Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic - Today

I was driving along on the way to work last week and the flow of cars bogged down--again. Commuting 22 miles each way to work every day is a chore, but is also the time I get to listen to music. When you can't do much else (except watch out for other drivers!) listening is the best thing.

Well, sometimes what's happening outside matches what's on the air or on my iPod. Up came Jimi Hendrix's Crosstown Traffic and suddenly my mood about the sluggish pace changed. It all seemed to fit--and everything was OK. Then the traffic cleared--a bonus--and I was into the home stretch.

I listened to Jimi Hendrix as a teenager--when he was still around. He died, way too young, almost exactly 41 years ago.

His sound was loud, but carefully rendered, and with only a bass and drums surrounding his amazing guitar leads, perfect and clean always. His singing was remarkably subtle and tender and the lyrics meant something. Recently, the surprisingly virtuosic John Mayer has covered and replicated that sound with his trio, particularly with Jimi's Bold as Love.

To me, Jimi's sound expressed perfectly the stress and opportunity of being a teenager in the late 1960's.

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