As we’ve previously noted, Jimi Hendrix spent several years as a journeyman guitarist, playing the early rock ‘n’ roll circuit with stars like Wilson Pickett and Little Richard, before he finally came into his own. One point in his career, writes the Daily Beast, found him “on the bad side of a horrible recording contract” with “notoriously shady label owner and producer” Ed Chalpin of RSVP Records. This was during his tenure with a group called Curtis Knight & The Squires, many of whose recordings ended up “locked in litigation for years, a period that stretched to decades.”
Now that these tracks have been acquired by the Hendrix-family run company Experience Hendrix, they can finally be heard for the first time. Soon to be released as part of the compilation You Can’t Use My Name: Curtis Knight & The Squires (Featuring Jimi Hendrix), the instrumental above, “Station Break”—unlike so many other supposedly “new” Hendrix releases—has never appeared before in any other version. It’s not a Hendrix composition, but it’s his guitar, restrained in some fairly standard R&B licks.
“What makes [the recordings] so special” on the new compilation album, says Hendrix’s sister Janie, “is that they provide an honest look at a great artist during a pivotal time when he was on the cusp of his breakthrough.” Though Hendrix may seem to have descended from outer space, he actually honed his skills in groups like the Squires, before Animals bassist Chas Chandler discovered him and brought him to the UK. These early R&B releases “represent a significant segment in the timeline of Jimi’s musical existence.” They may not be as mind-blowing as, say, the psychedelic riffs in “Third Stone From the Sun,” but they show us an incredibly talented guitarist at work, straining to break free of a pop template and venture into musical realms uncharted.
via The Daily Beast,