Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thank You (For This Groove)!

Jesse James - Thank You Darlin'

Jesse James (born James McClellan, and not to be confused with the writer/producer of many classic Phil.-L.A. of Soul funky 45s) recorded a string of 45s for labels including Shirley, Hit, 20th Century, Zea, Zay(!) and TTED, and made some good soul-blues recordings for Gunsmoke at the end of the '80s. Besides "Believe In Me Baby (Pts. 1 & 2)," which made noise on its 1965 or 1966 release, he never broke out of soul's second tier. Today's selection came out on 20th Century in 1967 and is a one heck of a dancer. Sporting writing credits of James, Jesse Mason and soul legend Sugar Pie DeSanto (who has, sadly, recently lost her husband and her home in a fire - see this site for information about a fund set up for her), "Thank You Darlin'" is a brassy, swinging piece of soul, over which James thanks his woman for being so good to him despite his poor treatment of her. Andrew Hamilton at All Music Guide stated in his review of James' eponymous 20th Century LP that James' "thin, unexpressive voice causes you to lose interest after a few tracks," but despite James' technical limitations, he's singing with all of his soul and it translates well on this record, especially when he does a little half-talking, half-singing testifying between the verses. (In fairness to Hamilton, he does consider "Thank You Darlin'" to be a highlight of the album.) For some reason, Little Milton comes to mind when I hear this song, and I think it's too bad he didn't record it, because I'm sure his growling voice would have turned this song into a major hit. But as it stands, Jesse James' song is yet another "great but unappreciated" gem.

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