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Belvin Jesse - The Unforgettable Mr Easy 2CD – 2 Original Stereo Albums Plus Singles (CD)€15,00
The Los Angeles based singer, Jesse Belvin was a huge influence over doo wop groups and the city’s emerging R&B talent until his tragic death in 1960.
This is the first ever collection to compile his earliest work including his 1959 and 1960 album releases recorded just before his death, both of which are presented on CD2 in true stereo.
Features his three most famous hits: ’Goodnight My Love’, ’Guess Who’ and ’Dream Girl’.
Jesse was on the brink of the kind of stardom that has been bestowed to the likes of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, but sadly this was not to be. So if you love early R&B and doo wop then now is your chance to pick up and check out one of finest artists of that era who is often sadly overlooked.
Belvin Jesse - Goodnight My Love (CD)€18,00
Jesse Belvin’s Modern Record legacy, from 1955-57, 25 songs (including an alternate take of Goodnight My Love”) including an undubbed version of ”Beware,” a pair of previously unheard songs (”What Can I Do Without You,” ”I’ll Make A Bet”), a compelling soulful cover of Sam Cooke’s ”You Send Me,” and the previously overlooked single version of ”Sad And Lonesome,” as well as a sample (”Summertime”) of the kind of pop standard that he would later master. Whether he’s doing do-wop style or crooning, the voice is magnificent, and the overall sound is extremely powerful and points very much toward the sound that Belvin would arrive at before his death. This CD isn’t easy to find — stores stock Flair/Virgin’s B.B. King reissues more willingly — but it’s worth tracking down or ordering. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide”
Belvin Jesse - Guess Who: The RCA Victor Recordings 2CD (CD)€25,00
by BILLY VERA
In his home town of Los Angeles, the late Jesse Belvin was – as Etta James recounts in her autobiography, Rage To Survive – the shining light for his generation of singers. He first recorded in 1951 with tenor sax honker Big Jay McNeely, a year later scoring his first chart hit, Dream Girl, as half of the duo Jesse & Marvin. On leave from the army in 1954, he wrote Earth Angel, one of the all-time classic doo wop anthems. A couple of neighbourhood guys claimed co-authorship, and Jesse had to settle in court for a one third writers’ share.
Jesse had a habit of knocking off a tune in the car on the way to a recording session, and then selling it outright for a few bucks. Not long ago an ancient demo surfaced, giving credence to his claims of having penned So Fine, later a hit by the Fiestas. Goodnight My Love composer George Motola told the story of how he’d written the verses of the song some years earlier, but had never come up with a bridge. When Jesse was in his office one day, saying he was going to cut a session with strings, George played him the tune and, in minutes, Jesse came up with the bridge, offering it to George for $400. Songwriter John Marascalco, lyricist on a number of Little Richard hits (Rip It Up, Ready Teddy, Good Golly Miss Molly) was also in the room. He pulled out his wallet, purchasing Jesse’s half of what has become a standard.
Goodnight My Love could and should have set Jesse Belvin up for the kind of chart career that an artist of his stature fully deserved. But Jesse’s label, Modern, decided to cut back operations not long afterwards, leaving him and almost all of their other acts in the lurch. After a period of hustling a session here and there, Jesse wound up at RCA Victor, a major label with the resources to make him into the next black superstar. After years of struggle, it looked like his time had come.
Once at RCA Victor, Belvin hooked up with the label’s West Coast A&R man, jazz trumpeter Shorty Rogers, who quickly pulled the singer’s coat to the value of protecting his copyrights. Almost immediately Jesse had a hit on RCA, Guess Who, credited to his wife Jo Ann and published by Michele Music, a company jointly owned by Rogers, Belvin and their wives.
His business straight, it was now time to start making classy albums, the kind that would make for a long term career playing to grown-ups rather than hit singles, which were fine for booking gigs where he performed for teenyboppers. This package features both of Jesse’s RCA albums in their entirety, as well as all the 45s he cut that did not make it on either album. Its release marks the first time that all of Jesse’s RCA recordings have been collected together in one package, and we’re very glad to have it in Ace’s catalogue alongside our earlier volume of Jesse’s Modern sides Goodnight My Love” (CDCHD 336).
Both RCA albums feature predominantly pop, jazz and easy listening standards, and most of his singles also leaned heavily in those directions. Collectively they show that Jesse was being groomed by his label to become the next Nat ”King” Cole. Jesse and his A&R man Dick Pierce were still finding their way somewhat during the sessions that spawned the first album, ”Just Jesse Belvin”, but by the time the sessions for the posthumously-issued ”Mr Easy” were concluded, Jesse had all his ducks in a row. With dazzling arrangements by Marty Paich, and musical contributions from Art Pepper, Frank Rosolino, Conte Condoli, Jack Sheldon, Mel Lewis and a host of other West Coast masters of jazz, the sessions was inspired and the resulting album was (and still is) an instant hipster classic.
Jesse did something that is really difficult and what only the true masters can do: he made everything he did look and sound easy. If you ask anybody who was someone in black music in 50s Los Angeles, and you will find no one more highly regarded than Jesse Belvin. When I was producing Lou Rawls a few years ago, I asked if he’d”