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CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)


Pictures

 

Ondine Discotheque
59th Street, New York City, New York

These pictures were probably taken around June / July 1966 at the Ondine Discotheque.

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 1 the 2 July 1966 date seems to be the correct one. This would probably have been at least a one week booking.

In August 2003 I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with Jim Reeves who was the DJ & soundman at Ondine's, and thus mixed & DJ'd during Curtis Knight bookings. He also installed the PA system, which he describes on his website www.reevesaudio.com:

"It consisted of a 5 channel Altec 1567a mixer, 3 Altec condenser 21c microphones, and an Altec 100 watt (as big as a house!) amplifier and a pair of Altec column speakers with 2 Thoren's TD-125 turntables for continuous record playing and an American Concertone 1/4'track reversible tape deck forplaying non-stop dance mixes for non critical dance music during the dinning hours. A very sophisticated highly state of the art system for it's time."

See his website for more, he emailed me the following additional info:

Jim Reeves: "From the musical symbols in the background it's clear that it was not Ondine [referring to "unknown location" pictures which I thought were from Ondine's - webmaster]. More probably a porthole, lifesaver, oar or netting would have been in the background. Things from a large sailboat. The decor was simulated after the Olympic sailing vessel Ondine. Other telltales would be: If zoomed out a little, a pair of Altec columns hanging above horizontally. The mics were small cylindrical shaped. Very expensive Altec studio "lipstick" condenser mics.

After the new management (with Brad Pierce) took over, they moved the stage to the south wall. You can see the arched, ship like rafters above on ceiling and the porthole near the guitar on the stand. I wonder if I'm dancing. I'm starting to think that the guy in the white shirt (bottom pic) with the black wavy hair is me dancing with Babbette. I had to have been there when this picture was taken since I was in charge of the shows and music, either in the sound booth to the right or dancing or something.

Ondine was not at all a large venue. There was a 18' to 22'foot bar at the front and a coat check room across from it. Continuing on to the rear was a 25' x 35'x 9'h room with a stage, dance floor? And beyond that, a fairly large kitchen. There were booths around the perimeter of the room. "The Losers" was the house band. They were a funky blues rock pop band. Joe Nessor (bass and vocal), Tony Sal (Guitar and vocal), Brian Keenan (drums) and Russell ??? (guitar) I think.

Yes, those are the speakers, but had them reinstalled there vicariously when they moved the stage. When Brad took over he fired all the staff including me, but when he realized that I was the installer and main discaire (DJ) he rehired me. It cost him a bit to get me back. But in the meantime he had
renovated on his own. He was pretty hip to the scene and brought in The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, the Denims, and the Druids of Stonehenge and the Pilgrims (fully costumed like the Rascals who performed regularly at Harlowe's on 72nd street).

I was told by the owner's that Ondine was a God from the sea (like Odessa) from mythology and a sailboat was named after her and it had won an Olympic competition sometime in the 1900's. '40's, '50's? Brad Pierce of Ondine [later] opened a club in the village called Salvation (and another Salvation II).

The owners of Ondine also owned The Barge, a disco in the Hampton's on Long Island, NY and launched the Young Rascals from there, and also le Club on east 55th Street near the East River. It was posh and totally private and very French, with window booths on different levels and sort of speakeasy-ish entrance. A small peep door would open and you would have to identify yourself to gain entry. It preceded all the New York discos. My mentor had installed their sound system and passed Ondine on to me to do. Later, I have to say '64, "Arthur's", owned by Cybil Burton, (former wife of Richard Burton, if I have my facts straight) was the first public disco (House band - The Fuzzie Bunnies; Sonny and Cher were among the frequenteurs) and then Ondine followed a few weeks after. Then the rest mushroomed up all over Manhattan. I had access to most all the clubs because of my professional involvement in Ondine and Arthur's. I also helped to maintain their sound systems. It was pretty cool for me to be in the " happening circle".

It would have been '65 and Yes, they were called "The Curtis Knight Four-featuring Jimi James". And I
also recall Jimi and I hitting the Brasserie restaurant for cheeseburgers and birds after the clubs closed, several times. (A Brasserie Inside tip; the cheese was inside the burgers! A lesson well learned.) "

In Univibes #16 Kees de Lange wrote about Hendrix's first meeting with the Rolling Stones and offered the following references: He quotes a Hendrix interview done on the 9th of October in 1967 in Paris for "Music Maker" where Jimi says that Mick Jagger tried to get him on tour a year before Chas Chandler found Hendrix. He also quotes a Mick Jagger interview from the 28 January 1967 "Melody Maker" issue where Jagger says that he saw Hendrix a year ago in New York. In an interview with radio station "Amsterdam FM" on the 22th of October 1992 Curtis Knight said that the Rolling Stones visited Ondine while Curtis & Jimi were playing there.

Two previously unseen pictures were included on the Dagger Records "Live At George`s Club 20" -lp and these show the whole band including Nate Edmonds and Marion Booker. The band were probably booked as Curtis Knight and the Squiers and the line-up was:

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


Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - vocals, Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass.


Jimi Hendrix - guitar, Curtis Knight - vocals, Napoleon "Hank" Anderson - bass.

 

 

SOURCES
1 Billboard issue 16 April 1966.