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CURTIS KNIGHT & THE SQUIRES

The first RSVP Curtis Knight single was credited just to "Curtis Knight", this second single was credited to "Curtis Knight & The Squires" and features two guitar-based instrumentals, a clear change in direction.

Released in USA
Titles: Hornet's Nest / Knock Yourself Out - 7" single

Composers:
Hornet's Nest - (Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Simon (?))
Knock Yourself Out - (Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Simon (?))
Producer: Jerry Simon
Release date: early September 1966 1
Label: RSVP
Catalog number: RSVP 1124

The single was reviewed in the 17 September 1966 Cash Box issue.
Side A was graded "B+" (very good):
"Wild reading of the comic character`s theme".

Side B in turn got a "B" (good):
"Wild instrumental outing".

In the review both sides are credited to "Hendrix, Simon" as per the single label - this may be the first time that Jimi got his name mentioned in a newspaper article? It is highly likely that Jerry Simon actually didn`t participate in the writing of these tracks, it was quite common in the 1960s for producers / artists to claim a part of the writing credits for tracks originally composed by others that they recorded.

The single was also reviewed in Record World 17 September 1966:
"A drum, guitar and organ instrumental that should kick up a storm". 107

The record was pressed by RCA, it can be dated by the matrix numbers, all pressings done in 1966 start with a "T", see http://www.45rpmrecords.com/date_rca.php

But, was this single actually ever commercially released? I have yet to see a single copy with stock labels, all of the copies out there have the text "D.J. Copy Not For Sale". Some sort of discs were send to at least Cash Box and Record World for review but no actual commercial release seems to have taken place? 

The median price for the single on Discogs in 180 $. Which tells us that it's not ultra rare but you will not get it cheap either, so pressed in small numbers. You can buy the "How Would You Feel" 45 on Discogs for a median price of 19.77 $ so plenty of copies of the previous RSVP single are available, both DJ and stock copies.

The book Setting The Record Straight 2 describes the moment that Michael Jeffery found out about the existence of this single and the RSVP-recordings:
As Marshall and Vigoda began tracking down Juggy Murray, Hendrix further exasperated Yameta. "I remember the situation very well," recalled Michael Jeffery in 1968, "We took him to a club in London where they were playing records, and one evening Hendrix proudly said, `Hey, listen to this one. I'm on there somewhere.` I got a bit agitated, obtained a copy of the record, and said, `What do you mean you are on it?` He said, `Oh, it was made when I was playing with this group, the Squires.` I started questioning him in depth about this group and what his relationship was with them. I said, `Are you sure you have no other pieces of paper around?` He said, `No, I did sign something as a session man or something like that...forget it, it doesn*t mean anything.`" Regardless, Jeffery instructed Marshall & Vigoda to obtain quitclaims for any recordings Hendrix may have participated in with the Squires on RSVP Records, the label on the single he had purchased. He then instructed Leon Dicker, Yameta's American attorney and representative, to forward Marshall & Vigoda the sum of $2,500 to secure all necessary quitclaims.

The single label clearly did not mention PPX, as if it would have Jeffery would have sorted the P.P.X.-contract. So the disc played at the club must have been "Hornet's Nest" and not "How Would You Feel" (which DOES mention P.P.X. on the label).

The timing here is interesting. "Hornet's Nest" was released in early September, Jimi left for England on the 23rd of September 1966. "Hornet's Nest / Knock Yourself Out" is an instrumental 45 and the lead guitarist of the band and the composer of the songs left the country probably just a week or two after the DJ version of the single was released. It is also possible that Jimi had handed in his notice already some time before actually getting on a plane in which case the DJ version may have already been pressed and Jerry Simon cancelled the pressing of the stock copy? Or did Michael Jeffery buy out the contract before a stock copy had been pressed and Jerry Simon had to cancel the release? The incident at the club is not dated but must have been very early on if the Juggy Murray / Sue contract was still being sorted out. If "Hornet's Nest" was only issued to DJ's it wouldn't be odd for a DJ in the UK play a disc that had just come in from the US.

No-one probably can tell for sure exactly what happened with the "Hornet's Nest" single unless RSVP / Jerry Simon paperwork still exists in some archive somewhere? For now the pieces of the puzzle do not quite fit together yet but I believe there must be some connection between the missing stock copies and Jimi leaving for England.


Apparently only exists as a "D.J. Copy Not For Sale" -promo version?

Matrix A:
TK4M--1468--1 R
Matrix B:
TK4M--1469--1 R

Curtis Knight and the Squires Side A Hornets Nest

Curtis Knight and the Squires Side B Knock Yourself Out




SOURCES
1 As detailed above the single was pressed in 1966, the tracks were copyrighted 30Aug66 & 6Sep66 (see the 1966 recordings -section). Cash Box reviewed the disc in the 17 September 1966 issue (thanks to David Chance) and Record World in the 17 September 1966 issue. Based on these sightings I'm estimating early September 1966 as the release date for the single.

2 Setting the Record Straight by John McDermott & Eddie Kramer, pages 37-38