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KING CURTIS

LIVE DATES
Listed here are all known confirmed & unconfirmed dates that Jimi Hendrix played with King Curtis. This page is intended as a reference listing of all known info.

Saturday 30 April 1966
Sage Rink, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York
Billed as "King Curtis", time of concert given as 8 P.M. Complete line-up: Chuck Berry, The Ronettes (cancelled), King Curtis 1
The Hamilton College "Class of ’66 Digital Yearbook Project" -website includes a timeline of concerts which took place at Hamilton in 1966, the information has been gathered from 1966 issues of the Spectator, the college's weekly newspaper.

So according to the website in the 4 April 1966 issue of the Spectator Dirk Milici reported:
"Sage Show Set for Spring
Teeny boppers and rock 'n roll enthusiasts will be in their element this Spring Houseparties. . . . Tom Schwarz, chairman of the Social Committee, has scheduled Chuck Berry and King Curtis for the Sage hockey rink show at 8 p.m. on Saturday night."

Then in a follow up news item the Ronettes was added to the line-up. Dirk Milici, the Spectator 30 April 1966:
"Ronettes To Sing In Hockey Rink Houseparty Show
The Ronettes will be here for houseparties! Tom Schwarz, chairman of the Social Committee, announced Wednesday that the female singing group will perform along with Chuck Berry and King Curtis in the Saturday, Apr. 30, show."

And finally after the concert things were "rounded up" with this (unattributed) news item in the 6 May 1966 issue of the Spectator::

"Ronettes To Be Sued
The Social Committee will soon take legal action against the Ronettes for breach of contract, according to Tom Schwarz, chairman of the Committee. The Ronettes, a New York rock and roll girl singing group, were contracted to sing at the Sage Rink show last Saturday night, but never arrived."

This was an especially interesting gig as it had Jimi Hendrix on the same bill with Chuck Berry in 1966! This was repeated (at least) in May 1968 when both were again on the same bill at the "Underground Pop Festival" (aka "Miami Pop") in Hallandale. Here`s a shot of Chuck on stage at the 1968 festival taken by Eddie Kramer.

Jimi in 1967:
"FP: What kind of equipment, guitars and amps, do you use?
JH: I use a Fender Stratocaster. Everyone's screaming about the seven year old Telecaster, and the 13 year old Gibson, and the 92 year old Les Paul. They've gone into an age bag right now, but it's nothing but a fad. The guitars now days play just as good. Y'know the salesman is always telling you that Chuck Berry took this one to the bathroom with him and he didn't have no toilet paper, so watch out for the pick guard..." 2

Pictures of the Sage Rink from 2010.


Thursday 5 May 1966
The Prelude, 3219 Broadway (corner of 129th street), New York City, New York
This was a (invitation only one assumes) party organized by Atlantic Records featuring many of the label's biggest stars but especially highlighting Percy Sledge and the When A Man Loves A Woman -album and song. Jimi played guitar with the King Curtis Band (who served as the house band), backing Percy Sledge, Esther Phillips, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. As Percy Sledge was the main attraction the gig has been detailed in the Percy Sledge -section.




SOURCES
1 In June 2021 I received an email about Jimi Hendrix appearing with King Curtis:

"The King Curtis Band performed on Saturdat night in the Sage Rink at Hamilton College, Clinton NY. The performance was part of Winter or Spring (I don't recall which) Houseparties weekend.
I remember a guitarist doing amazing guitar tricks (such as playing behind his back) while playing his guitar. That guitarist was Jimi Hendrix. [...] I was reminded of this by one of my friends during our 50th reunion."

This was a previously unknown (to me) concert date and apparently several people recalled Jimi being there so the information seemed promising. With an exact location and an approximate date it was thankfully easy to confirm the exact date as well. Thanks to "the Spectator" we have unusually good coverage of this gig including confirmation that Chuck Berry and King Curtis did make an appearance (and the Ronettes didn't).

But did Jimi really play on this date? In addition to the eyewitness reports for this 30 April 1966 -date we have photographic evidence of Jimi playing with King Curtis at The Prelude in New York City on Thursday 5 May 1966, just five days later. And we have written evidence for Jimi participating in a King Curtis recording session two days earlier on 28 April 1966. So it would seem confirmed that Jimi Hendrix indeed was in the band on the 30 April 1966 King Curtis date in Clinton.


2 from an interview published in Los Angeles Free Press 25 August 1967 (reprinted in Foxy Papers Volume #1 by Ben Valkhoff, page 210).