Title - 'You Can't Use My Name The RSVP PPX Sessions'
Artist - Curtis Knight & The Squires
Known for his connection to Jimi Hendrix, Mont Curtis McNear aka Curtis Knight, was an American musician who, sadly, only just passed away (1999). Originally being backed by what he termed being Don Covay's Goodtimers, that all changed when he renamed them The Squires.
Now, as much as the just-released You Can't Use My Name The RSVP PPX Sessions from Curtis Knight & The Squires also comes with the tag line "feat. Jimi Hendrix," and it has actually been released as an Authorized Hendrix Family Edition CD through the Experience Handrix label, it's hard to think - from my observational point of view - of Hendrix even being a part of this quartet (so to speak).
But look closely, oh so closely at the cover art and you will see, over there to the left hand side, a young, soulful, suit wearing Jimi Hendrix. If I hadn't have seen it with my own eyes, I'd have never believed it, but there was life before Hendrix set light to his guitar live on stage!
OK, I kid, of course, but Curtis Knight & The Squires' You Can't Use My Name The RSVP PPX Sessions is so perfect, such a soulful set of studio recordings that you wonder why none of these songs were made more mainstream through the past 50 years or so.
But then, just as I'm listening to them, immersing myself within them one by one, I am told just why these recordings have taken so long to come into the here and now. It turns out that Hendrix was blighted throughout his career by litigation over these recordings in the US and UK. Indeed, these fights continued until his family ultimately prevailed in litigation. Ergo, You Can't Use My Name stands as their first attempt to present this music in its original context.
The band featured here on these 1965/1966 tracks - inclusive of a previously unreleased one also - were Curtis Knight (vocals), Jimi Hendrix (guitar), Ace Hall (bass/tambourine), and Marion Booker on drums, but it wasn't long after the songs were recorded, the photos taken that Ace Hall had been replaced by Napoleon (Hank) Anderson. Also, as was the fluid state of the band at that time, Nate Edmonds had also been added to the line-up. Indeed, if you want to dig deeper into this change about, this "latter" line-up was the one that signed the contract with RSVP in June 1966!
The album kicks off in fine R&B style with the foot-tappin' 'How Would You Feel,' before the dance hop of 'Gotta Have a New Dress,' the Quartet harmonies of 'Don't Accuse Me,' and then tracks such as the handshake jive of 'Simon Says,' the blistering guitar and Hammond organ work of 'Hornet's Nest,' and then the 56 second "title track" itself, 'You Can't Use My Name.'
You Can't Use My Name The RSVP PPX Sessions features that aforementioned previously unreleased track, 'Station Break,' full length versions of 'Knock Yourself Out (Flying On Instruments),' 'No Such Animal,' and an alternate version of 'Gloomy Monday.' As a rare behind-the-curtain treat, what precedes this version is the "title track" mentioned above, where we get the dialogue between Hendrix and producer Ed Chalpin; where Hendrix requests that the producer not use his name on this session (because of the aforementioned ongoing litigation between them). Hence the title of the whole album, of course!
With all the 14 tracks newly mixed by Eddie Kramer, the new CD also comes with a 24-page booklet filled with rare photos and detailed liner notes. This is an incredible, nostalgic and delightfully soulful album that, I for one, am so happy has at long last been allowed to come to the fore of our music attentions. Furthermore, it is a rich reminder to the new generation that real music was being made a long time before all this modern day, regurgitated sh*t was, sadly, marketed as being the songs of this decade!