Before he became a psychedelic shaman and the most lauded guitar player or his (or, arguably, any) era, Jimi Hendrix was "Jimmy" Hendrix.
Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings Before the fiery guitars and feather boas, Curtis Knight & the Squires: "Jimmy" Hendrix (left) with (clockwise) drummer Marion Booker, Bassist/Tambourine player Ace Hall, and singer Curtis Knight.
A jobbing, wandering axeman for hire, he spent lean years lending his brewing talents onstage and in the studio by backing acts like Little Richard, King Curtis, the Isley Brothers, Don Covay and even Joey Dee and the Starlighters. One of his more lasting relationships was with the Harlem-based R&B combo Curtis Knight and the Squires, with whom he both performed and recorded numerous sides in 1965-'66.
That was before ex-Animal bassist Chas Chandler whisked him away to England, where he became a sensation and the most talked-about American import since Elvis. And then returned him to these shores for Monterey Pop and worldwide success. Now, fans can finally hear a number of those cuts with Curtis Knight and the Squires -- legally, and after decades of litigation -- on the new compilation You Can't Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions (Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings).