My Son Jimi
by James Allen Hendrix (as told to Jas Obrecht)
If you are genuinely interested in the father of Jimi Hendrix recalling his own childhood, family and military service, then you’re the type of person who has been creating a market for every hiccup, outtake and bowel movement ever created by Jimi Hendrix. So why this book? It probably doesn’t fly as a how-to manual on parenting, since Al’s son Jimi died at such an early age. And it’s not as if Al should need the money, since he recaptured many of the lucrative rights to the works of Jimi Hendrix. Maybe writing this was therapeutic for Al. However, I question whether many of the “first-hand accounts” actually took place, since it is doubtful that Jimi consulted his dad about much of anything while he was tripping the light fantastic.
The history of Jimi Hendrix can be pretty much summed up in a few sentences (and that’s actually a good thing that reinforces Jimi’s presence). After stints backing up Little Richard and the Isley Bros., Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix exploded onto the scene in 1967, lighting the rock world on fire and forever changing the way the world will approach the electric guitar. Like many of his contemporaries, Jimi took it too far, and was dead by 1970.
The power of Jimi’s music is undeniable. As for Al’s book, he almost has to embellish the 4 years that Jimi was all but absent from his life setting the world on fire. (Alas, those are the years we most care about.) All the same, the nurturing of Jimi’s talent — and how it alternately meshed and clashed with his adolescent penchant for sports and art — makes for a marginally entertaining read.