The Curtis Knight tracks are the most complicated part of the pre-fame Hendrix recordings, but 2nd place goes to Lonnie Youngblood. First it must be noted though that many of the recordings detailed in this section actually have very little or nothing at all to do with Lonnie Youngblood. In fact only 4 tracks released as two 7 inch singles by Fairmount Records were originally issued with Youngblood as the featured artist. These genuine early Lonnie Youngblood tracks have been reissued over and over again alongside recordings of Lonnie & Jimi backing other artists, old tracks by unrelated artists that were doctored to sound like Hendrix and even completely unrelated later recordings claimed to have Jimi playing on them.
So how did all of these tracks with very different origins all end up known as Lonnie Youngblood recordings?In an interview by Frank Moriarty published in Univibes issue #24 Youngblood, when asked about the recordings, had this to say:
“You see, Fairmount just had a distribution deal - they never had the tapes,” Youngblood reveals. “The tapes were at the studio. Once I’d mixed them down and mastered them, I always left my tapes at the studio because at that time that was the thing to do. When everybody recorded, they left the mother tape at the studio.
“These people, they knew where the tapes I had recorded were,” Lonnie continues. “Johnny Brantley was a producer out of New York, and he had a lot of access to a lot of different companies. Like if you cut something and wanted to get it in the door somewhere, maybe Johnny could take it in for you. But he’s a liar and a… What’s the lowest name you can call somebody? The reason I feel this way is because when they took this tape, Johnny Brantley and Joe Robinson, they made a deal with this big company in Chicago, GRP. They went and bribed the guy who owned the studio, and actually went and took my tapes away. And they gave them about $100,000 for this tape. And they took all the money and didn’t give me any of the money. That was my stuff!
“And then these companies started to put the shit out and didn’t even put my name on it. They would say it was Jimi Hendrix singing, without my name on it - so many lies, man. The stuff that came out on that album called Two Great Experiences Together! - what happened with that, one company took that and tried to doctor it up to make it have more Hendrix activity. See Hendrix is more or less just backing me up. The companies wanted to say they had a little more activity by Hendrix, so they found some Hendrix wannabees and they put them on the tracks. And what they really did was they messed the tracks up with the overdubs."
FIRST ISSUE ON MAPLE RECORDS
Youngblood seems to be mainly talking about the time around the release of the "Two Great Experiences Together!" lp in January 19711. The lp was produced by Johnny Brantley from tracks elsewhere credited to Lonnie Youngblood, The Icemen, Billy LaMont, Lenny Howard, George Scott and Jimmy Norman, but all of the tracks included on the lp were either takes with vocals by Lonnie Youngblood, or instrumental versions of songs originally sung by one of the previously mentioned artists. If Brantley and Robinson stole the tapes, why did they compile an lp that didn't feature or credit anybody else except Youngblood and Hendrix?
"Two Great Experiences Together!" actually was clearly designed to boost Youngblood's career, and was clearly put together with his blessing and input. Many of the songs were padded out with new sax & vocal overdubs to fill out the void left by the wiped vocals and Lonnie himself helped to arrange contractual matters so that the recordings could be released (see Dates And Personnel for more info). It could well be that after this lp things indeed did get sour between Brantley and Youngblood as like he says later Brantley productions didn't display Youngblood's name very visibly and as time passed there wasn't much of a mention of him left at all. Lonnie had produced (and probably paid for the recording of) all of the Youngblood / Hendrix tracks released by Fairmount and it's most likely these master tapes that Johnny Brantley according to Lonnie "did a runner" with.
The "Two Great Experiences Together!" -lp may have partially been issued by Brantley in order to "test the waters", to see if anybody would notice the recycling or get otherwise upset at the use of Jimi's name as Brantley after this lp commenced with a real flood of "Jimi Hendrix" lp releases. These albums that came after had increasingly less authentic early tracks with Hendrix playing on them and more and more old recordings with new overdubs done in order to pass them off as Hendrix or even completely new recordings that didn't have anything to do with Jimi and were probably recorded after his death (information about all these recordings can be found in the "Fakes" -section). The releases finally stopped in the 1980s after Audiofidelity Enterprises was sued for the distribution of fake Jimi Hendrix recordings.
Over the years all the genuine and fake Jimi Hendrix recordings got more and more mixed up through extensive licensing leading to countless lp & cd compilations and re-issues with non-existent liner notes. Eventually this led to all of the tracks getting lumped together in the public's mind as Lonnie Youngblood recordings even though just the first "Two Great Experiences Together!" -lp really had him as the featured artist on the cover and many albums didn't have any mention of Youngblood on the cover nor does he play a note on them.
So the subject matter is complex, I have tried to make sense of it by dividing it into the following pages:
Details the four genuine "solo" Lonnie Youngblood -recordings featuring Jimi
More genuine Youngblood / Hendrix tracks but recorded as members of a backing band for other artists
Dates & Personnel
Discussion of what was recorded where and who was involved
Details for the "fake" material (of which much more exists than there are genuine recordings)
1 "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