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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

May 5, 1966 - Jimi Hendrix wears a tuxedo onstage during one of the greatest soul shows ever

Sometimes you just happen to be present when the heavens align just right and you get to witness a one of a kind event that no amount of money could recreate. One of those events happened on the evening of May 5, 1966 at the Prelude Club in New York City.

One of the greatest collections of future Rock and Roll hall of famers were gathered under one roof to celebrate the arrival of a newcomer to the Atlantic Records family and it was a show for the ages.

The event was an Album release party for Percy Sledge, whose single, When a Man Loves a Woman was burning up the charts. Also present that fateful night were Esther Phillips, Don Covay and the one and only Wilson "Wicked" Pickett.

Representing the brain trust at Atlantic Records were Jerry Wexler and Neshui Etergun as well as other staffers at the label. PoPsie was the main photographer for Atlantic and most of the historical events of their label were captured in his images. This was no exception.

The backing band that night was led by "King Curtis" Ousley who with his group, The Kingpins, backed up many of the soul singers on Atlantic Records at that time. Sitting in with the Kingpins also that night was a wild haired guy who happened to play the guitar upside down.

As I reviewed the negatives for this session, I noticed that he looked vaguely familiar and I took a closer look at the negatives. I was shocked to see Jimi Hendrix smiling and wailing away alongside one of the greatest soul bands as a sideman in a tuxedo no less...

To say that you could knock me over with a feather would be an understatement. This happened to be one of his last gigs before he flew across the ocean in September of 1966 and became Jimi Hendrix, the legend.

All told there are over a hundred shots of this show and I'm currently trying to put together an article or book on this event so that the rest of the world can see exactly what a supernova looks like when it happens, but that's another story for a another time.


At 10:22 PM, Blogger Antonio G. Pereira said...

Hello Cliff,
What you are attempting to undertake is pretty impressive. Best of luck to you. And hang in there!

Antonio G. Pereira


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