Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Otis Redding/The Jimi Hendrix Experience

  • Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival [Reprise, 1970] A-

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Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival [Reprise, 1970]
Historically, what's happening is two radically different black artists showboating at the nativity of the new white rock audience. Both have performed more subtly and more brilliantly, even on live albums (Live in Europe, the first side of Band of Gypsys), and maybe I'm nostalgic. But while at the time I admired Redding ("the love crowd" pegged that audience perfectly) and was appalled by Hendrix ("a psychedelic Uncle Tom," I called him, and that's one of the dozens of things he was), in retrospect they seem equally audacious and equally wonderful. As evocative a distillation of the hippie moment in all its hope and contradiction as you'll ever hear. A-