Curtis Knight & The Squires – How Would You Feel

3rd January 2024 · 1960s, 1965, Blues, Music

On the surface, this is little more than a thinly disguised rewrite of Like A Rolling Stone. But there’s something special about it too… especially that familiar guitar sound. Those licks, borrowed more or less straight from Mike Bloomfield’s on the Dylan song, are played by a young session player called Jimmy Hendrix.

That session, in October 1965, came about by chance after Jimmy bumped into Curtis Knight in the lift of his apartment building, and discovered they lived five floors apart.

They also discovered they were both singers and guitarists, though Jimmy, a struggling session man facing eviction for late payment of the rent, had just pawned his instrument.

After chatting about music in Jimmy’s apartment Curtis told him about a new protest song he’d written, How Would You Feel, and invited his new friend to join him in the studio – lending him a guitar for the purpose.

The results were nine demo tracks, including this one, which was eventually released in April 1966 under the band name Curtis Knight & The Squires.

Another less welcome result was that Chalpin tricked the penniless Hendrix into signing a three-year deal with him for $1 (and 1% royalties) that resulted in several years of litigation after Jimi found fame.

Chalpin eventually released the entire Curtis Knight sessions (under Jimi’s name) to cash in on Hendrix’s success in the UK. He went there after being spotted, with his new band Jimmy James & The Blue Flames, playing Hey Joe in Greenwich Village by Chas Chandler.

The Animals bassist took him to London, where he soon tasted success with a new name and a new band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. And the rest… well, we all know the rest.