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Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix & The Post-War Rock 'N' Roll Revolution

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  259 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Called by "Entertainment Weekly" "The best book on Hendrix", "Crosstown Traffic" rode their A-list for over two months and won the prestigious Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award. Roots-savvy British critic Charles Shaar Murray assesses the lifework of guitarist Jimi Hendrix in the context of black musical tradition, social history, and the upheaval of the 1960s.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 15th 1991 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1989)
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Neil Kernohan
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is by far a better book about Jimi Hendrix than most other biographies and hagiographies on the market. Murray is a superb rock critic and writer and here he examines in some depth the musical and cultural influences on Hendrix the artist - jazz, soul and blues - as well as the cultural and technological revolutions that helped shape the 1960s as the most significant decade in the history of popular music. In a series of well argued and very informative chapters he explains how Hendrix went ...more
5 Track
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An attempt to place Jimi in a proper historical context—ie taking into account the history of Black American music including John Coltrane, Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian, Louis Armstrong, etc—as opposed to Jimi's usual placement in the pantheon context of 'rock guitarists' (most of whom are 'white' & trace their lineage to Elvis & Buddy Holly, maybe to BB King or Chuck Berry—but no further back than that).

This book is the beginning of a conversation that should be deepened. It's a go
Carole Tyrrell
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s been over 20 years since I acquired my autographed copy of this and I have written my review on this edition.
This was a fascinating read as it told me so much I didn’t know about Jimi Hendrix. He appeared to have a guitar permanently welded to his body and even slept with it.
Murray describes in detail Hendrix’s pre-fame years on the ‘chittlin circuit’ which was a circuit of exclusively black clubs where a lot of black musicians started out. They paid their dues in this way and Hendrix was
This book is supposed to be about Jimi Hendrix, but it doesn't have too many pages of information about its subject.

The author's style here is to give a history of different styles and subjects (blues, jazz, soul, etc.), discuss their impact on the culture of the 1960s, and then discuss how Jimi Hendrix fit in. The result is many pages of information about different styles and eras of music and very few mentions of Jimi.

As a music book, this is decent. There are interesting examinations of masc
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Air twitchers
I was familiar with Mr Shaar Murray from his numerous "talking head" type appearances on music-related shows with titles like the "Top 100 Rock Albums of all Time" or "We Love Seventies Disco" or "Did You Know, Your Dad Spent The Entire Sixties Out Of His Head Chasing Skirt and Listening to Santana?". I had a very negative view of Mr Murray, in fact I thought he was a pretentious, narcissistic, er, bloke.
I couldn't have been more wrong. This guy is a brilliant writer, a true music enthusiast an
Graham Tennyson
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a reread for me, actually read the new, updated, Kindle version! When I was but a lad a close friend was upset because I read and was influenced by NME (MM and Sounds) critics. My defence was that I was interested in critics I trusted and Charles Shaar Murray was at the head of that list. Now I'm old and curmudgeonly I still believe a good critic adds to our cultural life. This book is about Hendrix, but it is about so much more - if you are interested in Blues, Blues Rock, Soul and Jazz ...more
Rog Harrison
I bought this book to read on a train journey and was not sure what to expect. It is not a biography of Hendrix, though it does give some details of his life, but rather seeks to explain the influences on Hendrix and also the influence Hendrix has had on modern music. It's a fascinating read even if my tastes and the author's tastes are sometimes quite different. At the end the author conducts a what might have been ten page interview with Hendrix as if he had not died in 1970 which gives him th ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crosstown Traffic explores the Jimi Hendrix mythos from an Englishman's perspective. This book contains less details on Hendrix life and more on who he played with when, how his music developed and why. Once again a fun read but recommend readers check out other Hendrix biographies for more insight into the man.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Far more than a biography, Crosstown Traffic is exactly what it says it is, a well written education in the history of music and influences which went into the inspired fusion of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the 1960's rhythm and blues revolution. I thought it one of the best books on music I have ever read.
James Rozoff
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A unique take on the Jimi Hendrix story. If you read only one book on Jimi Hendrix, this is probably not the one you'll want to pick up. But if you have read one and are looking to pick up another, this should be the one. This book is not complete as far of details, but it gives you good understanding of the world Jimi was born into as well as the one he eventually found himself.
Neil Clarke
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just done! One of the best music books I've ever read. CSM writes like a dream and is so knowledgeable of the history of Hendrix, his place in music; all the genres he touched upon; what he was influenced by; what he was an influence on.
Simply a stunning read.
Sep 23, 2008 rated it liked it
What can I say?! I love music. I tend to keep music related texts around. If you are interested in Jimi era, this text is very interesting. Race, sexuality, etc. I also learned about music groups I'd never been exposed to. Note: This book is not life changing!
Jan 02, 2008 added it
Half-way through this book right now... It's more of an analysis of the evolution of rock (from blues) than a Hendrix biography, and Murray's clearly got a great wealth of knowledge and some fascinating insights. But overall, it's a pretty boring read so I doubt I'll finish it.
Bas Vossen
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(One of) the most comprehensive and informative books on Jimi Hendrix. In the back are sections with music the author thinks we all have to listen to, in order to understand more about the blues, funk, rock et cetera.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite music books. I read it a long time ago, though. Might not hold up.
Really didn't like this book, mainly because I found that the author drifted from topic to topic and danced around what he claimed to be writing about
didn't take much for me to love this. a powerful insight into one of the greatest guitar heroes that ever lived.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Don't expect a Hendrix bio , this is more a study of sixties music and culture , which Jimi existed in and embraced .
This book was well written, however is not a biography. If you are looking for a good book on some of Hendrix's influences, this would be the one.
based on Jimi but meanders all over with insights on the sixties in general
Lex Wilson
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Jeremy Stewart
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