Harlem’s Curtis Knight And The Squires, The Band That Inspired Jimi Hendrix (Video)

November 3, 2020

Curtis Knight and the Squires were a Harlem, New York band that was fronted by singer and guitarist Curtis Knight in the mid-1960s.

Both Jimi Hendrix and sax player Lonnie Youngblood were members for a while.


The band is referred to as a workaday party R&B band by Billboard. The line up of the group wasn’t always with the same musicians. Sax player Lonnie Youngblood had been a member. The line up pictured on the cover of the You Can’t Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions album features Curtis Knight, Jimi Hendrix, Marion Booker, and Ace Hall.

At some stage in 1964, Hendrix met Knight in the lobby of a Harlem residential hotel and they hit it off. Hendrix became a member of the band Curtis Knight and the Squires in October the following year. While with the band, Hendrix signed a contract with the owner of PPX Studios, Ed Chaplin for just one dollar. This would later cause major problems for Hendrix. He finally left The Squires on May 20, 1966.


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In September 1966, “Hornet’s Nest” by “Knock Yourself Out” was released on the RSVP label, RSVP 1124. Hendrix co-composed them with Jerry Simon. The two songs on the single are representative of Hendrix’s first compositions to be on a recorded release.

Curtis Knight & The Squires – Station Break (Audio) ft. Jimi Hendrix video:

In 2000, the UK label Jungle records released the album Jimi Hendrix With Curtis Knight & The Squires – Knock Yourself Out: The 1965 Studio Sessions which in addition to the 10 studio tracks included 5 bonus live tracks.

In 2015, the album You Can’t Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions was released. It featured recordings Hendrix made with the group around 1965. The album features “Hornets Nest”, “No Such Animal”, and “Knock Yourself Out”. It also features a song called “How Would You Feel”, which has a strong resemblance to Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, which also happens to be a black rock protest song.


  • Napoleon Anderson aka Hank Anderson … bass
  • Marion Booker … drums (often spelled Marlon Booker)
  • George Bragg … drums
  • Nathaniel Edmonds Sr. aka Nate Edmonds … keyboards
  • Ditto Edwards … drums
  • Ed “Bugs” Gregory … bass
  • Ace Hall … bass & tambourine
  • James Marshall Hendrix aka Jimmy James aka Jimi Hendrix … guitar & vocals
  • Harry Jensen – guitar & bass
  • Curtis McNear aka Curtis Knight … vocals, guitar & tambourine
  • Ray Lucas … drums
  • “Shears” … guitar (participated in the 1967 sessions)
  • Lonnie Thomas aka Lonnie Youngblood … sax & vocals

Photo credit: Curtis Knight, Jimi Hendrix, Marion Booker, and Ace Hall.

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