Dates & personnel
When the lp releases of the genuine and fake Youngblood recordings came out in 1971 - 1982 very little information was made available about who played what and when. The original 45s of course did not have any liner notes (and were mostly unknown for 30 years) and the lp compilations mainly tried to hide the actual origin of the tracks included instead of giving detailed recording info. If any information was to be found it usually consisted of variations of the following:
Produced by Johnny Brantley & Lee Moses
Engineer: Abe Steinberg
Recorded at Abtone Recording Studios, New York 10 June 1966
This was at the time considered false information as the Youngblood Fairmount singles were thought to have been recorded in Philadelphia and released in 1963 as per the 1963 copyright date on the label. I'll break the information down and compare it to what we currently know about these recordings, let's first look at the recording year.
1963 OR 1966?
Lonnie Youngblood released three 7" singles on Fairmount (one of which Jimi does not play on), most copies with a 1963 copyright date on the label which has caused much confusion. Here's a list of them including the actual release dates for each (see the Discography for more information on the dates):
Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place (Fairmount Records F-1002)
Release date: May 1966. 1
Wooley Bully / The Grass (Will Sing For You) (Fairmount Records F-1016)
Release date: November 1966. 2 No Hendrix involvement.
Soul Food (That's A What I Like) / Goodbye, Bessie Mae (Fairmount Records F-1022)
Release date: April 1967. 3
Fairmount Records released it's first single in mid 1963 4, for reasons unknown every release that the label ever put out afterwards either had the copyright date 1963 on the label or no date at all, no matter what the year of release was (you can see most of the Fairmount discography at www.45cat.com). The Youngblood 45s on Fairmount were in reality released in 1966-1967. We do not know the exact recording dates for the tracks on the "Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place" and "Soul Food (That's A What I Like) / Goodbye, Bessie Mae" -singles but all of these songs would seem to have been cut between February - May 1966 (see "Solo Recordings"). Several additional facts further confirm that the 1963 date has nothing to do with the actual recording & release dates of the tracks:
1. Kees De Lange pointed out in the book "Plug Your Ears" that in the lyrics of "Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place" Boogaloo and the Jerk are mentioned, both dances that became popular circa 1965 (read more about the Jerk in the Rosa Lee Brooks -section)
2. "Wooley Bully" was released on Fairmount F-1016 (no date on label). The song was originally recorded by Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs and released in March 1965 on the single "Wooly Bully / Ain't Gonna Move" (MGM K13322). Lonnie Youngblood is highly unlikely to have recorded a cover of a song (which was an original written by Sam The Sham aka Domingo Samudio) 2 years before the original version was released.
3. There is a version of the "Soul Food (That's A What I Like)" single on the black & blue Fairmount label with a 1963 date on it. As the single was released after Youngblood's 1966 "Wooley Bully" single the 1963 date clearly can't be correct.
4. A test pressing for an Evie Sands 45 "Picture Me Gone / It Makes Me Laugh" (Cameo 413) was sold on eBay in 2003. According to the seller "The label is blank although you can make out a faint impression of a Lonnie Youngblood Fairmont release", thus this disc was being pressed around the same time as one of the Youngblood 45s (Fairmount was a subsidiary of Cameo Parkway). The test pressing was in a plain sleeve with "C-413" and "5-31-66" written on it, thus suggesting it dates from May 1966.
5. The 1963 copyright dates on the labels have been printed separately from the credits. The copyright date moves around on the various labels, sometimes it's well apart from the credits, sometimes it overlaps them. Also, the date has been pressed using a different ink (look closely at the pic below), all of this suggests that the labels were pre-printed with a 1963 date and the text on the various single labels was printed separately.
In conclusion, the 1963 copyright date on the Lonnie Youngblood Fairmount single labels definitely is NOT the release date of the records.
Even thought the city still gets occasional mention the Youngblood recordings were not done in Philadelphia. Fairmount was a subsidiary of Cameo Parkway Records, a Philadelphia based label, which in the very early days of Hendrix collecting led to the incorrect assumption that the sessions had taken place in Philadelphia. The "solo" Youngblood recordings were instead done in New York City, probably at Allegro Sound Studios but as the original multitrack masters have gone missing it's not currently possible to positively confirm this. Cameo Parkway Records had a New York City office situated at 1650 Broadway in 1965-1966 5, the same address where Allegro Sound Studios could be found at. 1650 Broadway was also home to Studio "76", PPX Enterprises Inc. and Jerry Simon's RSVP -label (see Curtis Knight).
So why do the Johnny Brantley produced lps list Abtone Recording Studios as the location for the recordings? Lonnie Youngblood also stated in an interview published in Univibes issue #24, asked about whether these tracks were recorded in Philadelphia, that they were recorded in New York on 8-track at Abtone recording studios, Broadway between 55th and 56th [street] on the second floor.
A registration for the company Abtone Recording Studios, Inc. can be found on the internet and acetates with labels crediting either "Abtone Recordings Studios" or "Abtone Studios" exist so the studio name is genuine. Both acetate label designs include the same address, 1733 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y. 10019. And is this address located on "Broadway, between 55th and 56th", like Lonnie Youngblood stated? Yes it is.
Abe Steinberg could well have been the name of the engineer for the sessions, Abtone probably is a play on his first name, if this was a small studio the owner might well have been working as an engineer without much or any other staff employed.
So, Allegro Sound Studios or Abtone Recording Studios?
It seems likely that the original solo Youngblood recordings were done at Allegro Sound Studios as Jimi also recorded with Curtis Knight at Allegro, mixing for the Youngblood Fairmount singles was done at Allegro Sound Studios, later 1966 Youngblood sessions (with no Hendrix involvement) took place there and the studio was located in the same building as the Cameo Parkway office.
The overdubbing and mixing of the recordings in preparation for "Two Great Experiences Together!" lp in 1970 after Jimi's death could have taken place at the Abtone Recording Studios 6 which would explain the credit on the lp sleeve. But also the backing track sessions or some of the fakes could well have been done at Abtone. So Abtone Recording Studios cannot yet be ruled out as a possible location for some of the recordings.
10 June 1966 is the only date ever listed on any Brantley release for these recordings. It's hard to believe that all these different songs would have been recorded during a single day. 10 June 1966 also happens to be the same date that Jimi signed a contract with the RSVP -label which seems like a very odd co-incidence.
The date may be partly explained by Lonnie Youngblood´s testimony during the 1986 Audiofidelity court case. 7 Lonnie was questioned about exhibit 8, a contract between Vidalia Productions (ie Johnny Brantley) and Jimi Hendrix.
The first segment seems to come from a testimony given to a Mr. Parson:
Q. Let me ask you, Mr. Youngblood, you say you signed the agreement which is marked Exhibit 8. Is That correct? I want to ask you to look at the last page. Is that your signature?
Q. Is that Mr. Hendrix's signature?
A. Is it his signature?
A. Did he sign it?
Q. That's right.
Q. Do you know who did sign it?
Q. Would you please tell us who did?
A. I signed it.
Q. When was it signed?
A. When was it signed? It was signed after his death, to my knowledge.
Another segment follows many pages later, apparently Lonnie is now talking to a different person as Mr. Parson objects at one point:
Q. He asked you about Hendrix's signature?
Q: What did you tell him about that?
A. I told him that the contract was signed when Hendrix was dead.
Q. You told him that Exhibit 8 --
A. And I signed it.
Q. You signed it when Hendrix was dead also?
A. Yeah. You see --
Q. No. Did you tell him you signed --
MR. PARSON: Objection. The witness --
THE COURT: Overruled. Please don't argue your objections.
Q. You told Mr. Parson that you signed Exhibit 8 after Jimi Hendrix was dead?
A. I told him -- let me tell you exactly what I told him. I told him -- I don't know, but I think I did. I am not sure, but I don't know, but I know I signed it.
Q. You signed Exhibit 8, you can identify your signature, is that correct, on the last page?
Q. But the truth is, Mr. Youngblood, in 1986, March or may whatever date is today, you don't remember when you signed it, do you? You know you signed it, but you don't remember [pages missing]
And one more segment:
Q. Look at the date March 10, 1966. Do you have any idea why that date appears on Exhibit 8?
A. I would imagine -- you see, I think it was on there because when I signed this with Johnny Brantley, we had to do it in -- we had to sign it either before Hendrix was assigned to somebody else or before or after he died or something. I don't recall.
Q. That is what I want to get to. The truth of the matter is, Mr. Youngblood, you really don't recall the circumstances under which Exhibit 8 was signed. Isn't that true?
A. I recall the circumstances now. I don't recall the time.
Q. Give me the circumstances.
A. The circumstances was that Jimi Hendrix was not here and I was, and it was my material, so, you know, I signed it and got it out there and I received some front money, a thousand dollars or something like this.
Q. Are you saying that you and Brantley got together after Hendrix is dead?
[first part of next page missing] I know when we put that album out, the Warner Brothers put a stop on it, so I don't know whether he was dead or not. I can't say that. I said that prior. I don't know if he was dead or not.
Q. I am not trying to be foxy.
A. I am not trying to be foxy, either.
Q. I want to know, your testimony, as you sit here today in 1986, is that Hendrix was already dead?
A. I didn't say that. I said I don't know if he was dead or not or whether he was signed with Warner Brothers. I know there was a reason why we predated this contract.
Q. Who is the "we"?
A. Me and Brantley and Joe Robinson.
Q. You, Brantley and Joe Robinson got together, right, to predate a contract to make it look like --
A. It was legal.
Q. That Jimi Hendrix was signed to Vidalia before he signed to Warner Brothers?
Q. That is your testimony?
A genuine contract for the Johnny Brantley produced tracks that Jimi played on has never been seen. Very likely Jimi never signed a contract with Vidalia Productions at the time of the recordings so when Brantley wanted to release them under Jimi's name a contract needed to be made up. Lonnie is vague in his answers about the reason for predating the contract. Jimi had already signed with PPX Enterprises Inc. in 1965 so predating the Vidalia contract to 10 March 1966 wouldn't have helped. Either Brantley was unaware of the PPX contract, didn't know what it's date was or there was another reason for choosing the 10 March 1966 date.
Jimi had already recorded with Lonnie Youngblood before 10 March 1966 so needing to have the contract predate the recording sessions doesn't seem like a good explanation either. One possibility that does remain is that the contract had to date from before Lonnie's first record release featuring Jimi's playing, the "Go Go Shoes" 45 in May 1966. Warner Brothers is mentioned in the transcript so 10 March 1966 date might just have been a date that predates Jimi's contract with Warner, with no regard given to the PPX contract.
Whatever the reason for the backdating the fake contract makes the 10 June 1966 recording date given in liner notes extremely suspect. It may be complete fantasy - or a genuine recording date for some of the material. This puzzle remains unsolved.
Musicians playing on the Johnny Brantley lps are often given as a variation of what is listed below (if they are listed at all):
Jimi Hendrix: guitar and vocals
Lonnie Youngblood: saxophone and vocals
Herman Hitson: guitar
Lee Moses: guitar
Herman Hitson and Lee Moses most likely only participated in the recording of the fake material. Neither gets any mention on the "Two Great Experiences Together!" lp credits, their names only appear on later lps that feature fake material. Nor is there any other reason to assume that they participated in any Youngblood / Hendrix sessions whatsoever, more information about the material that they do play on is available on the Fakes-page.
So the lp liners don't give us any actual personnel information (apart from Lonnie & Jimi of course), what can be deducted from the info available is the following:
Jimi Hendrix: guitar and vocals
Lonnie Youngblood: saxophone and vocals
May Thomas: background vocals
Ace Hall: possibly bass on some tracks
Napoleon Anderson (aka Hank Anderson): possibly bass on some tracks
May Thomas is Lonnie's wife (Lonnie's real name being Lonnie Thomas), co-writer and vocalist on "Go Go Shoes". Ace Hall also received a writing credit on "Go Go Shoes" so it's likely that he plays bass on the track though it's also possible that he plays another instrument instead or didn't play anything at all. The same applies to Hank Anderson who received a writing credit on Soul Food (That's a What I Like).
Both Ace Hall and Hank Anderson played bass with Jimi and Lonnie in Curtis Knight & the Squires so Lonnie probably just asked whoever was available at the time to participate in the recordings, any former or then current member of the Squires is a possibility as the Squires was more a pool of musicians than a band with a steady line-up.
1 The tapebox for the mono mix used by Fairmount to press the single is dated 11 May 1966. This is likely to be the date when the mix was made, it could also be the date of the recording session. The copyright registration for "Go Go Shoes" is dated 1 June 1966 and a copy of the single exists with dj markings including a date "5/24" - so a release date of May 1966 would seem likely. See the Lonnie Youngblood solo recordings -page for more information.
2 The "Wooley Bully" -single is listed in Billboard issue12 November 1966 on page 18 under "Spotlights - Predicted to reach the R&B SINGLES Chart" meaning it had just been released. See the Lonnie Youngblood solo recordings -page for more information. Liner notes for the boxset "Cameo Parkway 1957-1967" (ABKCO 2005) state: "The Grass (Will Sing For You) Recorded August 1966, Allegro Sound Studios, New York City". It's a bit unclear which track on the 45 was meant to be the A-side, the single labels have no notes for the A & B sides and the matrixes give nothing away. Billboard does review the single as "The Grass (Will Sing For You)" so they considered that to be the A-side, I'm going with "Wooley Bully" instead as it would seem odd to put the hit song on the B-side but this is open to discussion.
3 A copy of the 45 exist with a "APRIL 3 1967" date stamp on the label. Who stamped the disc is unknown but a radio station employee / DJ seems likely. The copyright registrations for the tracks are dated 11 April 1967, and finally, the single is listed in Billboard issue15 April 1967 on page 18 under "Spotlights - Predicted to reach the R&B SINGLES Chart" meaning it had just been released. See the Lonnie Youngblood solo recordings -page for more information.
4 Liner notes for the boxset "Cameo Parkway 1957-1967" (ABKCO 2005) state that “Everybody South Street”, the B-side to the first Fairmount Records 45 release "Key To My Heart" F-610 by The Taffys, was recorded April 1963 at Cameo Parkway Studio in Philadelphia. "Daydreamin´Of You" by The Dreamers (Fairmount F-612) was listed under "Pop Spotlight" on page 29 in the Billboard issue 7 September 1963 so Fairmount Records seems to have released it's first 45 sometime in mid 1963.
5 a 1650 Broadway address for a Cameo / Parkway NYC office is listed in an ad in Billboard issues 8 May 1965 and 2 July 1966, probably other issues as well.
6 "Two Great Experiences Together" was mentioned in a news item ("This month from All-Platinum and the Stang label: ... Jimi Hendrix & Lonnie Youngblood "Together" on the Maple label, distributed by All-Platinum") in Billboard issue 16 January 1971 and also listed as a new CARtridge release in Billboard issue 27 February 1971 As the lp was released in early January 1971 it was very likely compiled in late 1970 including the overdubbing and remixing. The sleeve does not mention the studio but it does include the credit "Engineer / Abe Steinberg".
7 Part of Lonnie Youngblood's testimony transcript from the Audiofidelity case in 1986, unfortunately incomplete - courtesy of Ed Chalpin Papers, Library and Archives, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum