Jesse Henderson certainly isn’t a household name, but his excellent throaty voice deserved more success than ever came his way. He is best known today I guess for the lengthy disco workout “I Did It Again” which is frankly a total waste of a very fine vocalist. Much better is his first 45 for the New York based Gold Dust label featured a fine deep What Happened (To All That Love) on which he sounds really convincing.
Even better yet were the tracks he cut at Fame around the turn of the 70s which remained in the can for over 20 years but three of which are now available on several legal download sites. Jesse’s version of “This Thing Called Love”, first recorded by the Webs for Popside, swings like the clappers and the Fame Gang play their part superbly. Wonderful southern soul. “Glory Road” is a fine country soul ballad rather spoilt by an exuberant rock guitar, but the pick for me is a sensational cut of Tony Ashley’s brilliant We Must Have Love. Wonderful music from Clayton Ivey et al is reinforced by a dramatic and beautifully judged hoarse toned delivery from Henderson. You can’t beat Muscle Shoals music.
These tracks were apparently recorded under the auspices of the writing/producing team of Ellie Greenwich and Michael Rashkow – a lot of their work isn’t up my street at all but I’m grateful to them for these cuts. But why didn’t they come out at the time?
The gator / What happened (to that love) ~ GOLD DUST 001 (1968)
Sweet mountain wine / ?? ~ METROMEDIA 236 (1971)
I did it again / My kind of girl ~ LASSO 7291 (1977)
Note ~ Unissued Fame Recordings from around 1970 - Glory road, We must have love and This thing called love.