786: The Amazing Jimmi Mayes by Jimmi Mayes

by Gerard


786.9092: Mayes, Jimmi with V.C. Speek. The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2014. 166 pp. ISBN 978-1-61703-916-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 780: Music
  • 786: Keyboard, mechanical, electrophonic, and percussion instruments
  • 786.9: Drums and devices used for percussive effects
  • +092: Biography

Jimmi Mayes is one of those great touring and studio musicians that no one has heard of. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia article. But in 1960, at the age of 18, he was taken on the road to play with almost all of the great blues and soul artists of America. You can hear his work on the tracks of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, James Brown, Martha Reeves, The Flamingos, Little Richard, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and even Jimi Hendrix. While his heyday was in the 60s and 70s, he still tours occasionally and helps new people find the blues music he hold so dear.

Mayes writes with a sincerity and an enthusiasm that can only come from decades of experience and love for his craft. I imagine if you were sitting with him on a lazy Sunday afternoon, this is exactly how he would sound. The book is a little bit self-aggrandizing, but I’m OK with that. Mayes has earned the credit he writes about. He’s made it through crippling depression and physical pain, and if his story doesn’t make you feel the blues, then nothing will. Reading this one made me load up some of the classic songs he was a part of and spend a day with the music, and it was time well spent. A swift and interesting read.