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Lonnie Youngblood

Saxman Lonnie Youngblood scored several R&B hits while recording steadily over the '60s and '70s, but is probably best remembered for hiring a young Jimi Hendrix and thus giving him the chance to play on one of his first professional sessions. Youngblood was born Lonnie Thomas in Augusta, GA, on August 3, 1941, and took up the saxophone after hearing his mother's favorite artist, Louis Jordan. He got his first professional gig backing singer Pearl Reeves in 1959, relocating to Newark, NJ; he made his first solo recording, "Heartbreak," not long after, and it became a regional hit. Youngblood struck out on his own and worked as a bandleader behind Faye "Atomic" Adams, Buster Brown, and Baby Washington before putting together his own group and playing colleges around the Northeast.

Youngblood served in the Army for a short time, and returned to Harlem in 1963, where he took over leadership of Curtis Knight's R&B band. The outfit included a talented young guitarist who called himself Jimmy James, but was born Jimi Hendrix. Later on in 1963, Youngblood took the band into the studio and recorded a total of 13 tracks (including alternate takes) with Hendrix on guitar. After Hendrix became a star, this material was bootlegged and repackaged countless times, without Youngblood's consent; in fact, some shadier companies even overdubbed anonymous fuzz-toned guitarists in order to make the material sound more like Hendrix.

Hendrix left Youngblood's band in early 1964, but the two remained friends up until Hendrix's death in 1970. Youngblood worked mostly as a backing musician during the rest of the '60s, playing on tours and/or sessions for the likes of James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King, Sam & Dave, and other soul greats. He also continued to make his own recordings for small labels, generally in a style that echoed King Curtis or Junior Walker. But he really hit his stride in the '70s, when he recorded funkier workouts for the Turbo label (part of Joe and Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum/Stang family tree). He scored his biggest hit in 1972 with the grooving instrumental "Sweet Sweet Tootie," which climbed into the R&B Top 40; the accompanying LP of the same name also featured other single sides like "Super Cool" and "Black Is So Bad." Youngblood had a second R&B Top 40 hit with "Man and Woman" in early 1975. In 1977, Turbo issued a second Youngblood LP, this one eponymously titled; it was a far smoother, sweeter-sounding affair that made concessions to disco production techniques. His final chart single came in 1981 with "Best Way to Break a Habit."

In the years that followed, Youngblood sought treatment for the drug problems he'd developed during his musical heyday, and emerged clean and sober. He continued to play R&B at small venues around Harlem, including a regular gig at the soul-food restaurant Sylvia's, and also broadened his repertoire into blues and jazz to increase his marketability. Additionally, Youngblood recorded a gospel album, In the Garden, which saw a limited release on a small New Jersey label. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cameo Parkway (1957-1967)

Disc 1

1. Butterfly

2. Fabulous

3. Race For Time

5. You're The Greatest

6. Over The Weekend

7. Night Time

8. Memory Lane

9. Silhouettes

10. Daddy Cool

11. Back To School Again

12. The Class

13. Bad Motorcycle

14. Shake A Hand

15. Dinner With Drac Part 1

16. Mexican Hat Rock

18. Birds N' Bees

19. Two Weeks With Pay

20. Rocka-Conga

21. Kissin' Time

22. We Got Love

23. The Twist

24. Wild One

25. Swingin' School

26. Pony Time

27. Teach Me To Twist

28. Let's Twist Again

29. Bristol Stomp

30. The Wah-Watusi

Disc 2

1. Slow Twistin' (Feat. Dee Dee Sharp)

2. Mashed Potato Time

3. Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)

4. Don't Hang Up

5. Ride!

6. Do The New Continental

7. The Popeye Waddle

8. Limbo Rock

9. The Cha-Cha-Cha

10. Volare

11. Sweet Georgia Brown

12. One More Time Back To School

13. (I'm The Girl From) Wolverton Mountain

14. Rowdy

15. Forget Him

16. Mother Please!

17. Come On And Dance With Me

18. Groovy Baby

19. The Jam Part 1

20. You Can't Sit Down

21. South Street

22. Everybody South Street

23. Do The Bird

24. Not Me

25. Crossfire!

26. (Everybody Do) The Swim Pt. 1

27. The 81

28. Daydreamin' Of You

29. The Boy With The Beatle Hair

30. Jingle Bell Rock

Disc 3

1. So Much In Love

2. Wonderful! Wonderful!

3. I'll Be True

4. When We Get Married

5. Somewhere

6. Hey Good Lookin'

7. Just One Chance

8. You'll Never Walk Alone

9. Danny Boy

10. Cast Your Fate To The Wind

11. It Only Took A Minute

12. Long Tall Sally

13. Boys

14. You Still Want Me

15. Funny How Love Can Be

16. Tossing & Turning

17. She's Fallen In Love With The Monster Man

18. Wild Thing

19. Little White House

20. Fool, Fool, Fool

22. Society Girl

23. Soldier Baby Of Mine

24. S.O.S. (Heart In Distress)

26. Heartaches Away My Boy

27. Got To Run

28. My Boy

Disc 4

1. Angel Of The Morning

2. The Love Of A Boy

3. This Can't Be True

4. World Of Fantasy

5. Come Back

6. Am I A Loser (From The Start)

7. Danger! She's A Stranger

8. Meet Me In Church

9. You've Been Untrue

10. Get A Hold Of Yourself

11. He Don't Really Love You

13. The Grass (Will Sing For You)

14. I (Who Have Nothing)

15. Beg, Borrow And Steal

16. 96 Tears

19. Can't Get Enough Of You Baby

20. Respect

21. Shake Your Tambourine

22. Let The Good Times Roll & Feel So Good

24. Lovey Dovey-You're So Fine

25. Sock It To Me Santa

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