My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chilling depictions, well-conceived plot. Characters are so well-drawn, that they are disturbing. Kinda fizzles out a bit at the end. Great read overall
How do you recount a history as varied, long-lived, and chaotic as The Allman Brothers Band’s? By telling each person’s version of history, which Mr. Paul does with balance, humor, and without sanctifying the flawed humans that comprise the ABB (OK, maybe he sanctifies Duane a bit, but who doesn’t).
This book deepened my appreciation for the music and heightened my listening of the various incarnations of the ABB. Not a sordid tell-all, just a coherent history of how the quirky musical institution can be celebrating 45 years of incredible music.
Mr. Ellefson tells an entertaining life story, and manages to stay true to his rocker, sobriety, and spiritual roots – without evangelizing.
I especially enjoyed that he’s clearly reflected on the path he’s travelled, and shares insight from what he’s learned, without excessive spleen-venting or hindsight-based revisionism.
I’m actually not sure how I feel about this book yet.
It is similar to one of my favorite books of all time, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which opens with “What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact.”
What I like about this book is that it asks higher-level questions about music (primarily creating it, but also listening & appreciating it). It’s not a technique book, it’s an attitude book.
What I don’t like are primarily two things:
The prose is somewhat pedantic seems to be aimed at about a 6th or 7th grade intellect (perhaps it is)
The “miraculous occurrences” are to some extent, like something you might read in a free magazine you pick up at a new-age shop
But that criticism seems overly harsh, and I really did like this book. I think part of the point is to suspend dis-belief and see what it has to offer.
I also think that there is enough here to warrant a re-reading. No doubt Mr. Wooten is a musician of great talent and achievement and can obviously teach something about it to those of us willing to listen.
Because the author focuses on Hendrix’s roots and early experiences, it provides a much more humanizing perspective on the man. It’s probably a fair criticism that his later life receives an only moderately detailed treatment. However there are many other books that do this sufficiently well. I am not aware of a book that provides such an intimate and well-researched glimpse into Hendrix’s early life and relationships.
The fact that Hendrix was able to accomplish anything in view of his abusive and neglected child-hood speaks volumes to his level of passion, determination, and genius. It only further illustrates the tragedy of lost potential in this musical magi.
I learned a lot from this book, and I thought I knew a lot before reading it.
Great Zeppelin Bio, a balanced in treatment of history, cultural roots and impact, musical legacy, mysticism, greed, and debauchery.
I thought this was very well written and well conceived. The only slight criticism would be the author’s semi-apologist views of Page’s plagiarism. It’s clear he’s a huge fan of Page’s but he also does describe Page’s flaws and mistakes. Robert Plant does not receive the same apologist’s hall pass.
The flash-back dialogues are fanciful, but add a real-ness (although the author clearly explains they’re imagined) to the proceedings. They add a nice first-person perspective to what may well have been going on.
Charming anecdotes, from a talented (as well as extremely lucky) bass player and musician.
I found myself wishing to read more about the personalities behind the music and a bit less about all the drunken escapades (although for a music memoir this is a very balanced read).
As an amateur bass player myself, I found this immensely entertaining.
Guy has a self-deprecating and gentle-but-sarcastic good humor about his story.