If you’re a Jimi Hendrix fan, all you need to know is that this is the band that Chas Chandler heard when he “discovered” Hendrix (then known as “Jimmy James”)back in 1966. These “amateur live” recordings from December 1965 and January 1966 from George’s Club in Hackensack, New Jersey find all of the elements of Hendrix at their earliest light; raw and undomesticated. Hendrix was the guitarist and sometime vocalist for Curtis Knight’s group The Lovelights, which also included Ace Hall/b, Ditto Edwards/dr, Lonnie Youngblood/sax and guest appearances by Harry Jensen/g and George Bragg/dr. The most amazing feature here is that none of the material from the previous album of Knight with Hendrix (You Can’t Use My Name) is included here. What you get is a working band, sweating through a rocking set of blues and soul hits of the day such as “What’d I Say” and “Land of 1000 Dances.”
So, your first questions are probably, a) how is the sound quality and b) how is Hendrix? Rest assured, you’re going to be satisfied. The recording is home made, but it’s more than acceptable. As for Hendrix, all I can say is “Look Out!” His guitar wails with delight on the bluesy “Get Out Of My Life Woman” and rollicks as the band stretches out on “Driving South.” He’s already got the boogie riffs down pat on pieces like “Killing Floor” and shuffles with the band as Knight himself does his Marvin Gayest on “ I’ll Be Doggone” and “Ain’t That Peculiar.” Hendrix himself gets a shot at the mic, and while sounding a bit younger than his Experience days, still has that dash of foreboding danger on “I’m A Man” as he uses his strings as a heat seeking missile on the searing guitar solo.
This band percolates with energy, and in retrospect, it’s easy to hear the promise emitted by Hendrix as a supporting actor, ready to cross over into Best Lead Actor.