Book Review: Jimi Hendrix

Chris Adams - The Grail Guitar: The Search For Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze Telecaster (Rowman & Littlefield)

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The title is a little misleading: in the opening chapter, we learn that Chris Adams already owns the Olympic White ’64 Fender Telecaster, having bought it at Ivor Arbiter’s Sound City in January 1973 (where he was assured that “Hendrix’s roadies brought it in”).

The remaining 194 pages are spent in pursuit of provenance, with Adams turning over rocks, tracking down survivors and putting his guitar through forensic tests to establish whether it was indeed played on the Purple Haze sessions.

As a premise, it hardly sounds essential, but Adams is a punchy writer, chasing the truth like a terrier and crisply retelling Hendrix’s story along the way. Despite the woolly conclusion, you’ll enjoy accompanying him on this who-owned-it detective story.