Jesse Belvin So Fine

Rating 3.3
2 ratings
Out of Print: Future availability is unknown
Item:  NT 7097
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CD Details

  • Released: July 11, 2006
  • Label: Night Train Int'l

Tracks:

  • 1.Confessing
  • 2.Deep in My Heart
  • 3.Black Stockings
  • 4.Rock 'N' Roll Cowboy
  • 5.Tarzan
  • 6.What Have You Done to My Heart
  • 7.I Need Your Love
  • 8.Dollar and a Quarter
  • 9.Wondering
  • 10.Dandelion
  • 11.Old McDonald
  • 12.This Heart of Mine
  • 13.Don't Worry About That Girl
  • 14.Trudy My Love
  • 15.Black Stockings
  • 16.Father Time
  • 17.It's Mighty Funny
  • 18.You're So Divine
  • 19.Dear Heart
  • 20.I Love Her So
  • 21.Where's My Girl
  • 22.Taboo Man - (Takes 1 & 2)
  • 23.So Fine
  • 24.Counterfeiter
  • 25.Who Baby Who
  • 26.Here in My Heart
  • 27.Shotgun Wedding
  • 28.Country Boy
  • 29.The Time Is Coming Close to Christmas

Product Description:

Liner Note Author: Jim Dawson.
Recording information: Los Angeles, CA (1954-1958).
Editor: Eric Enjem.
Photographer: Billy Vera.
By all rights, Jesse Belvin, with his easy rolling and amazingly expressive vocal style, not to mention his offhand but extremely compelling songwriting, should be a household name on a par with the likes of Sam Cooke or Nat King Cole (the two recording artists he most resembles), and were it not for a 1960 car accident that took his life and cut short a career that was finally beginning to take off after nearly a decade of hustling songs and selling his considerable talent for a dime and a thank you, he would be. The world is often more indifferent than it is fair. This was the man who wrote "Earth Angel," a massive hit for the Penguins in 1954, and "So Fine," a hit for the Fiestas in 1959, yet received only a third writing credit on the former and none at all on the latter, and it would be easy to portray Belvin as yet another victim of the shameless back alley dealings of the music industry, except Belvin gave as good as he got. He was famous for walking into publishing houses, sitting down at the piano and making up songs on the spot, turning out lovely, floating melodies that seemed for all the world like sure-fire hits. It was only after he had collected his per song fee and left the building that the publishers realized they had purchased mostly smoke and mirrors, and that only Belvin and his gone-with-the-breeze vocal style could make any of it work. There's a bit of that delicately balanced and airy feel in this wonderful collection from Night Train Records, which offers up close to 30 piano and vocal demos Belvin recorded for Jack Lauderdale's Swing Time Records in 1955 and for Shorty Rogers three years later in 1958. From the first track, the delicately and brilliantly sketched "Confessing," it's obvious that this is a special collection, and brief track follows brief track as Belvin spins gauzy magic out of a few piano chords and a voice that seems to catch melodies and phrases as they float by in the ether. Sometimes the result is hardly a song at all but an improvised clutter of forced rhymes, like the absurd comic piece "Tarzan" or the odd yet strangely effective "Rock 'N' Cowboy," but there are also completely realized songs like "This Heart of Mine" and "Don't Worry About That Girl," that manage to turn offhand simplicity and effortlessly nuanced vocal phrasing into heart-breaking gems. An early demo of "So Fine" is here, sounding fascinatingly half improvised, which it probably was, as is "Dandelion," a cheerful nursery rhyme-like love song that becomes even more intriguing when one realizes that dandelion was Belvin's pet word for marijuana. That he was pulling things from the air and half composing on the fly during these demo sessions is obvious in the two takes of "Taboo Man" included here, in which Belvin subtly refines and clarifies the melody and phrasing on the second pass. "Taboo Man" is a good example of Belvin's unique skills, since it certainly sounds like a great song when he sings it, but it's also one of those smoke and mirrors compositions where it is difficult to imagine anyone else making it work. The wonderful intimacy and obvious joy that is on display in these demos is truly priceless, and as a glimpse at the easy charm and the natural as a spring sky style of Jesse Belvin, So Fine may well be the most casual and accurate portrait of this gifted artist we'll ever get. ~ Steve Leggett

Music Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 3.3
Based on 2 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • UPC: 048612709720
  • Shipping Weight: 0.19/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item