This singer-guitarist was born Mont Curtis McNear in Fort Scott, Kansas on May 9th 1929. According to later publicity material, however, 'Curtis Knight was born in 1945, half black, half Blackfoot Indian. He lived on an Indian reservation until the age of eight.
He was inspired to write songs at a very early age by his mother, who wrote poetry as well as songs and music. After high school Curtis went to California, where he was able to broaden his musical scope. Then a 3000 mile bus ride took him to New York City, where he met an agent, started a group and began to build up a club circuit on the East Coast. It was in New York that Curtis was introduced to Jimi Hendrix.
Their rapport was immediate and they started playing together the first day theymet. This meeting was in 1965, by which time Knight had also put in a stint with the latter-day Ink Spots, issued several solo 45s, formed a band in Harlem named The Squires, and signed a contract with the independent producer Ed Chalpin. Chalpin also signed up Hendrix, and made several recordings of the two performers, which became lucrative when Hendrix rose to stardom as of late 1966.
The extent to which Knight influenced Hendrix has never been established, though by the time Down In The Village was made, Knight was clearly in thrall to his alleged former protege. After Hendrix's September 1970 death, Knight moved to London and penned a biography of him, as well as making another album with a band named Zeus (including guitarist Eddie Clarke, later to join Motorhead).
As well as being a musician, Knight was a highly-rated table-tennis player, described by one online source as 'a penholder with pretty good touch who liked to add a lot of spin to pushes and blocks'. By the 1990s he was running a limousine business, and moved to Holland in 1992, where he continued to record and play until his death on November 29th 1999.
1. Down In The Village - 3:17
2. Lena - 3:51
3. Friedman Hill - 3:00
4. See No Evil - 3:38
5. Beautiful World, Beautiful People (John Mazzola, Curtis McNear) - 3:03
6. Goin Up The Road - 3:57
7. Give You Plenty Lovin'(Curtis McNear, Harvey Vinson) - 9:45
8. Eenee Meenee Minee Mo - 3:53
9. Hi-Low - 3:30
10.Goodbye Cruel Worlde (John Mazzola, Curtis McNear) - 2:16
All songs by Curtis McNear except where stated
*Curtis Knight - Vocals, Guitar
1974 Curtis Knight Zeus - The Second Coming (2009 Lemon remaster)