Saturday, August 21, 2010

Earli Jimi on Night Train



Growing up in Madisonville, Kentucky in the 1960s, we were at the mercy of whichever TV signals could swim upstream far enough to reach our antennas. We received all the stations from Evansville, Indiana, which was 50 miles due north. And we received all the Nashville stations from 100 miles south. The Nashville stations I remember better because they produced a healthy slate of local programming.

No surprise that much of the local programming coming out of Nashville was music related. There were country music shows, gospel shows and there was the R&B showcase, Night Train from WLAC, Channel 5. I remember Night Train aired on Saturday nights, hosted by Nobel Blackwell. I was a pre-teen when I first saw the show, introduced to it by Brother Dave. We used to watch in particular whenever Ironing Board Sam was on. I was likely more attracted to the name than the music at the time.

A little while back I went on YouTube to try to find some clips of Ironing Board Sam. There are some clips, but what also turned up was the nugget above from Night Train. It features a duo named Buddy & Stacy performing a faithful version of Junior Walker's "Shotgun." But the highlight of the clip is a young Jimi Hendrix, in the background on the left, playing guitar.

This is reportedly Jimi's first recorded TV appearance. He had been stationed in the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and after his discharge, he played in a number of bands in nearby Nashville. He left the area and played in New York, but returned to Nashville and, playing as "Maurice James" was a member of The Royal Company this night in 1965 when the show was recorded. He would have been 22 or 23 at the time.

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