Book Review: The Amazing Jimmi Mayes

Jimmi Mayes is a drummer who toured with a ton of great musicians and bands! The book is his autobiography done in chapters chronologically telling of his career from 1941 until 2012. And of course, it ends with the discography. (You know how much I like those!)

I always prefer autobiographies versus biographies because even though the person may have been involved via interviews with their biographies, autobiographies you just get more of that straight from the horses mouth and there always seems to be some great stories from the road included!

The amount of bands / musicians that Jimmi worked with is amazing.  Not to mention – he started before the Civil Rights movement so that definitely had to have been interesting to live through that and work through that as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The unforgettable life story of one amazing musician touring and playing with Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Reed, Marvin Gaye, and many more

For more than fifty years, Chicago drummer Jimmi Mayes served as a sideman behind some of the greatest musicians and musical groups in history. He began his career playing the blues in the juke joints of Mississippi, sharpened his trade under the mentorship of drum legends Sam Lay and Fred Below in the steamy night clubs of south Chicago, and hit it big in New York City behind such music legends as Tommy Hunt from the Flamingos, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown.

Mayes played his drums behind blues giants Little Walter Jacobs, Jimmy Reed, Robert Junior Lockwood, Earl Hooker, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He lived for a while with Motown sensation Martha Reeves and her family, and traveled with the Shirelles and the Motown Review. Jimi Hendrix was one of Mayes’s best friends. They were roommates when they traveled together with Joey Dee and the Starliters in the mid 1960s.

Mayes lived through racial segregation, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the integration of rock bands, and the emergence of Motown. He personally experienced the sexual and moral revolutions of the sixties, was robbed of his musical royalties, and survived a musical drought. He’s been a pimp and a drug pusher, and lived to tell the tale when so many musicians have not. This sideman to the stars witnessed music history from the best seat in the house—behind the drum set.

Jimmi Mayes, Chicago, Illinois, learned his trade as a teenager in the juke joints around Jackson, Mississippi. He went on to perform with many well-known artists, including Little Walter Jacobs, Marvin Gaye, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. V. C. Speek, Minooka, Illinois, is the author of “God Has Made Us a Kindgom”: James Strang and the Midwest Mormons. Speek is a former newspaper reporter and currently works as the editor of John Whitmer Books in Independence, Missouri.

JANUARY, 224 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 32 b&w photographs, selected discography, index

Category: Book Review
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