Jimi Hendrix: 10 Great Pre-Fame Tracks

Hear the guitar legend in his early sideman days alongside Little Richard, the Isley Brothers and others

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Ray Sharpe with the King Curtis Orchestra, "Help Me" (Part 1 & 2) (1966)

King Curtis and his Kingpins were the support act for the Beatles on their tour of the United States in the summer of 1965, during which time they crossed paths with Hendrix when he briefly returned to the Isley Brothers' fold. Hendrix bonded with the group, particularly guitarist Cornell Dupree, and together they played basketball and jammed in hotel rooms on the road. By the following January Hendrix was invited to join the band on tour and also at Atlantic Studios in New York City. The first song they recorded together was "Help Me (Get the Feeling)," an ultra-bluesy two-part track reminiscent of Them's garage-rock anthem "Gloria." Ray Sharpe sang the lead vocals on the song, but the backing track went on to have a life of its own. Jamaican proto-reggae star Owen Grey recycled the instrumental for his own cover that same year, and in 1967 it was used as the bed for the Aretha Franklin single "Save Me" – although Hendrix's contributions were mixed out of the final track. King Curtis himself got the final word, rereleasing the song with additional overdubs in 1969 as "Instant Groove."

Prior to departing the band in the summer of 1966, Hendrix reportedly recorded three more songs with King Curtis during a session in April, but these were apparently lost in a fire at the master-tape library. To date, no safety copies have been found.  

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