature collections.  I recently found a new eBook publisher by the name of Delphi Classics at delphiclassics.com

Delphi Classics sells complete literature collections for authors like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, etc.

First, I purchased the Charles Dickens collection and upon going through it, found that there were missing works so I e-mailed the publisher letting them know.  Peter

Delphi Classics Kindle Collections (delphiclassics.com)

Delphi Classics Kindle Collections (delphiclassics.com)

Russell, the owner asked me to hold off on leaving negative feedback until the edition was updated, so I obliged.  I also purchased several other works by this publisher and found that every one of them had a ton of missing works.  This is important because the seller advertises them as “complete collections,” even taking it further by stating…

“This is the COMPLETE WORKS of Mark Twain. Why buy any other Kindle version, which will have texts missing? This is the only eBook available with every novel, every short story – even the very rare ones – essay, travel book, non-fiction text, letter and much, much more! Now you can truly own all of Twain’s works on your Kindle, and all in ONE file.”

Every release by Delphi Classics has a similar statement.  Sadly, I reviewed and purchased more than a half dozen of these products and all of them were missing a ton of works by the author, which is obviously false advertising. I was able to find tons of missing works with about 30 minutes of research time so finding these is extremely easy and show’s that the seller is just quickly copying and pasting items, most likey from Project Gutenberg, and slapping them up as “complete” without any research whatsoever.  All of the delphi classics products are also listed as having “excellent formatting” and in some cases, are even listed as having “perfect formatting,” but in each of them, I found hundreds of pages of formatting errors.  When I asked the seller, Peter Russell about this, he said “it isn’t feasible at the moment to proofread all of the text.”  I then said that was fine, but he shouldn’t be advertising that each of these collections has “excellent formatting” or as “complete collections” if those statements weren’t true, and this is where Peter Russell got confrontational.

Peter Russell Of Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com)

Peter Russell Of Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com)

After purchasing several collections and finding missing works and formatting errors in each, I was getting a bit frustrated as I was paying for accuracy.  After all, I can get badly formatted versions for free at Project Gutenberg and directly on Amazon.  I didn’t feel that it was right that I had to do the research I was paying the publisher to do so I figured I would just leave appropriate feedback on Amazon regarding the missing works.  However, I noticed that Delphi Classics was a new business and didn’t want to tarnish their reputation so I came up with a way to make lemons out of lemonade – I contacted Peter and offered to do the research I had been doing for free up until this point, in exchange for review copies of the products before they went live instead of just leaving appropriate feedback and moving on.  Peter then sent me the complete collection of Wilkie Collins, which I reviewed and sent back with a list of missing works and formatting errors.  I let him know I could do several more and this is where things got weird.  He then said he would send no more and got rude for seemingly no reason at all – the second the confusing (and rude) ways he treated me.

Of course, I let him know that I couldn’t just continue to spend hours doing the research on these “complete collections,” which I was paying him to do when I purchased his products.  I assumed that Peter would then take more care in researching his products prior to releasing them and prior to advertising them as “complete and having every single work, even the rare ones” but I was wrong.  I purchased several more releases only to find that they were missing a ton of works.  In fact, one of the collections, Leo Tolstoy, had 18 missing works that are in the public domain and available to be put into the collection, which I was able to find in about 30 minutes of research.  I then left appropriate feedback for each of these collections that were being falsely advertised.  One of my reviews was one star, such as Leo Tolstoy, because they were missing so much content but I was completely fair in my reviews.  I was not alone in my one star review of the Tolstoy collection – Another use left a one star review because of all the typo’s in the text making it nearly impossible to read.  I even left a three star review for the Mark Twain collection in spite of it missing his auto-biography and having a ton of formatting errors and praised the Delphi work there.  But again, we have another occurrence of Peter Russell getting aggressive with me for seemingly no reason…

After my reviews, Peter Russell of Delphi Classics started commenting on my reviews with personal attacks saying that I threatened to leave negative reviews if he didn’t give me free copies of his books, which is completely fabricated.  Sure, I said I would leave appropriate feedback based on the actual missing works and formatting errors, but was already planning that when I purchased a product before having any contact with Peter, and I held of on doing so at his request.  I purchased his products first, I did research for his products for free first, I held back on leaving negative feedback at the request of Peter while he updated the products.  To show how vindictive Peter is, he even debated with me over the auto-biography of Mark Twain being in the public domain, which I quickly proved him to be wrong on – all it took was five minutes worth of research and the work is even available for free download on Project Gutenberg!  Now Peter thinks he is going to be able to get Amazon to remove my reviews based on his lies when my reviews all contain facts that are easily verifiable by Amazon or any other customer on Amazon.  You can’t dispute the truth, and when you download the products and compare it with my review everything becomes clear.

The real scam artist is clear here.  I did research and found missing works in the complete collections of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Sir Conan Arthur Doyle, Wilkie Collins for free, I wasn’t paid a dime, and if I hadn’t, Peter Russell at Delphi Classics would still be selling people these incomplete collections he was advertising as complete.  The Mark Twain collection is still missing items, even after all of my research!  There are also still a TON of collections he’s selling on Amazon as complete which are still far from complete.

The sad thing about this situation is that the Delphi releases do have a ton of value, I’m not dogging his work completely.  Some of them are missing a lot of work, but many of them are great products, which I voiced in my Mark Twain review on Amazon. Peter Russell, however is very unprofessional in his dealings with customers and if you mention that they are missing works and littered with hundreds of pages of formatting errors, he immediately get’s rude.  Leave negative feedback and prove that there’s a missing work in your review, and he goes completely ballistic.

Update – Peter Russell Is Now Scamming Amazon.com Via Fake Reviews On His Own Products…

I’ve discovered that Peter Russell is attempting to “game” the Amazon review system by planting reviews under fake names!  I’ll detail this scam via screen shots to prove it (the screen shots are a bit smushed but can be clicked for the full size, clear image).  Good luck trying to change them Peter, they’re immortalized on this blog forever now and Amazon.com certainly has records of them!

This feedback scam has been taking place via three fake accounts Peter Russell created on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk under the names “L Bryant” and “John Khastin.” What’s funny is that he thinks he did a good job diguising this, but he hasn’t.  In fact, the dates that reviews are posted, and even the matching writing style expose this very clearly.  To top that off, Peter even had the two fake accounts interacting with each other in an attempt to combat completely accurate negative reviews by two customers!

What’s even more revealing is that these fake accounts were created when Delphi Classics started releasing products and have ONLY reviewed DelphiClassics.com releases with 5 stars – a couple of reviews have been sprinkled in with the Delphi ones on one of the accounts in an effort to make the accounts look natural but, again, they have been reviewed on the same day as the Delphi reviews.  And when you see how one of these fake accounts seemingly jumps across continents to Amazon.co.uk, you’ll be even more surprised!

And if all this wasn’t enough, Amazon put’s a link next to each product you review, which you’ve actually purchased, that says “Amazon Verified Purchase” and NONE of these reviews have actually been purchased!  Add on the fact that Amazon.com also put’s a “Real Name” badge next to your name when you have a credit card on file with them and none of these accounts having that badge, and it’s plain to see that these accounts are certainly fake.  But that’s not all…

Firstly, we’ll introduce the first fraudulent Amazon account, “John Khastin,” who’s very first Amazon review ever, just happens to come in response to a completely legitimate 1 star review on the Leo Tolstoy Delphi Classics release on April 28th…

Delphi Classics Scam JohnKhastin1

It’s important to note that this reader states they have gone through and the formatting is excellent and that he “hasn’t seen a complete works like this,” when in fact, this collection has a ton of missing works, which I verified.

Now here’s where this get’s REALLY interesting!  The second fraudulent account under the name “L Bryant” comes to the rescue less than 24 hours later and “agrees” with “John,” on the same Leo Tolstoy review, while *playfully* interacting with him – again praising formatting and completeness, which has been verified to not be accurate, by two independent sources!…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam L Bryant

Now we’re back to April 28th with “John Khastin” again, who has another glowing review, this time about the Charles Dicken’s release praising how complete it is.  However, I purchased this product myself and it was missing work, I sent a list to the publisher.  So it’s beyond me how “John”, who happens to have all of Dickens’ print works, and meticulously went through and checked everything is stating how complete it is, when I found stuff missing (and formatting errors) in just 30 minutes worth of online research…

Delphi Classics Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

What’s even more interesting is when “L Bryant,” again, less than 24 hours later, hits Amazon with a 5 star review for the Delphi Classics Jane Austen collection.  What’s important to note here is that “L Bryant” is first talking about how “dazzling” the Dicken’s product is, but he hasn’t reviewed it.  However, “John Khastin” did, less than 24 hours previously.  What’s the matter Peter, getting your accounts mixed up?  Forgetting which account reviewed each of your own products?

DelphiClassics.com Scam John Khastin

Now we have yet another incredible development (and leap across the ocean)!  24 hours later, “L Bryant” has now registered a account on Amazon.co.uk and left a glowing review of the the DelphiClassics.com Oscar Wilde collection!  Firstly, I purchased the Oscar Wilde “Complete Collection” and it’s missing 29 poems and 19 of Oscar’s essays!  A FAR cry from complete I’d say.

This jump from the US to the UK is interesting because you cannot order Kindle products from Amazon.co.uk unless you have an account separate from the US Amazon.com website.  Most importantly, you must also have a UK address and credit card to match that address on file with Amazon.co.uk.

So did “L Bryant” move to the UK in less than 24 hours?  I don’t think so, especially since he’s not done leaving US reviews yet (read on)…

Delphi Classics Peter Russell Scam L Bryant 3

Back to the US Batman!  “John Khastin” is back with a 5 star review of the Mark Twain release by DelphiClassics.com.  Sadly, I found so many missing works and formatting errors in this item after I purchased it, I could not believe it.  I sent the publisher a list of several pages (and sent them to Amazon) of these errors…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

And “John” is not done yet!  On the same day he comes and writes a review in response to my review on the George Eliot Delphi Classics review, which pointed out numerous missing works, and writes in a confusing “voice of the company” kind of tone.  He also alludes to the fact that I might have George Eliot “confused with some other writer” when referring my finding missing texts.  Wrong, I verified them on multiple sources and even looked at the texts online.  Nice try though Peter.  Or should I say John? Or should I say L Bryant? …

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

And guess who’s back on the same day as “John Khastin?”  That’s right, “L Bryant” has a review on the “amazing” Edgar Allen Poe release by Delphi.  Peter Russell has been a busy bee today!…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam L Bryant 4

If those aren’t dirty tactics (most likely illegal) I don’t know what are.  The writing style, use of words, and tone of the writing by both “John Khastin” and “L Bryant” is exactly the same and also matches Peter Russell’s writing – we don’t need to be forensic writing analysts to see that.

Not a shocker on the rating of Peter Russell and his Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com) brand…

Zero Stars Chris Elliott Rated

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

 

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Many of you, my readers, are audiophiles like myself.

I love music and I go out of my way to buy updated, deluxe, and special editions of albums by my favorite artists so I can get bonus tracks and better quality recordings when possible.

Unfortunately, lately, I’ve found that multiple record companies and music distribution companies are using little to no quality control and putting out CD’s that have errors in them.  What this means is that you’ll buy a CD and it will have digital pops or skips in the songs.

If you like to rock your music semi-loudly on occasion, these pops will actually sound like they are going to damage (tear) your speakers, especially if you use any kind of higher end stereo equipment.  Kind of backwards if you ask me, the better your stereo equipment, the worse these CD’s sound.

And this just hasn’t happened once.  In fact, out of the last batch of CD’s I bought, 4 CD’s or CD sets have had these digital pops or skips.  What’s even more shocking is that 3 of the 4 are deluxe/remastered editions of the album purchased!

Testing & Confirmation…

Just to make sure it wasn’t MY system, I tried the CD’s in my high end stereo, in my computer with high end speakers, and in my car stereo.  3 seperate stero systems by different companies.  After this testing, all of the pops were still present in each system.

To further test, I took one of the discs back to the store (Best Buy) where it was purchased and exchanged it 5 times to find that all of their copies were defective.  If you’ve read this blog for long, you already know the horror story of getting that situation resolved in this blog post about Best Buy.  The CD was Trill OG by Bun B (Deluxe Best Buy Edition) and to give the manufacturer another chance, I ordered a copy online versus buying it locally after all this.  It was from a different state and different warehouse but had the same pops.  This CD has these pops throughout the last 5 songs on the CD.

To further my test even more, I also picked up the digital (iTunes) versions of a couple of these CD’s and guess what?  No skips!  It’s plain to see that the record companies are providing clean masters to the distribution companies but that the companies who are physically pressing CD’s are using sub-par equipment/materials or processes to produce the CD’s.

Additional Problems, Additional CD’s…

In addition to the Bun B – Trill OG CD issues that I’ve had which have been documented on the blog post mentioned above, three other CD’s or CD sets come immediately to mind that suffer from these same pops…

Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland – There are a couple of pops in the last songs of the CD.  These are part of the Sony and Experience Hendrix wave of “remastered” re-releases so this is shameful.

Big L – Return Of The Devils Son – There is are digital pops on Track 5, the song School Days, starting at 2:19 in the song.  Track 19 also has so many pops and distortions after 2 minutes into the song, it’s painful to listen to.

The Word Of Promise Audio Bible – There is clearly a digital skip in Isaiah Chapter 54, Verse 7 in which a portion of the scripture is left out.  After months of being told a replacement would be forthcoming, I finally had to get assertive with the support person who shipped me a replacement 3 separate times, all of which had the error.  After that, a completely new set was sent, again with the error.  To their credit, after this, they did send me a refund check and apologize after going through this process for months.

I noticed that two of the discs are labled as being distributed by Fontana Distribution.  I couldn’t find mention of Fontana on the other two but they have a different form of packaging so confirmation of these also being put out by Fontana is inconclusive.

Attempts To Resolve This…

Sony Legacy, Fontana Distribution, Rap-A-Lot Records, and Bun B ignored my attempts to contact them regarding these errors sent over 4 months ago.  I’m sure they figure I’m one guy, forget me, they don’t care.

I’m a marketing consultant and copywriter for a living and work with packaging and product consulting, but I’ll be the first to say that it’s down right dishonest and wrong for these companies to make everything look shiny and new with flashy packaging, and then to deliver a sub-par CD of audio, which is what you’re really buying anyway!

As I publish this, I am also contacting Sony Legacy, Experience Hendrix, Fontana Distribution, Rap-A-Lot Records, and SMC Recordings for a comment regarding how they plan on rectifying all of these defective releases.  While I don’t anticipate that they will respond based on their previous history of ignoring communication, I will update this blog if they do respond.

This post will continue to grow.  While I don’t have thousands of CD’s, it seems that a large percentage of CD’s I listen to for the first time in my collection have these issues, which is disturbing.  I will continue to update this blog post with new information as it becomes available.

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on December 19th, 2010


Commentary:
Since I first posted the blog post about Incansoft’s fraudulent activities, there have been some interesting developments.  Shockingly, after the post, Mike Kotzakolios, owner of Incansoft actually scaled up his rudeness and his illegal activities including stealing hundreds of dollars from me.  To read more about my initial post as well as the 5 recent updates on Incansoft and Mike Kotzakolios click that link.

As promised, here’s the press release that’s going out to the PR outlets today…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Chris Elliott
iBeChris.com
361-356-6617
http://www.ibechris.com/contact-me/

Internet Scam Artist Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios Of Incansoft Hiding Out In Greece

Corpus Christi, Texas, December 19th, 2010Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios, owner of Incansoft software has a proven track record of selling broken software products, refusing to fix software issues, threatening customers, and flat out stealing people’s money. Chris Elliott shares his story detailing the nightmare in his recent dealings with Incansoft and Mike Kotzakolios. He is sharing his story with the public to help other potential victims avoid being ripped off.

Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios operates a software website called Incansoft out of his house in Greece, which is infamous for its selling of defective and broken software applications. When the problems are presented to him to be fixed, Kotzakolios lies about fixing the issues and then resorts first to being rude and making low level threats. Second, customers who continue to ask for fixes so that they can use their purchases, then have their software completely deactivated and their money stolen.

Chris Elliott, one of Incansofts growing group of victims, has detailed his unfortunate story with Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios and his unprofessional support staff on his blog, by posting the company’s actual e-mails on his website. Dozens of comments from additional victims have already been posted, and a movement seems to be starting in order to stop the threats, fraud, and theft perpetrated by Incansoft…

http://www.ibechris.com/bad-business/software-scam-incansoft-michalis-big-mike-kotzakolios-traffic-mania-john-rodgers/

Kotzakolios, who has happily calls himself the “Drunken Greek,” is hidden away from the US, UK, and Australia, where most of the people who give him money reside. His location prevents anyone from finding him or perusing litigation against him. The most popular (and bug infested) programs that Kotzakolios and Incansoft are pushing include SocialBot, RSSBot, ArticleBot, DirectoryBot, PressBot, PadBot, BlogBot, VideoBot, Llama Spin, RSS Gadgets, IncanBot and GFX Writer.

For additional information, interview requests, and media inquiries, contact Chris Elliott by phone at 361-356-6617 or by e-mail at http://www.ibechris.com/contact-me/

Chris Elliott’s web address is http://www.ibechris.com

iBeChris.com is the personal web home of Chris Elliott who is a copywriter to companies like AAA Auto Club, PGA Golf, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies. He is also a father to two beautiful daughters, a husband to a beautiful wife and a minister running a local ministry that helps feed hungry families. On his blog, you’ll find everything from his reviews of his favorite music, to his poetry, to his reporting, making underhanded companies pay in the media.

# # #
(End Release)

As you can probably imagine, the rating for Incansoft stands at a strong zero out of five stars…

Incansoft Scam

Thanks for staying tuned.

As more developments present themselves, I will continue to update this blog and spread the word.

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on December 8th, 2010

Well here we are – The release of Michael Jackson’s first posthumous album: Michael by Michael Jackson. I’ve been extremely excited for this release for a long time and was lucky to find that they were streaming the full album on December 8th, from Michael’s official Facebook page. So here it is, more than a week before it’s even released, the full song by song review of the new Michael Jackson album, Michael…Michael Jackson Michael Review

1)  Hold My Hand featuring Akon – This song is absolutely incredible. One of the best songs I’ve heard in a long, long time. This song is emotional and extremely catchy. No doubt will be the biggest hit off of the album and be played to death on the radio. I cannot get the song out of my head. Hearing Akon and Michael do a song together is something of pure beauty and I can only imagine this song was just the start of what would have been a TON of additional recordings had Michael not passed away. I will say that I have a different version of the song, the original version, which has minor differences, but that I like more. Regardless of that, this song is just incredible. I can’t say enough good things about it.

If you’re interested, here is the Hold My Hand official music video that was just released as well…

2)  Hollywood Tonight – The song starts which a church choir chanting which is quickly overtaken by Michael beat boxing and a bass filled music track. A very intense song with Michael’s vocals showing just how much he’s evolved and grown (in a good way). About a girl going Hollywood and capitalizing on potential opportunities. There is a whispery, spoken vocal by someone I can’t recognize who could potentially be Teddy Riley. The course is melodic and powerful with Michael really getting into thevocals.

3)  Keep Your Head Up – A deeper, emotional song. A soft track with Michael’s vocals smoothly flowing over the track. The music has a lot of rhythm guided by the prominent kick drum and snare taps. The song shows Michael’s confidence in his voice. His vocals are accented by church chorus like vocals which work well with the track. There are some of Michael’s signature “Whoooo’s” in the song but to me, they just don’t sound like signature Michael. It’s possible they were from one of the background singers.

4)  (I Like) The Way You Love Me – The song starts off with Michael singing and beat boxing on the phone. The music comes in with an up-tempo, innocent type of beat. Michael’s vocals start off in solitude and sound incredible. Michael’s vocals definitely get you floatin’ on this track. The music is accompanied by a constant banging on the piano giving the song structure. There is also a flute present during the course which works perfectly with Michael’s vocals. A song about love and the fruits of it such as kissing and hugging. At the end of the song, Michaels vocals have a bit of auto-tune on them to bring the song to a close.

5)  Monster featuring 50 Cent – The song starts off with a bang and glass shattering. The music track has rhythm reminiscent of the Dangerous album. The beat is repetitious, fast, and hard hitting. The song is accented by Michael’s screams. Michael’s vocals are emotional filled throughout the entire song. 50 Cent said in an interview that they didn’t record this song together before his death but had talked about it prior to his death so 50’s vocals were done after his passing. 50’s verse is ambitious, you can tell he put his entire heart into the track with a hardcore verse trying to represent Michael right and he shines. Definitely one of the more heavy hitting songs on Michael.

6)  Best Of Joy – A softer song with Michael’s vocals having an almost childlike quality. About love and how it will never end. A happy go lucky feeling to the song. The track is guided by a simple drum kick and some keys letting Michael’s voice shine. The simplicity of the song actually makes it better than it would have been with a bunch of overproduction and Michael shows his vocal skill.

7)  Breaking News – The songs starts with a barrage of news clips from news shows and then jumps into a fast drum based track. The song is about Michael’s bouts with the media and his vocals are emotionally charged. The course is accented by what seems to be some light auto tune and overdubs by Michael. The kick drum is present throughout sounding like a machine gun at times. The keys play an excellent melody. The course repeats a lot but is excellent – This song could very well be a second single, after Hold My Hand with Akon.

8 )  (I Can’t Make It) Another Day featuring Lenny Kravitz – The song starts of dramatically with a bass filled intro and a synthesized melody, seeming kind of slow. Then the chorus hits and Michael goes into a rock filled rage screaming his vocals with guitar blazing. Michael’s signature “hee hee’s” are present and almost eerie at times knowing he’s gone. Funky, dirty guitar work is present on the chorus making the song really get you into a grove. Lenny shreds on the guitar during a short solo and offers perfect background vocals on the chorus which accent Michael’s vocals extremely well. An awesome collaboration between Michael and Lenny Kravitz.

9)  Behind The Mask – The song starts off with a blues saxophone playing over a buzzing crowd which builds anticipation for the fast paced beat that drops in. Funky, deep bass guitar is prominent in the track. Michael’s vocals in the chorus are accompanied by a computer/synthesizer sounding vocal. Michael’s vocals are strong but seem a bit rough and raw in that they seem to have a bit of distortion at times. This was likely a demo track that they mastered as well as they could after Michael’s untimely passing. There is a saxophone solo which is incredible and really gets you groovin’. A very good song seemingly about the masks him and his kids wear on the surface with a deeper meaning behind the message. The song ends with Michael’s vocals accompanied by a female backup singer exchanging emotional yells.

10)  Much Too Soon – A slower, ballad type song with horns. Michael’s vocals are the clear star here and are showcased well. An almost orchestra like music track backs Michael’s vocals. There is an an old style harmonica and acoustic guitar accent. Michael’s vocals are simple yet clear and honest. The song has an almost lullaby like quality similar to something you would sing to your kids. There are no drums on the track. A very good and emotional close to Michael’s album.

I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan for a long, long time. When I was a little kid about 3 years old, my mother told me I used to dance to his music whenever it came on TV. I can recall my earliest purchase when it comes to music being the Off The Wall album. For me to say that this album was an emotional one to listen to would be an understatement.

Conclusion On Michael by Michael Jackson

Now that I’ve vented my love for Michael’s music, I’d like to bring everything together – This album is 100% classic. It clocks in at 41 minutes and 42 seconds of music. Sure, it would have been nice if they included more music but these were the immediate and most recent tracks Michael created which would amount to an album he may have envisioned.

The songs are incredible, of extremely high production quality and representative of where Michael was going with his music. His evolution and clear growth is easily observed in this album. I am comfortable calling this one of Michael’s best releases and giving Michael by Michael Jackson an easy 5 star rating…

5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

If you found this review helpful and want to pick the album up, you can get it pretty cheap on Amazon.com and they’ll kick me down a few cents…

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

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