Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jimi Hendrix, Innocence and Experience

A publicity photo for Curtis Knight and the Squires, 1965.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; from “Becoming Jimi Hendrix” Jimi Hendrix, in a publicity photo for Curtis Knight and the Squires, 1965. More Photographs »

I suppose I always imagined that Jimi Hendrix sprang directly from the head of a particularly freaky hippie Zeus, but Steven Roby and Brad Schreiber set me straight. Their book, “Becoming Jimi Hendrix: From Southern Crossroads to Psychedelic London, the Untold Story of a Musical Genius” — reviewed in this Sunday’s issue by David Kirby — mostly ignores Hendrix’s days as a superstar to trace his improbable rhythm-and-blues rise, on the road with groups like Hank Ballard’s Midnighters, the Bonnevilles, Curtis Knight and the Squires, the Isley Brothers and the Tams. Hendrix got fired a lot. “He couldn’t play the music right,” a fellow guitarist explained.

It’s a fascinating book for the story it tells, but I would pay the cover price just for its amazing photographs, a sampling of which you can see in this slide show. I’m going to pin them on a wall somewhere.

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