It’d be great if I could mash up The Roots’ “Long Time” with Bowie’s “Changes.” Theoretically, anyway, and just to emphasize the fact that I haven’t been around for a minute. Transition is hellish and hilarious[eventually heavenly, if you’re lucky], but neccessary. Either way, I’m back.
I’ve delved into mad scientist mode, finding myself buried in books all day long. Right now I am currently reading Crosstown Traffic, a book about Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop.
Originally written in 1989, this book won the Ralph Gleason Music Book Award and is generally hailed as the Hendrix biography to read. I’m not really qualified to affirm or deny this claim as this is the first, only and probably last full biography about Jimi Hendrix that I will read, but I can say that it is a thoughtfully-written, articulate book that really fills out all the space around Hendrix with vibrant anecdotes, fascinating facts and bold claims.
The best part of this book is being able to behold the historical, cultural and political climate that preceeded, included and later carried on without Hendrix all at a long-winded glance. From Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Little Richard to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Doors, Murray enlightens his readers of the hypocrital and intricate world of the emerging Pop, Rock and R&B scene in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Consequently, he also illuminates the baselessness of the construction of genres cheifly through racist and bigoted classifications, and the stagnation of progressive black music as an art form as opposed to a particular sound appealing to a specific audience.
Whether you think Jimi was a sell-out, a genius, “whitewashed” or some sort of deity, the points brought up in this book are still quite relevant to how your music is packaged and fed to you today. In short: READ THIS.