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Youngblood Sues Jimi Hendrix

July 13, 2010 10:21 PM | Interesting Stuff | Comments (1)

In the mid-1960s, Lonnie Youngblood was a hotshot sax player on the New York club circuit when he met Jimmy James, a young musician expert on the electric guitar.  James played in Youngblood's band; he went back to using his real last name and conquered the music world as Jimi Hendrix, while Youngblood fronted a series of rhythm and blues bands that toured with '60s legends including James Brown and Jackie Wilson.

In 1969, Hendrix's embraces popularity, the two men recorded several songs in a New York studio that became a coda to their relationship when Hendrix died in London year after of a drug overdose.

Youngblood filed a lawsuit that claims one of the songs, "Georgia Blues," was included on a 2003 compilation without his permission and without crediting him as its author.

Through representatives, all three parties declined to comment on the lawsuit. The suit seeks unspecified lost-income damages from Hendrix's estate, MCA Records and film director Martin Scorsese, who collaborated on the collection "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Jimi Hendrix."
Youngblood said. "He had a guitar in a sack, a change of pants and a shirt in another sack, maybe a toothbrush and some type of comb. And basically that was it. He basically didn't have a worry."

Though Youngblood was just one year older than Hendrix, the blues shouter and the future prince of psychedelia were headed in opposite directions musically. Youngblood remembers, their paths began to diverge around 1965 or '66, when Hendrix discovered hallucinogenic drugs and began to spend more time in New York's Greenwich Village.

"He wanted me to go down to Cafe Wha and play for tips," he said. "To me, that was out of the question. I had a car, a wife, a son, an apartment. I told him, 'You've got to go where you can get some sure money.'"

While Hendrix's is the peak of popularity with such songs as "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady," Youngblood became a star on Harlem's club circuit and a fixture on college campuses around the Northeast. In 1969, Youngblood was onstage when Hendrix showed up unexpectedly, wearing his signature floppy hat, tassels and ruffled shirt, and "turned the place inside out."

Hendrix told Youngblood he would do some recordings with him as pay back for his help years earlier.

Youngblood said he wrote "Georgia Blues" and points out that one line in the song goes, "I was born in Georgia 27 years ago"; Youngblood, who was 27 at the time and a native of Augusta, Ga.

The lawsuit claims Youngblood all by him released the song on the Internet and copyrighted it in 2002. Youngblood said he refused an offer of $3,000 by a lawyer for Hendrix's estate to sell the song.

According to David Henderson, author of the Hendrix biography "'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky." Lawsuits over authorship or royalties from popular songs were hardly uncommon even back in Hendrix's heyday. Hendrix was dogged by a small-time record producer who claimed to have a contract giving him part of Hendrix's career earnings.

"Stuff that's in the vault is very valuable and very important to collectors and historians and music lovers," he said. "If someone's famous, that stuff is going to have legs."

Youngblood, 68, who still performs at clubs and private parties in New York and northern New Jersey, said he just wants what is legally his.
"It's the principle," he said. "I want my song back. They had no right to take my song." He added.


Lonnie Youngblood & Jimi Hendrix - She's a Fox


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Lonnie Youngblood should really be ashamed of himself. Of course to do so, he would have to possess some shred of decency which might enable him to have a sense of shame. In addition, the authors of this article should likewise be ashamed for not doing their homework and their research. If they had done so, they would have at least made some mention of the fact that Youngblood has been endlessly cranking out dubious and deceptively labled albums for decades (beginning virtually within months of Hendrix’ death and continuing up to this day) purporting to be his "collaborations" with Hendrix. In reality these albums contain only the same handful of mediocre 1963/64 R&B cuts with Hendrix present only as a sideman and on which his playing is barely audible. To make matters even worse, Youngblood has continuously repackaged this stuff along with completely bogus material he knows full well to have no Hendrix involvement whatsoever and yet he still passes off as Hendrix recordings.

Youngblood has already made far more money off of Hendrix name than his minimal recordings with the artist should ever reasonably have merited. If he is indeed so concerned with "proper credit being given where it is due", he'd best begin by taking a long hard look at his own reprehensible behavior over the past 40 years. He is just yet another in a pathetically long string of vultures pecking over the corpse of an icon to steal the scraps.

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