Jimi Hendrix: On the Killin’ Floor
From: What I’d Say (MFP, 197?)
Jimi Hendrix: Suspicious
From: Rare Hendrix (Trip, 197?)
Curtis Knight: Hi-Low
From Down In the Village (Paramount, 1970)
I admit: I’m no Hendrix expert, not remotely. He’s got so many bootleg recordings floating out there that it’s a miracle to me that anyone can even get a bead on how many songs can be attributed to him. One thing I can say though is that early in his career (mid-1960s), Hendrix knew how to throw down with some ultra-funky rock tunes that are lo-fi in engineering but still jump off the track with a sucker punch to the grill.
The first track comse from 1965, recorded live in New Jersey when Hendrix was a member in Curtis Knight’s band. To be sure, the guitar isn’t as prominent on this blues cut but goddamn, who’s on the drums? Even though the album apologizes that “the sound of these recordings cannot be compared with the sound obtained in a studio nowadays,” those drums are mic-ed well, nudged over into the right channel.
“Suspicious” originated in a 1966 studio, alongside Lonnie Youngblood, Herman Hitson and soul guitarist Lee Moses. Dark and smoky, the blues influence on here is obvious but Hendrix’s guitar lends an edge that makes the song even more sinister than it already sounds.
Jimi doesn’t appear on “Hi Low,” a song off of Curtis Knight’s Down in the Village album, but his influence is plainly felt all over this track, suggesting that the one-time bandleader was now following the protégé (their cover art is strangely similar). Heavy, heavy track.