Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Remarkable talent, vastly underrated, largely unknown today
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 08/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aside from his signature song, the classic "Goodnight My Love", the music of Jesse Belvin has probably never been heard or appreciated by the vast majority of music fans. Jesse's smooth baritone voice was clearly the most influential in the annals of West Coast rhythm and blues and doo wop. Jesse was not only a solo act, but his duets with the likes of Marvin Phillips and Eugene Church were among the best duets recorded during the 1950's. The prolific Belvin also recorded with any number of L.A. and West Coast doo wop groups as well as other solo recordings under countless pseudonyms. This CD, "Goodnight My Love" is a 26 track compilation of Jesse's work for L.A.'s Modern records label. As usual, Englands Ace Records does a masterful job with this project. The Modern recordings are considered by many to be the "cream of the crop" of Belvins recordings. Take a listen and you will marvel at the consistant quality of these recordings. I don't know if the man was capable of making a bad record. Check out "Dream House", "Just To Say Hello" or the classic "Beware", considered by many to be Belvin's finest recording ever. Jesse signed with RCA records in 1958. RCA intended to make Belvin their answer to Nat King Cole. Although his RCA recordings such as "Guess Who" are fine, they just don't quite measure up to the material presented on this wonderful CD. Unfortunately, Jesse Belvin was killed in an automobile accident in 1960 near Hope, Arkansas. Give this disc a listen and discover an artist for the ages."
He was a wonderful singer who died much too young
Greg Brady | 03/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was a fan of Jesse Belvin and had his albums inthe late 50s, and early 60s. I thought he was great. He got killed in an automobile accident in december of 1960. I still miss his music, especially songs like "What's New" and Gerswins, "Summertime"."
The "lost" oldies are here: Writer of "Earth Angel" sings
Greg Brady | Capital City | 04/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jesse WHO? I barely knew who this guy was before picking up the CD in a bargain bin and I was an oldies DJ for 10 years. Most will probably only know him for co-writing Penguins smash hit "Earth Angel" but over the years Belvin also appeared as a guest singer on the Shields doo-wop hit "You Cheated". He garnered the nickname "Mr. Easy" for his touch with a ballad (indeed RCA was grooming him to be competition for Nat 'King' Cole and it's easy to see why). The music collected here covers the years 1956-1958 while he recorded for Modern records (NOT the same label Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks sang for..this was a Culver City,California based indie label). Also on here are alternate versions of the title cut and later hit "Beware" plus a pair of unreleased cuts from just before his Modern output (cut in 1955):"What Can I Do Without You?" and "I'll Make a Bet".
To hear some of the better examples of his "Mr. Easy" ballad voice, check out the title track, "Let me Love You Tonight" (a Cole soundalike) or "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" where he takes Nat head on (though in a doo-wop style). "Don't Close the Door" reminds one of some of the sweeping ballads of the Platters.
I think the real revelations here though are some great lost uptempo numbers: "I'll Mess You Up" is a zippy jealous lover's threat. Lines like "I saw you grinnin' at Jimmy and Jack/I think I'll disconnect your back" would never be recorded in this modern "politically correct" era. "I wanna Know Why" finds Jesse questioning his reactions to the presence of a young lovely. "My Satellite" is a space age take on the classic rock 'n' roll car songs like "Maybelline" or "Rocket '88". "Summertime" is a reinvention of the familiar Gershwin tune. Rather than the trilling vocal workout from Billy Stewart's oft heard rendition, Belvin makes it a mid-tempo jazzy rock ballad with a relaxed, knowing vocal that includes his proclamation that "your daddy's so-o-oh rich and your momma is, mm-hmm, you know she had to be good lookin'". "I Want you with Me Christmas" can be added to your holiday celebrations alongside the Drifters "White Christmas" and "Merry Christmas Baby" as R&B holiday nuggets. "Sad and Lonesome" heard here is the single version with Belvin's doubletracked vocal on the choruses.
The alternate take of "Goodnight my Love" may be wonderful for collectors, but it's not sufficiently different from the single to prove interesting to the average listener. "Beware" is a nice song (It's a warning that Belvin is using his wiles to win a female's heart, not a threat like "I'll Mess You Up" is) but the snare drum is obnoxiously loud and it takes away from the tune. A brushed snare (mixed somewhat low) would probably have been a better choice. Neither of the last 2 unreleased songs are really anything special.
While I'm not as effusive in my praise for Belvin as the liner notes writer is (most likely because he chose the tracks), it's obvious that the public's been done an injustice by his absence in "oldies" radio playlists. There's some good stuff here."