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CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


1966 Studio Recordings

Sometime in late 1965 what had started out in October as a Curtis Knight solo act became "Curtis Knight & the Squires" 1. The well known promotional picture of the group (probably dating from late 1965) introduces the band as the Squires and Ed Chalpin as their manager.

Apparently after the 1965 PPX sessions Ed Chalpin only handled the management for the band and in 1966 the Squires signed publishing and recording contracts with RSVP. PPX gets no mention on the label of the 2nd Knight / Hendrix RSVP single "Hornet's Nest / Knock Yourself Out" released in late 1966, the production (and co-composing) credit goes to Jerry Simon.

RSVP OR PPX?
Even though all of the Curtis Knight recordings are nowadays known as "PPX" recordings this wasn't how all of them were originally made, all of the recordings made by the band in 1966 (unless some of the 1965 tracks turn out to be from 1966 instead) and later released by Ed Chalpin were done for Jerry Simon's RSVP.

For reasons unknown the Squires stopped recording for PPX & Chalpin sometime in early 1966 and instead signed a recording contract with RSVP on the 10th of June 1966. As Chalpin already was licensing his own recordings to RSVP for release and both the RSVP and PPX offices were located in the same building 1650 Broadway this wasn't really a very dramatic change of circumstances.

The signing members included Napoleon Anderson, Nathaniel Edmonds, Marion Booker and Jimmy Hendrix. Curtis Knight had already signed a (second?) contract with RSVP on the 19th of February 1966. The RSVP sessions were recorded at Allegro Sound Studios located downstairs at 1650 Broadway and were produced by Jerry Simon.

When Ed Chalpin started to put together the first Knight / Hendrix albums in 1967 he bought several (but not all) of the 1966 RSVP recordings from Simon. According to the book "Setting The Record Straight" on or around 27 July 1967 Chalpin bought the masters for the following tracks:"The U.F.O.", "I'm A Fool For You Baby", "Ballad Of Jimmy", "Gotta Have A New Dress", "Hornet's Nest", "Knock Yourself Out", "Your Love".

I have yet to see facsimile copies of this or any other RSVP contract, the information about them comes from the book "Setting The Record Straight" and Univibes issue #35. If anybody has copies of the actual papers I'd be more than happy to see them...

Jerry Simon for one reason or another however didn't sell Chalpin all of the recordings that he had, at least two tracks recorded by the Squires for RSVP were left out of the deal. As a consequence the first (and so far only) Hendrix / Knight record that was not put out by Ed Chalpin, a 45 with the 1966 RSVP recording "No Such Animal" (split into two parts), was released by Jerry Simon on the Audio Fidelity Records label in 1970.

More recordings surfaced in February 2005 when Jerry Simon placed a listing for two reels of RSVP recordings on eBay (with a starting price of $3 million). The listing pictured two reels (although the description only mentioned one), copyright registrations for "No Such Animal" parts 1 & 2 and multiple copies of the sleeve for the Audio Fidelity 45 "No Such Animal". One of the reels is noted on the box as "No Such Animal 7 1/2", this probably is a 7.5 ips reel of that track alone, maybe a back-up reel or a test mix of the 45 master. The other reel comes with a studio log listing the following tracks (my comments in brackets):

Kato's Special (aka Hornet's Nest), Station Break (unreleased), No Such Animal, Flying On Instruments (aka Knock Yourself Out?), I'm A Fool For You Baby, U.F.O

The total time for this reel is given as 17.48 which indicates that these are not complete tracks but rather edited mixes of the multitracks prepared in 1966, as even excluding "Station Break" the complete versions of these tracks give a much longer playing time when put together .

The Allegro Sound Studios, Inc. log for the 6 song reel (or 7 as the listing says, probably counting the 2 parts of "No Such Animal" as two separate songs as it was split in half for the 45 release) seems to list tracks for 3 possible singles. Allegro Sound Studios was located at the same address as the RSVP offices, 1650 Broadway, this is the studio that Jimi in his deposition interview referred to as being located "downstairs" in the RSVP building 2. This was confirmed by Mike Rashkow (engineer at Studio 76 in 1966), there were only two studios in the building, Studio 76 and Allegro Sound Studios.

It's unclear exactly what this tape is: the tape log has the following boxes ticked: "master", "re-record" & "4T". This can't be the original multitrack as the timings don't match, the tracks are not complete, and "re-record" sounds like this would be a copy of something rather than a master tape. The most logical explanation that I can think of is that this is a tape of edited mixes of the multitracks made when they were considered for release as 45s. This 4-track tape could then have been used to make a mono master from which the actual 45s would have been cut.

The tracks are coupled in pairs with the mysterious notation "1DF" after each pair. The pairings are as follows, and probably indicate the suggested couplings for the single releases considered at the time:

Kato's Special
Station Break

No Such Animal
Flying On Instruments

I'm A Fool For You Baby
U.F.O

A date of 20 June 1966 appears twice on the tape log, under "date" and "due date". Based on the speculation above and the "due date" notation I believe this is the date when this particular reel of mixes was prepared, not the actual recording date of these tracks.

Eventually only two of these tracks were released by RSVP in 1966, and Jerry Simon sold some of the multitracks and masters to Ed Chalpin in 1967. Based on the info that we have Jerry Simon probably still has the original multitracks for the following songs in his possession (unless they have been destroyed of course): Station Break (unreleased), No Such Animal and possibly "I'm A Fool For You Baby" (since only one mix apart from mixes created by repeating sections of the track has ever appeared which suggests that Ed Chalpin was unable to remix it).

The eBay auction description says that "we do have a copy of the entire reel to reel on a DAT and cassette, done by Jerry about 20 years ago, also included. Besides these two copies, no others had been made." So the whereabouts of the 3 multitracks listed above remain a bit of a mystery.


1966 RSVP recordings FEATURING JIMI
Since there is no session info available I'll just list the tracks one by one. There must have been several studio sessions and these are all likely to have taken place in or after June 1966 but no further info is available.


I Ain't Taking Care Of No Business

Composer: Jimi Hendrix
Producer: ?
Recorded at: ?
Engineer: ?
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 a home demo made by Jimi & Curtis (see the "Demos" -section).


I'm A Fool For You Baby

Composer: Curtis Knight?
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: June? 1966
Vocals - Curtis Knight
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitars - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)

Features two guitar parts by Hendrix, the second one played through a fuzzbox with Jimi cleverly imitating a trumpet. The copyright listing of this track dates from 1967 after Chalpin had bought it from RSVP:

FOOL FOR YOU, BABY; w & m Curtis Knight.
2 p. © PPX Pub. Co., a division of
PPX Enterprises, Inc.; 16Aug67 ;
EU10285 .


Gotta Have A New Dress

Composers: Sampson Horton, Curtis Knight
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: June? 1966
Vocals - Curtis Knight
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)

This track is a re-recording of a Curtis Knight solo track (with no involvement by Jimi) released in 1962 on the single "Gotta Have A New Dress / When You've Got Love" (Shell 45-312). This is the first 1962 copyright registration for the track 3:

GOTTA HAVE A NEW DRESS; w & m Sampson
Horton & Curtis Knight. © Saxon Music
Corp.; 30Jan62; EU704774.

The 2nd registration dates from 1967 after Chalpin had bought the track from RSVP: 4:

GOTTA HAVE A NEW DRESS; w & m Curtis
Knight. 2p. @ PPX Pub. Co., a
division of PPX Enterprises, Inc.;
16Aug67; EU10286.

The re-recorded version is basically a straight re-recording of the original so the correct writing credits for the track should include Sampson Horton, missing from the 1967 registration.


The U.F.O.

Composer: Curtis Knight?
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: June? 1966
Vocals - Curtis Knight
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)

The copyright listing of this track dates from 1967 after Chalpin had bought it from RSVP 4:

UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS; w & m
Curtis Knight. 2 p. © PPX Pub. Co.,
a division of PPX Enterprises, Inc.;
16Aug67; EU10284.


Hornet's Nest
(aka Kato's Special)
Composers: Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Simon
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple
Date: June 1966
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)
Vocals (screaming) - unknown (all players?)

This instrumental was released in an edited form as the A-side of the RSVP 1124 single. The eBay RSVP reel auction in February 2005 listed this track under it's original working title "Kato's Special". One of the available mixes includes engineer Bruce Staples´ intro (he confirmed that it's his voice by listening to a sample) "Rolling - Kato's Special take 10 (or 2, hard to make this out)". Kato was a character in the radio (and later film & tv) series The Green Hornet which was first aired in 1936. The theme music of the show was an adaptation of "The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.. "Hornet's Nest" is not a straight cover of this, but certainly has been strongly influenced by the song. Jimi regularly included "The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee" as part of the guitar solo in "Lover Man" during his 1970 concerts, the inclusion might have more to do with The Green Hornet than Jimi's taste in classical music. The co-author credit for Jerry Simon could well be just a business requirement.

This track was copyrighted twice, once in 1966 5 by RSVP for the 45 release and again in 1967 4 after Chalpin bought the track from RSVP:

HORNET'S NEST; m Jimmy Hendrix & Jerry
Simon. © R.S.V.P. Music, Inc.;
30Aug66; EU955490.

HORNET'S NEST; m Curtis Knight. 1 p.
© PPX Pub. Co., a division of PPX
Enterprises, Inc.; 16Aug67; EU10287.

And finally some Bruce Lee trivia, courtesy of Andre Ellis:
1) Aretha Franklin also included a reference to the Green Hornet in "Save Me", the lyrics include the line
" Calling Kato, Green Hornet too...".
2) Bruce Lee who played "Kato" in the 1966 tv series shares the same birthday with Jimi - November 27, 1940 (but 1942 for Jimi)
3) Both died in (almost) the same place/street name: Cumberland Road (Hong Kong) / Cumberland Hotel (London) (Jimi was booked to stay at the Cumberland but he actually died at the Samarkand Hotel)
4) They also, amazingly both ended up being buried in Seattle


Knock Yourself Out

Composers: Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Simon
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple
Date: June 1966
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)

This instrumental was released in an edited form as the B-side of the RSVP 1124 single. Hendrix signed a publishing contract with RSVP for the tracks "Station Break" and "Flying On Instruments" on the 21st of June 1966 . The contract credits the composers for both tracks as Jimmy Hendrix and Jerry Simon. The eBay RSVP reel auction in February 2005 listed "Station Break" as an unreleased song, meaning that "Flying On Instruments" is probably an alternate (working) title for "Knock Yourself Out".

This track was copyrighted twice, once in 1966 5 by RSVP for the 45 release and again in 1967 4 after Chalpin bought the track from RSVP:

KNOCK YOURSELF OUT; m Jimmy Hendrix &
Jerry Simon. © R.S.V.P. Music, Inc.;
6Sep66; EU956073.

KNOCK YOURSELF OUT; m Curtis Knight.
1 p. © PPX Pub. Co., a division of
PPX Enterprises, Inc.; 16Aug67;
EU10288.


No Such Animal
Composer: Jimi Hendrix
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple
Date: June 1966
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - Jimi Hendrix
Bass - Napoleon Anderson
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)
Vocals (shouting) - unknown (all players?)

Hendrix signed a publishing contract with RSVP for this instrumental on the 21st of June 1966. This track is not included in the list of RSVP masters sold to PPX, and has never appeared on any compilation put out by Ed Chalpin, it was first issued by Jerry Simon on an Audio Fidelity Records 45 in 1970. Ed Chalpin later sued Audifidelity for releasing fake Hendrix recordings. The 1970 copyright listing 6:

NO SUCH ANIMAL; m Jimmy Hendrix. 2 v.
© R.S.V.P. Music, Inc.; 22Oct70;
EU213266-213267.


Station Break
Composers: Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Simon
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: June 1966

Hendrix signed a publishing contract with RSVP for the tracks "Station Break" and "Flying On Instruments" on the 21st of June 1966 . The contract credits the composers for both tracks as Jimmy Hendrix and Jerry Simon. The eBay RSVP reel auction in February 2005 listed "Station Break" as an unreleased song, this has been confirmed by John McDermott of Experience Hendrix.


1966 RSVP recordings WITH NO INVOLVEMENT BY JIMI
It's doubtful that Hendrix actually plays on these tracks. The guitar parts are very simple and low in the mix unlike the other PPX / RSVP studio recordings, and neither of these tracks has appeared on that many releases, which considering the way that Chalpin has been exploiting the other Knight recordings makes these two instantly suspect. One possibility could be that these tracks were recorded after Hendrix left the group, the style is very different to the other recordings so the Squires might have continued recording for RSVP without Jimi. Furthermore, "My Best Friend" was redone during the 1967 sessions which (if Hendrix were playing on this version) would make the song the only Curtis Knight studio track that was cut twice with Hendrix on guitar.


My Love (aka My Heart Is Higher)

Composer: Tony Hatch
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City?
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: 1966
Drums - Marion Booker
Guitar - unknown
Bass - Napoleon Anderson?
Organ - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)?

This instrumental most likely is the track listed as "Your Love" on the list of RSVP masters sold to PPX. It is a version of the Petula Clark song "My Love", released in the USA on a 7" single "My Love / Where Am I Going?" (Warner Bros. 5684) in December 1965. It's most of the time credited on Curtis Knight lp's as "My Heart Is Higher", but I've seen at least one release list it as "My Love (My Heart Is Higher)". The guitar part is very sparse and low in the mix.


Ballad Of Jimmy
(aka My Best Friend)
Composer(s): ?
Producer: Jerry Simon
Recorded at: Allegro Sound Studios, New York City?
Engineer: Bruce Staple?
Date: 1966
Vocals - Curtis Knight
Drums - Marion Booker?
Guitar - unknown
Bass - Napoleon Anderson?
Piano - Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. (aka Nate Edmonds)?

This is probably a 1966 version of the song, the track was re-done during the 1967 sessions, and later after Hendrix's death a new vocal part for the 1967 version was recorded with new lyrics on which Hendrix supposedly foresees his death. See the "1967 studio" -section for details. This sales gimmick would have worked better if the 1967 version of the song featuring the original lyrics hadn't already been released in 1968.

This 1966 version is so far only known to appear on the "Music for Pleasure"-label lp "Strange Things" MFP 2M046-95397, released in France in 1974. Again the guitar part is very basic which really isn't typical for Jimi.




SOURCES
1 as stated by Jimi in his 7 March 1968 deposition interview he played all of the instruments except the drums during his first Curtis Knight session 6 October 1965. So obviously Curtis didn't have a band together having just met Jimi the previous day. This is backed up by the RSVP single released from the sessions, "How Would You Feel", which is credited to Curtis Knight only, no mention of the Squires. In June 1966 RSVP signed a contract with Curtis Knight & the Squires and this is also who the 1966 "Hornet's Nest" RSVP single is credited to on the label.
2 Jimi's PPX court case deposition interview recorded 7 March 1968 in New York City, partially reproduced in Univibes issue #35
3 Library of Congress Copyright Office
Catalog of Copyright Entries 1962 Music Jan-June 3D Ser Vol 16 Pt 5
4 Library of Congress Copyright Office
Catalog of Copyright Entries 1967 Music July-Dec 3D Ser Vol 21 Pt 5
5 Library of Congress Copyright Office
Catalog of Copyright Entries 1966 Music July-Dec 3D Ser Vol 20 Pt 5
6 Library of Congress Copyright Office
Catalog of Copyright Entries 1970 Music July-Dec 3D Series Vol 24 Pt 5