Title - 'No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2'
Artist - Curtis Knight & The Squires
If you are unaware, No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2 by Curtis Knight & The Squires is the follow-up to Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings’ 2015 collection You Can’t Use My Name.
This brand new release (out October 23rd, 2020) includes October 1965 demo recordings made by the then-unknown Jimi Hendrix, as well as 1967 studio recordings with Hendrix when he was in the midst of his meteoric ascent to stardom.
The story goes that Jimi Hendrix was based in Harlem in 1965, working intermittently as an itinerant sideman when he met Curtis Knight in a hotel lobby.
Knight invited Hendrix to record with him, booking time at Studio 76, a Manhattan facility run by producer Ed Chalpin. Hendrix joined Knight to record nine demos (tracks 11-19) on or about October 15, 1965.
These demos provide a window into the formation of Hendrix’s creative evolution. 'Two Little Birds' and 'Suddenly' presage his playing on future classics, such as 'Little Wing' and 'Castles Made of Sand,' while 'Working All Day' and 'Taking Care Of No Business,' hold the distinction of being the first known recorded Jimi Hendrix compositions.
After the conclusion of this initial demo session, Hendrix was approached by Chalpin to sign what the guitarist thought was a release for his participation. What Chalpin actually had Hendrix unknowingly sign was a contract with his own PPX Enterprises Inc. for $1 and a 1% royalty rate.
Chalpin filed away the agreement and Hendrix continued to lend his guitar to sessions on Knight’s behalf in 1965 and the first half of 1966.
As Hendrix prepared for his return to the US via the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Chalpin initiated legal proceedings based upon his one page, October 1965 agreement.
Worse still, now that Hendrix was a known commercial commodity, Chalpin was releasing material Hendrix had recorded with Curtis Knight and passing it off as solo material by Jimi.
In a failed attempt to placate Chalpin, Hendrix returned to Studio 76 in July and August of 1967 and recorded more music with Curtis Knight with the hopes of being released from his onerous contract.
From a business perspective, his plan backfired, but more unique music was created as a result.
In addition to 1966 studio recordings such as 'Hornet’s Nest' and 'UFO,' No Business also features highlights from the July and August 1967 sessions.
Hendrix’s wah-wah guitar can be heard on 'Hush Now' and 'Love, Love' while also adding a Hagstrom 8-string bass part on an updated version of 'Taking Care Of No Business' and 'My Best Friend.'
Dagger was founded by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. over two decades ago as an official ‘bootleg’ label to provide Hendrix fans throughout the world with additional live performances, home demos and studio recordings.
The Studio Sessions
2. 'No Business'
3. 'Hush Now'
4. 'Gloomy Monday' (Alternate)
5. 'How Would You Feel' (Alternate)
6. 'Love, Love'
7. 'My Best Friend' (Takes 3/4/5)
8. 'Hornet's Nest' (Alternate)
9. 'I Need You Every Day (Sick & Tired)
The Demo Recordings:
11. 'Taking Care Of No Business'
12. 'Working All Day'
13. 'Two Little Birds'
16. 'Better Times Ahead'
17. 'Everybody Knew But Me'
18. 'If You Gonna Make A Fool Of Somebody'
19. 'My Best Friend'
The Studio Sessions opens with the gentle funk swing of 'UFO,' that's backed seamlessly by the low slung blues of the title track, 'No Business,' which itself id backed by the seven minute guitar extravaganza from Hendrix 'Hush Now,' the foot-tappin', tambourine-enhanced 'Gloomy Monday' (Alternate), and then their psych-pop flow comes to the fore within 'How Would You feel' (Alternate).
The funky, nine minute long guitar fest 'Love, Love' showcases Hendrix’s wah-wah guitar to perfection, and that's followed by the storytelling of 'My Best Friend' (Takes 3/4/5), the frenetic 'Hornet’s Nest' (Alternate), the perky pop of 'I Need You Every Day (Sick & Tired),' closing on the low key 'Suey.'
The Demo Recordings continues onward with a lot of, simply put, raw and lofi tracks, but nonetheless, tracks that are as historically chock full of wonderment today as I'm sure they were at the time in the studio.
'Taking Care Of No Business' is backed by the "working on the chain gang" vocal back bone vibe of 'Working All Day,' which in turn is followed by luscious ambiance of 'Two Little Birds,' the quietly beautiful 'Suddenly' and then another fervent 'UFO.'
One of my personal favorites here, albeit cliché-ridden, 'Better Times Ahead,' which is followed by the short guitar rock-hop of 'Everybody Knew But Me,' the (now) reverberated guitar found on 'If You Gonna Make A Fool Of Somebody,' closing on the song dedicated to Knight's very own best friend, Jimi, 'My Best Friend.'
Since acquiring the rights to all Jimi Hendrix recordings from Chalpin in 2014, Experience Hendrix has made it a mission to release these Curtis Knight & The Squires sessions tastefully, providing proper historic context, free of misleading packaging and without posthumous overdubs.
No Business: The PPX Sessions, Volume 2 accomplishes this while helping map out the evolution of Jimi Hendrix as a musician and songwriter.
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