When Jimi Hendrix entered Ed Chalpin's PPX recording studio in August 1967, the guitarist wanted to be clear that the session was a friendly gesture – not something that was to be released under his newly-famous name. "When we do this thing, you can't put my name on the single," Hendrix told the producer, who had previously misled him into signing an exclusive recording contract. Curtis Knight, the R&B journeyman who had once hired Hendrix to play in his band, the Squires, agreed: "No, no. Hell no."
Despite Chalpin's promise, the following track, "Gloomy Monday," later overdubbed to include additional guitar and sitar, would be released and re-released on a series of poorly assembled cash-grab compilations. In 2003, however, the Hendrix family and their Experience Hendrix LLC defeated PPX in court and acquired Chalpin's masters. Now, on March 24th, they are releasing a new album of Jimi's mid-Sixties sessions work, appropriately titled You Can't Use My Name, and calling it the "first attempt to present this music in its original context."
Below, hear both the previously unreleased original version of "Gloomy Monday" and the never-before-heard studio banter that precedes it. "I was a backing musician playing guitar," Hendrix would say of his work with Curtis Knight and the Squires. "I was always kept in the background, but I was thinking all the time about what I wanted to do."
"The 1965 and 1966 recordings neatly align with those other sessions Hendrix participated in during this same era as a sideman for other R&B artists such as Little Richard, Don Covay and the Isley Brothers," John McDermott, the author of the album's liner notes, tells Rolling Stone. "Absent the emergence of a recording of Jimmy James and the Blue Flames (Hendrix's short lived, 1966 Greenwich Village group), this is as close as one can get to hearing what Jimi sounded like when he was discovered by Chas Chandler just a few months later."