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CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


Pictures

 

Unknown location
The pictures of the Squires on this page were supposedly taken at the Cheetah, Broadway & 53rd Street, New York City, hence the specially made "Cheetah skin" -stage clothing.

However, if you look at other 1966 photographs taken at Cheetah a couple of things do not quite fit. The stage at Cheetah was elevated so that the band was above the audience and the dance floor at the front. The shots of the Squires look like they would have been taken at the front of the stage but from an angle of someone standing higher than stage level. That would not have been possible at Cheetah unless the photographer was standing on a ladder or shooting from the back of the club with a teleobjective. A Teleobjective in turn would suggest a professional photographer but the pictures are fuzzy & out of focus, more like the work of an amateur with a pocket camera.

The backdrop behind the Squires is nowhere to be seen in the photos of the club, the back of the Cheetah stage was covered with mirrors. All the other live shots of the Squires show much more of the interior of the clubs and in some cases also several members of the audience. There is no audience to be seen in the Cheetah shots and the only thing that you can see of the surroundings is the backdrop. The band is tightly cropped against a neutral background so these shots could have been taken anywhere.

Also, photographs exist of Jimi wearing a cheetah-print jacket in February 1966. What the band wears in the "Cheetah" -pictures here are not the same sort of garments though, they have the same kind of printing but are cut differently. Though the band`s clothing is not the same here this in any case casts further doubt on the claim that these pictures were taken at the Cheetah in May 1966. Unlike stated by Curtis Knight, the band did NOT wear cheetah-clothing specially for the Cheetah-gigs but had been wearing the same type of clothing already months before.

None of the comments made above rule out the possibility that they are authentic live shots from the Cheetah but there is very little to support that claim. For such a high profile gig one would have expected the photographer to also shoot the audience and the surroundings and the pictures don't have anything about them that says "Cheetah" except the band's clothing. So the shots may have been staged or they were actually taken at a completely different gig, probably in a small club.

See the "Jimi Hendrix And Cheetah" -section for more information on the Cheetah club.

Personnel
Personnel at this point includes:

Curtis Knight - vocals, rhythm guitar
Jimi Hendrix - vocals, lead guitar
Marion Booker - drums
Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. - organ
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass

The 10 June 1966 RSVP contract lists this line-up, and Curtis Knight identified the players from the pictures 1 (including "Hank", see also the personnel -section).

 

cheetah1
Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Marion Booker - drums, Nate Edmonds - organ,
Curtis Knight - guitar

cheetah 2
Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Marion Booker - drums, Nate Edmonds - organ,
Curtis Knight - guitar

cheetah3
Napoleon Anderson - bass (behind Jimi), Jimi Hendrix - guitar,
Nate Edmonds - organ, Curtis Knight - guitar

cheetah4
Nate Edmonds, Jimi Hendrix, Marion Booker (in the back),
Napoleon Anderson (in front), Curtis Knight




SOURCES
1 Recorded interview with Curtis Knight by Paul de Bie, Curtis Knight's apartment, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 24 October 1994. Parts of the interview were published in Jimpress issue 39 (photo id part not included in the transcript but on tape).






CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


Live Dates
Listed here are all documented live appearances of "Curtis Knight and..." -several possibilities. So far four different aliases for the band are known, all used within a 9 month period:

- the Lovelights
- Curtis Knight and the Lovers
- Curtis Knight
- Curtis Knight and the Squires

Rather than make multiple entries for what is in fact one and the same band build around Curtis Knight and Jimi Hendrix I`ve listed the band alias used for each performance, and the people playing - if known. The group didn`t in the beginning really have a steady line-up, whoever was available seems to have been called in to play any given gig (as evidenced by at least three line-ups playing at George`s Club 20 within the space of two months or so).

Only when the band got signed to RSVP in June 1966 seems the line-up to have settled and "Curtis Knight and the Squires" became the official name for the group.

Rather than duplicate everything that I have written elsewhere on the site I have included a link to a separate article with more info when available and just included a short summary of it here.


Sunday 26 December 1965
Probably appearing as the Lovelights
George's Club 20, Hackensack, New Jersey

Unconfirmed line-up:
Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Harry Jensen - guitar
Ace Hall - bass
Lonnie Youngblood? - sax
Ditto Edwards - drums

This is one of the two dates that the Curtis Knight live recordings were made on, see the"live recordings" -page for more information. Curtis introduces the band as the Lovelights with "The fabulous Jimmy James" but states that it`s "Handsome Harry on lead guitar" so this may be the earlier recording of the two when Jimi wasn`t yet dominating the guitar playing in the band.


Saturday 22 January 1966
Probably appearing as the Lovelights
George's Club 20, Hackensack, New Jersey

Unconfirmed line-up:
Curtis Knight - vocals & rhythm guitar
Jimi Hendrix - guitar & vocals
Harry Jensen - bass
Ace Hall - tambourine
Lonnie Youngblood? - sax?
George Bragg - drums

This is one of the two dates that the Curtis Knight live recordings were made on, see the"live recordings" -page for more information. This recording has, according to Curtis` introduction, "Harry on the bass" so Jimi may have by now been promoted to play lead guitar all by himself making this the later recording of the two. Curtis does not mention the name of the band.


DECEMBER 1965 - January 1966?
Probably appearing as the Lovelights

George's Club 20, Hackensack, New Jersey

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Ace Hall - bass
Lonnie Youngblood - sax
Ditto Edwards - drums

Ace Hall was shown the pictures below and he identified this location as George's Club 20, Hackensack, New Jersey. According to him the Squires were the house band during weekends. The date when these were taken is unknown but they are likely to be from the December 1965 - January 1966 -period. As there is no trace at all of Harry Jensen these pictures may have been taken after the two previous Hackensack dates. In any case they are clearly not from either of the two recorded shows as the tapes have Curtis introducing the band members on stage and the line-up seen here does not match either date.

unknown 1









unknown2

pic7

pic8
Faye Pridgeon, Jimi Hendrix

Extreme trivia bonus: the cardboard box that supports Jimi`s mic stand in the pictures is for the brand "Ballantine" made by a local New Jersey brewery. Wikipedia informs us: "The company was founded in 1840 in Newark, New Jersey, by Peter Ballantine (1791–1883), who emigrated from Scotland." So if you ever wondered what the clientele was drinking while listening to the band now you know... too bad the label of the beer bottle on the table is unreadable!


SATURDAY 26 February 1966
Appearing as (Curtis Knight and?) the Lovers
Memorial Chapel, Union College, Schenectady, New York

Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Ace Hall? - bass

A picture shows Jimi on stage backing the Ronettes with speaker cabinets that have "The Lovers" written on them. Unfortunately very little is visible of the other musicians on stage. Only half of the bass players face can be seen from behind Jimi but it does look like it could be Ace Hall. It is however impossible to be sure.

This may have been a "solo" gig for the Lovers backing other artists without Curtis Knight appearing. This picture and others were published in Univibes issue #73.


Thursday 17 March 1966 - Wednesday 6? April 1966
Appearing as Curtis Knight and the Lovers
Eighth Wonder, New York City, New York

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix? - guitar
Ace Hall - bass

Ace Hall (bass player with the band) mentions this gig in an interview video released by Experience Hendrix to promote the Dagger Records release of Curtis Knight live recordings. The mention comes at 1.54 when Ace says the band played Trude Heller`s 1, a famous New York City nightspot:



It`s very likely that Ace`s memories are a bit fuzzy (but mainly accurate) here. I have found nothing to indicate that there would have been a gig at Trude Heller`s but there WAS a three week booking at the Eight Wonder which was run by Trude Heller`s son, Joel Heller.

Wed, Mar 16, 1966 – 129 · Daily News (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Fri, Mar 18, 1966 – 565 · Daily News (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

FEBRUARY-MAY? 1966

Unknown location

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Ace Hall - bass
Marion Booker - drums

Unknown location but with Ace Hall still on bass (later shows and recordings seem to all have Napoleon "Hank" Anderson on bass) and Marion Booker on drums appearing as a new face (Marion seems to have drummed on all of the shows and recordings that followed). So these photos were probably taken circa February - May 1966.

Note that the pictures have been taken during two different gigs at the same location, in one of the pictures the band is wearing white shirts, in the other the shirts are dark.

unknown location

unknown location


Thursday 12 May 1966 - Wednesday 18 May 1966

Appearing as Curtis Knight
Cheetah, New York City, New York

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar

Curtis Knight was booked to appear at the Cheetah at least twice in 1966. Information about the duration of this first booking is a bit contradictory but 12 May - 18 May 1966 would seem to be correct. Read more about the Cheetah gigs on the "Jimi Hendrix And Cheetah" -page.

Cheetah
AD IN "VILLAGE VOICE" 12 MAY 1966


Friday 10 June 1966

New York City, New York

The Squires sign a contract with RSVP records. The signing members listed included Napoleon Anderson, Nathaniel Edmonds, Marion Booker and Jimmy Hendrix. As the line-up now seems to have solidified enough for the individual members to be signed to a contract I assume the rest of the gigs would mainly have been done with the musicians listed.


2 July 1966

Probably appearing as Curtis Knight and the Squires
Ondine Discotheque, New York City, New York

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass
Nate Edmonds - organ
Marion Booker - drums

The Rolling Stones saw Jimi perform at Ondine, Bill Wyman reported in his book "Stone Alone" that after a 2 July 1966 Stones concert in New York City the band went to Ondine and saw Hendrix. Mick Jagger also reminisced about this in "A Film About Jimi Hendrix". There may have been other occasions that the Stones could have visited Ondine and seen Jimi but since Wyman`s book is based on his diaries and Ondine only opened on 16 April 1966 2 the 2 July 1966 date seems to be the correct one. This would probably have been at least a one week booking.

The date of the photos is unknown but they have been confirmed to be from Ondine and the line-up is the same as listed in the June 1966 RSVP contract. Two previously unseen pictures were included on the Dagger Records "Live At George`s Club 20" -lp and these show the whole band on stage including Nate Edmonds and Marion Booker.

You can read more about the club on the Ondine Discotheque -page.






June - August? 1966
Probably appearing as Curtis Knight and the Squires
Village Purple Onion, New York City, New York

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass
Nate Edmonds - organ
Marion Booker - drums

The only evidence for this gig is a single photo, probably posed before or after the gig as Jimi and Hank are looking straight into the camera and there is no audience to be seen. The date is unknown 3 but since Nate Edmons (organ) and Marion Booker (drums) are in the band this shot probably dates from circa June - August 1966.

band 4



Thursday? 4? August 1966 - Wednesday 10 August 1966
Appearing as Curtis Knight and the Squires
Cheetah, New York City, New York

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix? - guitar
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson? - bass
Nate Edmonds? - organ
Marion Booker? - drums

Cash Box 30 July 1966 issue reported: "Cheetah will be rocking for the next two weeks to the wild sounds of Mike St. Shaw and the Prophets, which had a tremendous success during it`s recent months at the Downtown, plus Curtis Knight and the Squires." Read more about the Cheetah gigs on the "Jimi Hendrix And Cheetah" -page.

Jimi is unlikely to have played during these dates as he had a gig at the Cafe Wha? with the Blue Flame. Linda Keith took Chas Chandler of the Animals to see Jimi at the Cafe Wha? on or around 3 August, see the Timeline.

A picture of the Cheetah marquee for these gigs can be seen in a posting on the College No. 9 -blog (last picture on the page).


June - August? 1966
Probably appearing as Curtis Knight and the Squires
Unknown location

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass
Nate Edmonds - organ
Marion Booker - drums

The date and location are unknown but since Nate Edmons (organ) and Marion Booker (drums) are in the band these pictures probably date from circa June - August 1966. These shots have been thought to have been taken at Cheetah based on the outfits that the band is wearing but in reality that does NOT appear to be the case, see the "Cheetah pictures" -page for more info.

cheetah1

cheetah 2

cheetah3

cheetah4


Monday 15 August 1966 (- Monday 22 August 1966?)
Appearing as Curtis Knight and the Squires
Lighthouse Cafe, New York, New York City

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix? - guitar
Napoleon "Hank" Anderson? - bass
Nate Edmonds? - organ
Marion Booker? - drums

Mon, Aug 15, 1966 – 158 · Daily News (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com
There may have been more than one booking for the band at the cafe but so far this is the only confirmed date that I have found. As only one ad seems to exist this probably was the starting date of a one week booking. The "Jive Bombers" were advertized as the next band starting Tuesday 23 August.

Jimi is known to have played with the band at the Lighthouse Cafe as several people saw him there. It is however not certain that this date is the very booking that Jimi played on as he was also playing solo around the Village at this point. I do however think that there`s a good chance that this is the Lighthouse gig that Jimi DID play.  King George, when asked in a Univibes interview about the last club that Jimi played before going to England, said that Jimi played "for 4-5 days" at the Lighthouse. He also mentions "hangin out" with Jimi at the club. As Jimi left for England a month after these gigs the time frame fits well.




SOURCES
1 with thanks to James Hawthorn for asking good questions.
2 Billboard issue 16 April 1966.
3 According to the caption in Curtis Knight's Hendrix biography "Jimi" this picture was taken at Village Purple Onion. Though he also dates this to be from 1964 which is incorrect as he didn`t even meet Jimi before 1965.




CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


AVAILABLE Demos
These four demos first surfaced on the cd "The Authentic PPX Studio Recordings vol. 3", released by the German SPV label in 1996.

The tracks sound like home recordings, probably dating from early 1966 as "U.F.O." was recorded for RSVP in around June 1966. Interestingly each of the songs fades out, probably to hide an abrupt ending, and all 4 tracks together time under 10 minutes. So more material like this could well still exist, or at least a more complete version of this tape.

U.F.O.
Composer: Curtis Knight?
Recorded at: New York City
Date: 1966?
Vocals: Curtis Knight
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix

Available on:
Cd Jimi Hendrix: Ballad Of Jimi - The Authentic PPX Studio Recordings vol. 3 (SPV 085-44682)

Better Times Ahead
Composers: Curtis Knight?
Recorded at: New York City
Date: 1966?
Vocals: Curtis Knight
Harmony vocals: Jimi Hendrix
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix

Available on:
Cd Jimi Hendrix: Ballad Of Jimi - The Authentic PPX Studio Recordings vol. 3 (SPV 085-44682)

Everybody Knew But Me
Composers: Curtis Knight?
Recorded at: New York City
Date: 1966?
Vocals: Curtis Knight
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix

Available on:
Cd Jimi Hendrix: Ballad Of Jimi - The Authentic PPX Studio Recordings vol. 3 (SPV 085-44682)

If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (aka If You Gonna Make A Fool Of Somebody)
Composer: Rudy Clark
Recorded at: New York City
Date: 1966?
Vocals: Curtis Knight
Harmony vocals: Jimi Hendrix?
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix?

First released by James Ray with The Hutch Davie Orchestra on the 45 "If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody / It's Been A Drag" (Caprice 110) in 1961. Probably the most recent version at the time of recording of this demo was by Maxine Brown released as the 45 "If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody / You're in Love" (Wand WND 1104) in November 1965 1. Wand and Curtis Knight / RSVP were both operating in the same building (see the 1650 Broadway -section), Curtis Knight making a demo of a song that Maxine Brown released could be a co-incidence or the demo might have had something to do with Wand. Of the four currently known demo recordings only "UFO" was later recorded by Curtis Knight so these demos might have originally been made to demonstrate songs / arrangements to other artists?

Available on:
Cd Jimi Hendrix: Ballad Of Jimi - The Authentic PPX Studio Recordings vol. 3 (SPV 085-44682)


UNAVAILABLE Demos

There is a big possibility that more demos exist / did exists. Jimi did speak of one recording that could have been a demo he and Curtis had made:

I Ain't Taking Care Of No Business
Composer: Jimi Hendrix
Recorded at: New York City
Date: March? 1966?

Jimi signed a publishing contract with R.S.V.P. MUSIC, INC for the track "I Ain't Taking Care of No Business" on 30 March 1966. The contract was offered for sale by Lelands.com in 2002. He's credited as the sole composer for the song. The track was later recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience during sessions for Axis: Bold As Love in May 1967, and again recorded during the July / August 1967 Curtis Knight sessions (released as "No Business").

According to Jimi, speaking of the 1967 PPX sessions:
"There was one time that Curtis started playing this song - I think it was No Business - and like he was playing an old version of it, some demo version or something, I don't know. And we were playing with it. But that old version was made like, you know, a while back" 2.

So apparently there wasn't a proper studio recording made of the track in 1966, only a demo recording which might still exist somewhere. Curtis Knight had signed with RSVP in February and the RSVP publishing contract for the song was signed in March so the demo probably was made in or around March 1966. Since Curtis Knight & Ed Chalpin seem to have had the tape in their possession in 1967 it could be one of the home demos made by Jimi & Curtis.


SOURCES
1 the Maxine Brown single "If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody / You're in Love" (Wand WND 1104) was reviewed in Billboard issue 27 November 1965.
2 Jimi's PPX court case deposition interview recorded 7 March 1968 in New York City, partially reproduced in Univibes issue #35

 

CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


Pictures

 

George's Club 20
Hackensack, New Jersey
Ace Hall was shown the pictures below and he identified the location as George's Club 20. According to him the Squires were the house band during weekends. The date when these were taken is unknown but they are likely to be from the December 1965 - January 1966 -period. As there is no trace at all of Harry Jensen these pictures may have been taken after the two recorded Hackensack dates. The tapes have Curtis introducing the band members on stage and the line-up seen here does not match either date.

Curtis Knight - vocals
Jimi Hendrix - guitar
Ace Hall - bass
Lonnie Youngblood - sax
Ditto Edwards - drums

unknown 1
Ditto Edwards - drums, Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - guitar


Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - guitar, Lonnie Youngblood - sax


Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - guitar, Lonnie Youngblood - sax, Ace Hall - bass


Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Lonnie Youngblood - sax, Curtis Knight - guitar, Ace Hall - bass


Ditto Edwards - drums, Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - guitar, Ace Hall - bass

unknown2
Jimi Hendrix, Ditto Edwards, Curtis Knight, Lonnie Youngblood, Ace Hall

pic7
Jimi Hendrix

pic8
Faye Pridgeon, Jimi Hendrix