The 1967 Curtis Knight reunion sessions

March 2015: Experience Hendrix release "You Can't Use My Name", featuring mainly the early recordings by Curtis Knight And The Squires
plus one song from the 1967 reunion session. See the Before Fame section for full details.

This subject merits attention and I spend time on it to sort out all the terrible confusion that it has created over the decades. It must be said right away that the music here is sub-standard and bears no relation to the main body of Jimi's work.

As detailed in the Before Fame section, during his pre-Experience days in and around New York, Hendrix recorded a number of songs with Curtis Knight & The Squires. Jimi moolightd from Knght's band around the summer of 1966 to form his own group, Jimmy James & The Blue Flames (a.k.a. The Rainflowers) but would occasionally still play club gigs with Knight (he was in fact discovered by Linda Keith at the Cheetah Club while playing with Knight's band). Then Linda eventually got Chas Chandler interested. Chas took Jimi to London and made him an international senasation.

A year later, in the summer of 1967 and just after Monterey, when America was discovering The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimi got back in touch with his old friend Curtis Knight and with a few other musicians they ended up jamming and Jimi also helped touch up some older recordings that they had done together).
Incredibly, at that time, Jimi was in fact still under contract with PPX Enterprises as a member of Knight's backing band The Squires (Chas Chandler was unaware of this when he had signed him up with Yameta and Track Records). Even more incredible was the fact that Ed Chalpin had already filed a lawsuit against Yameta (the publishing company who thought that they owned exclusive rights to Jimi's music). Out of guilt we presume, Jimi felt that he owed his old workmates something and perhaps felt, rather naïvely, that the sessions might calm the legal conflict. Bootleg releases have revealed that at the beginning of one session, Jimi calls out to Chalpin "Don't use my name on this, OK ?". You can hear Chalpin simply reply "Don't worry about it". 
Jimi would soon have plenty to worry about and Chaplin came back to haunt him for the following three years.

 

Jimi, Curtis Knight and an unknown bassist, perhaps at the first Studio 76 session of July 1967. Jimi is playing an 8 string Hagstrom bass.
In the control booth are Dick ("turned down The Beatles") Rowe of Decca Records and Ed Chalpin of PPX Enterprises.

 

Jimi in fact attended two sessions at Studio 76 in New York. At the first he only played fuzz bass on a couple of jams that became "Day Tripper/Future Trip/Flashing","Odd Ball", and "Get That Feeling". There is another bassist on the recordings and Jimi plays his 8 strings Hagstrom bass through a fuzz tone right up front and sometimes in a lead bass style.
Jimi also helped re-record one of his own songs titled "I' Ain't Takin' Care Of No Business" (called "No Business" here). Again he only played some fuzz bass. Interestingly, a few months later, Jimi recorded his very own version of the song with The Experience as "Taking Care Of No Business" which finally appeared on the 2000 MCA box set.

 

Another photo from the same session showing Jimi this time with a Corvette guitar which is very similar to the Hagstrom bass.

 

At the second session, Jimi brought along his new wah-wah pedal. It has been said that he had discovered Frank Zappa using the gadget first and soon adopted it himself. However Noel said in his book that it was he who had discovered a Vox Cry Baby in the London Vox shop and promptly encouraged Jimi to check it out. "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" had been his first use of it and ultimately, the wah-wah pedal was destined to be forever associated with Hendrix.
At the 1967 sessions with Knight, apart from the touch-ups of old recordings 65/66 recordings, Jimi mostly jammed with the musicians present. Ed Chalpin then edited the taped sections to construct "songs", exploiting the little he had to the full. Then Curtis Knight added some vocals over the top. They apparently squeezed six songs out of two off-the-cuff jams! So one jam (sounding a bit like the basic drive of "Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice") was used to create "Hush Now" /"Love Love"/"Happy Birthday" and the other jam to make the tracks "Day Tripper "/ "Future Trip" / "Flashing".
There is some relatively interesting wah wah playing from Jimi in there at times. Curiously, his opening guitar on what became "Love Love" slightly resembles the intro guitar of "1983".
The old recordings that Jimi helped touch up were "Gloomy Monday" and "My Best Friend" (also called "Ballad Of Jimmy" which became "Ballad Of Jimi").
"Gloomy Monday" was included on the the 2015 Legacy release "You Can't Use My Name" alongside the 1965-66 recordings.

Even though Jimi had asked Chalpin not to use his name, PPX didn't waste time, putting Jimi's name in huge letters on the cover of the album "Get That Feeling" (released at the end of the year) with a superb photo of him performing at Monterey. Jimi's management team tried to stop the album but lost and were ordered hand over rights to a new Hendrix album (which eventually turned out to be "Band Of Gypsys" in 1970 ) as a payment for his breaching of contract. Chalpin however was expecting a Jimi Hendrix Experience album and he was soon filing another lawsuit. All of this greatly troubled Jimi.

According to www.earlyhendrix.com Jimi is credited as songwriter for Future Trip / Flashing, Get That Feeling, Happy Birthday, Hush Now, Love Love

SUMMARY OF THE 1967 SESSIONS:

SESSION 1 (17 July 1967)
Jimi plays on a 6 string bass on what became:

Get That Feeling
No Business
Odd Ball (instr.)
Day Tripper/Future Trip/Flashing

SESSION 2 (8 August 1967)
Jimi plays guitar on what became:

Gloomy Monday
Love (instr.)
Hush Now (instr.)
Ballad of Jimi (vocals added later)
+
Hush Now (vocal overdub)
Love Love (the same as "Love "with a vocal overdub)
Happy Birthday - part of the "Love" jam with a different vocal overdub
Level (instr.) - a short edit of the "Hush Now" jam

 

 

Curtis Knight albums released in Jimi's lifetime


GET THAT FEELING
Released December1967 (Capitol)


How Would You Feel, Simon Says, Get That Feeling, Hush Now, Welcome Home, Gotta Have a New Dress, No Business, Strange Things

Only three tracks here are from the summer 1967 sessions; Hush Now", "Get That Feeling" (bass only) and "No Business" (bass only), the rest are old 1965 Curtis Knight & The Squires recordings. All of this bears no relation to the main body of Jimi's work and is best ignored, even if this particular album is of some grotesque historical interest. I must admit that I quite like "Welcome Home".
"No Business" is an embryonic version of what Jimi later recorded as "Taking Care of No Business".

One can imagine the deception of record buyers at the time and all those who have been duped by this type thing right up to the present day. Even Jimi got a shock when he found this album in a record shop !

> In a January 1968 Rolling Stone interview, Capitol A&R man Nick Venet stated that these eight songs were the only PPX recordings that they felt were salvageable. He also stated that they "had to remix and re-record Chalpin's tapes"!

THE COVER
A lousy album, but a superb cover. Great photo of Jimi in action at Monterey - 9/10

> EUROPEAN VERSION (London label) - Ballad Of Jimi, No Business, Future Trip, Gotta Have A New Dress, Hornet's Nest, Don't Accuse Me, Flashing, Hush Now, Knock Yourself Out, Happy Birthday

 


 

FLASHING
Released October1968 (Capitol)


Gloomy Monday, Hornet's Nest (Hendrix/Simon), Fool For You Baby, Happy Birthday, Flashing, Day Tripper (Lennon/McCartney), Odd Ball, Love Love, Don't Accuse Me

Unperturbed by Jimi's management's attempts to stop them, Chalpin proceeded to issue another collection of old and new recordings. Like "How Would You Feel" on the previous album, the second track here, "Hornet's Nest", was originally released as a single in1966. An instrumental single, it had been the first ever Hendrix penned release.
The songs from the 1967 sessions are "Gloomy Monday", "Love Love ", "Happy Birthday", "Odd Ball", "Day Tripper" and "Flashing". Those last two are the same jam split into two songs and Jimi only plays bass (on "Odd Ball" also).

THE COVER
"Jimi Hendrix plays, Curtis Knight sings". At least this one was more honestly worded and the illustration low key, like Jimi's participation. - 5/10

 


 

STRANGE THINGS
Released 1968 (London)


Get That Feeling, Strange Things, Odd ball, Love Love, Simon Says, Gloomy Monday, Welcome Home

A UK collection of Curtis Knight material, using the same sleeve art as "Flashing".

 

> See also "Before Fame" section for more about Curtis Knight.

 



Re-releases

ppx


Since the sixties, the PPX material has been over exploited on dozens of albums which churned out the same material again and again for the unwitting consumer, with titles like "The Great Jimi Hendrix In New York", "The Eternal Fire Of Jimi Hendrix", "Early Jimi Hendrix", "Birth Of Success" ... Here are just a few of relative interest:



An old vinyl which features another cover shot of Jimi at one of the 1967 sessions. A very rare example of accurate sleeve photo.
The title song had been written as "My Best Friend" or "Ballad Of Jimmy" prior to the existence of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It has no relation to Jimi's own "My Friend" apart from the similar title.

 


 

"The Summer Of Love Sessions" (Freud/Jungle) nicely assembles the jumble of tracks constructed by Ed Chalpin from the tapes of Jimi's visits to Studio 76 in the summer of 1967 (July 17 & August 8).

> Check the sleeve notes

 

The Freud/Jungle label must be commended for their clear and acurate approach to all the Curtis Knight material. "Knock Youself Out" (pre-Experience), "Drivin' South" (the so called Georges Club"live" recordings) and "Summer Of Love Sessions" (1967 reunion sessions).

In 2015, Exprience Hendrix and Sony Legacy released their own (and definitive) version of the 1965-66 recordings,
very similar to the "Knock Yourself Out" CDhere. The sound quality of the Sony album is a superior (Kramer mix - Grundman mastering).


ppx


"The Authentic PPX Recordings" A series of poor series of albums (with superb sleeve art) which spread out all the PPX material from 1965 to 1967 across six volumes, a box set and a "Best Of". Talk about flogging a dead horse! All the sources of Curtis Knight recordings are stupidly mixed up to create even more confusion (a speciality of Ed Chalpin).

 


 

A fairly recent Japanese release featuring that nice photo from one of the 1967 sessions with Curtis Knight. This photo was used for the cover
of the 24 page booklet of the Legacy Knight album "You Can't Use My Name".


 

Torture Me Honey (Hush Now), Mercy Lady Day (Love, Love), Hard Night*, Second Time Around (Get That Feeling) Got To Have It (Happy Birthday).

One bizarre release called "Second Time Around" on the German Astan label simply changed the name of the usual material!

* Live, NY or NJ, late 1965/early 1966 - This is sometimes listed as "Come On Part 1" but it's just a similarly structured blues number.


d

Hush Now, Love Love, Flashing, UFO, My Heart Is Higher, Fool For You Baby, Simon Says, Day Tripper, Level, Love Love (Inst.), Hush Now (inst.)

This rare Dutch compilation boasts "1967 Material" on the cover but only seven of the thirteen tracks are from the Studio 76 sessions.
There's even a fake Hendrix track included (My Heart Is Higher).
Thanks to Steve for this!

 

 

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