Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review (Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson)

I recently finished reading a book called Blind Owl Blues written by Rebecca Davis Winters. The book is about Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson the guitar and harmonica player of the 60's blues boogie band Canned Heat.

While I didn't know a whole lot about Alan Wilson, I found the book wasn't all that well written. Now, I'm not one to really say, as I am no writer myself, but the book just didn't have a lot of flow, and she repeated herself more then a few times. Just not a good story-teller.

What I did learn though is that Alan Wilson was one very mysterious kind of guy. He was a major blues enthusiast, knowing all the old blues guys stuff inside out and incorporating it into his own style with Canned Heat. Alan also sounded like a guy that always needed encouragement in personal hygiene, as everyone that is interviewed for the book mentions how he was always dirty and needed to be told to wash or change his clothes and such. He was a man of few friends and no luck with the ladies, unlike the rest of the band. Especially when the band started to take off with hits "Going Up The Country" and "On The Road Again", both songs wrote by Alan Wilson. Even with the success of Canned Heat, Alan still preferred to sleep at other peoples places and in the great outdoors amongst the trees and under the stars. He was also way ahead of his times in being a major environmentalist, wanting to save the trees and clean up the ocean and such.

His death in 1970 is still much of a mystery as to whether it was suicide or an overdose as he was found behind lead singer Bob Hite's place on the side of a hill in a sleeping blanket. From reading this book, Alan comes across as a very strange and mysterious character. It was an interesting read, just not very well wrote.


  1. It is an imperfect book, to be sure, but it’s also the only record (aside from sundry web pages which could disappear with any random power outage) of Alan’s life and music! Thanks very much for taking time to review it on your blog - I appreciate it so much and will work on improvement of my writing in the next book. Be sure to check out drummer Fito’s book if you’ve not done so already; he features one chapter on Alan and a perspective that differs from mine.

    1. Hi Rebecca, Thanks for checking out my blog. It was good to read about Alan's life, as there isn't much out there about him. I'm glad you wrote about him and will surely checkout the book about Fito. Hope I didn't offend you.

  2. Acidica, the only way you would offend me is if you criticized my book without bothering to read it! I thank you for taking the time to give it a go. Have a great day!