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Jesse James Meets Clarence Ashe

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Album Review

The author of this self-titled album remains a mystery to some because of confusion with the Jessie James who produced "The Horse" and "Boogaloo Down Broadway," on Cliff Nobles & Co., and the Fantastic Johnny C, respectively. Jesse James' thin, unexpressive voice causes you to lose interest after a few tracks. None of these songs were hits, but some are respectable despite the vocal limitations. Namely, "If You're Lonely Take My Hand," written by Johnny Heartsman, who had a hand in many of these songs; Heartsman later became a recording artist himself for Alligator Records. Also, "Thank You Darlin'," written by Sugar Pie DeSanto, Jesse Mason, and Jesse James, and "Facts of Life 68," a song with potential that was only promoted in a few markets. James' most popular recording, "Believe in Me Baby, Pts. 1 & 2," credits DeSanto, Shena Demell, and Jesse Anderson as songwriters; the tune features the ambience of a nightclub and party atmosphere, with James trying to convince some young lady to believe in him enough to work the streets, and take care of him — pretty heavy stuff for the '60s. This rare slab of vinyl has long been out of print; a recent CD release, however, gives a better picture of the mysterious Jesse James.


Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s

Deep soul singer Jesse James was born in 1943 in El Dorado, AR, with the handle James McClelland. He moved to the Bay Area while still a child, and came up during the early '60s singing in nightclubs (where his name was changed by an MC who couldn't pronounce his given name). He recorded a few singles for the area labels Shirley and Hit (several with guitar work from Sly Stone), then made the big time when he switched to 20th Century. "Believe in Me Baby, Pt. 1" was a modest pop and R&B hit during...
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Jesse James Meets Clarence Ashe, Jesse James
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