September 18th, 2010, marked the 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, a stupid and senseless passing that left the music world much emptier. Jimi, maybe the most influential guitar player who ever plucked a string, brought together elements of rock and R&B and coated them with distortion, amplifiers cranked to 10, and a wicked onstage presence that was a combination gypsy, warlock and pyromaniac.
Though he supported the likes of the Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner and even Little Richard, he gained no notoriety in his own country. Only when he went to England with the support of former Animals bassist Chas Chandler did his star finally rise.
Before that, however, he was a little-known guitar player kicking around in little clubs and generally being ignored. This is the story of Hendrix's faceless beginnings, an in-depth look at his time in New York and Nashville. There are interviews with club owners and girlfriends,
but although the story is fascinating, the telling of it is not so engaging.
There are dozens of straight-up grammatical mistakes, but beyond that, the writing just doesn't have much substance. The
prose doesn't breathe; even when you consider the subject - Jimi Hendrix - there is little creative life here. Still, this does tell a tale not often told.
For hardcore Hendrix fans, it's worth reading.