Jesse Graham (Retrospective)
Daddy B. Nice's #44 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"(When I) Think Of My Baby"
Jesse Graham (Retrospective)
Composed by Jesse Graham
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Think Of My Baby" on YouTube while you read.
Jesse Graham RetrospectiveSouthern Soul fans can give thanks that Jesse Graham has never let his seminal 1994 album SOUL MUSIC go out of print.
Buy Jesse Graham's SOUL MUSIC album at Amazon.
For this retrospective and appreciation of the album, I have updated all portions of the Jesse Graham Artist Guide (scroll down this page).
Jesse Graham was referenced in no less than two different capsule reviews in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Singles for August 2019:
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles For. . .
…3. "No One"------Vick Allen
This is the most southern-soulful of the tunes on Vick's new Untouchable album. Naturally, I love it for that--especially the synth-instrumental echoes of vintage Jesse Graham and Eddie Holloway. I'll post a congratulations to any reader who can identify the even earlier soul-music source for the "You will never, ever find anyone" line in the chorus.
Listen to Vick Allen singing "No One" on YouTube.
.....10. "Strong Woman"-----Fat Daddy
I've been suppressing this song from Fat Daddy's debut album Gone To Love You Right because, like Bishop Bullwinkle appropriating Bigg Robb's instrumental track for "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw," Fat Daddy cannibalizes Jesse Graham's "Mr. Mailman". Now, after a year of abstinence, I still crave hearing "Strong Woman," with its thumping bass line and ethereal strings--and, truth is, I've gotten used to it.
Listen to Fat Daddy singing "Strong Woman" on YouTube".
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Mr. Mailman" on YouTube
Daddy B. Nice notes:
As if to atone for his sampling of Jesse Graham's "Mr. Mailman" (above) for his single "Strong Woman," up-and-coming southern soul artist Fat Daddy titled another song from his debut album "Mail Man". The track, a duet with Sir Charles Jones featuring an atmospheric instrumental track reminiscent of Graham's hit singles from Soul Music, has become very successful and popular.
Listen to Fat Daddy and Sir Charles Jones singing "Mail Man" on YouTube.
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Love Talk" on YouTube.
May 1, 2009:
Daddy B. Nice's Updated ProfileWhat little I have ever known about the artist Jesse Graham is contained in his seminal Southern Soul CD, Soul Music. Jesse was only 24 years old, he told your Daddy B. Nice recently, when the original Soul Music songs were created.
One of the early pioneers of Southern Soul (which wasn't known by the name at that time, the mid-nineties), Jesse Graham has drifted away from the music. Still, songs from his one and only Southern Soul CD--"When I Think Of My Baby," "Mr. Mailman," "Love Talk," "Same Place, Same Time"--are still played on stations in central Mississippi and Louisiana. Along with Willie Clayton, Jeff Floyd and Ollie Nightingale, Graham's melodically-sumptious and well-crafted songs helped to set the template for the romantically-inclined up-and-comers of the present Southern Soul generation.
These days Jesse Graham produces other acts and has a TV show called the "Sing and Play Like Brotha Jaye" show, teaching people to play music by ear.
Asked about his long recording hiatus, Graham says frankly that he believes that too many artists make the same album over and over. "That's cheating the fans. There should be some inspiration for new music. Otherwise, do not record."
Musicians are flesh-and-blood people like the rest of us. They have lives to live. They drift in and out of music--all but a few, anyway. And although in the Artist Critique below your Daddy B. Nice calls Jesse's absence over the last decade "an unfathomable loss," I count Jesse Graham's self-assessment not only rare but admirable.
Although poorly produced by today's standards, Jesse's album had enough great songs to cover a quartet of albums by comparable artists. The unique sound of that music hasn't been reproduced since, making it seem even more remarkable.
--Daddy B. Nice
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile
Deejays of the Deep South still queue up the songs from Jesse Graham's Soul Music (Ichiban/Ryko, 1994), an almost Beatlesesque compendium of radio-friendly tunes, including "Mr. Mailman," "Same Place, Same Time (Tomorrow Night)," "Love Talk" and "(When I) Think Of My Baby."
"Think Of My Baby" has one of the most gorgeous melodies in Southern Soul, with chord changes and a bridge that dazzle one on the "umpteenth" listening, all set against a full orchestral arrangement that never seems pretentious or out of place. For fans of the song, the very words tug at the memory of how fine the music is, and where you were at when you first heard it.
"When I got home yesterday,
Gone were the things I loved the most.
On the kitchen table there was a note.
"It said, 'Jesse, it's over.
You've done me wrong one time too many.
Can't take it, can't stand it another day.'"
The words to "Think Of My Baby" read sad, but the music and overall effect is just the opposite--exhilarating and romantic--reminiscent of the aural lushness of Ollie Nightingale's "She's In A Midnight Mood In The Middle Of The Day." The impact is as fresh and uplifting as a gust of spring breeze.
"Same Place, Same Time (Tomorrow Night)" is almost as good. When you hear Jesse Graham sing, "Same place, same time, tomorrow night" in the song of the same name from Soul Music, you're practically in tears by the time he gets to the word "tomorrow." Whether they're tears of joy or tears of pain ("We're both taking one hell of a chance," he reminds us not once but twice) is hard to pinpoint. But the joy and pain seem to intermingle in Jesse's every word.
And many fans consider "Mr. Mailman," Graham's other well-known single, the best of all. "Mr. Mailman" is a "Dear John" letter from the point of view of a rejected husband. The arrangement adds a touch of Z.Z. Hill (also evident in "Same Place, Same Time") to the mix, making the track even more symphonic, almost overblown. But Graham's strong, sensitive vocal in the confessional tradition of Marvin Gaye tethers the song to the real world. The musical contrast is breathtaking in effect.
In an album of stellar material, the two songs--"Think Of My Baby" and "Mr. Mailman"--form bookends for a body of work that, amazingly, still shines brightly (from a far-off distance) over a decade later. (DBN notes: now two and half decades). That Graham's career in southern soul has been defined by this one and only album is an unfortunate circumstance, as is his long recording silence since. For relatively newer fans of contemporary Southern Soul, Jesse Graham's story would be today's equivalent of young Sir Charles Jones or young Floyd Taylor walking away from the modicum of fame deservedly showered upon them in response to their debut CD's. In other words, it's an unfathomable loss. But Soul Music 101 still shines like a lighthouse beacon, its music an inspiration to a new generation...
--Daddy B. Nice
About Jesse Graham (Retrospective)
Soul Music 101, Jesse Graham's debut LP containing the chitlin' circuit hits, "Mr. Mailman" and "Think Of My Baby," appeared in 1994, and songs from the disc, including "Love Talk" and "Same Place, Same Time (Tomorrow)" and "I Lied," continue to show up on southern deejay rotations to the present day. Graham composed, arranged, produced and sang all of the tracks on the CD.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"When I think of my baby,
Jesse Graham On YouTube (updated 8-25-19)Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Mr. Mailman" on YouTube.
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Same Place, Same Time" on YouTube.
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "I Lied" on YouTube.
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Think Of My Baby" on YouTube.
Listen to Jesse Graham singing "Love Talk" on YouTube.
1.October 31, 2009:
Jesse asked your Daddy B. Nice if I would post the following information on the website, which I now gladly do:
"Ya know if we could somehow clean up the Southern Soul Genre it would be more accepted by the world. I make grown folks music - but most of the time I think of better lyrics than P%%Y and d$#K a#@ (fill in the blanks), but this is America and we are guaranteed our freedom of
speech, Daddy B Nice, Jesse Graham, anybody who is a citizen.
I am creating a non profit organization that will be called the The Southern Soul Music Allumni Association.
We will create networks of broadcasters, artists, bloggers, record labels and fans and will include all Southern Soul Blues lovers.
My goals short list is as follows:
1. I want to get Southern Soul Music included on the Billboard charts.
2. I want to showcase the best in Southern Soul in large mega-live concerts nationwide.
3. I want to establish a fund for Retiring Southern Soul Alumni members - Artists, Managers, Band Members, broadcasters, and writers/bloggers.
4. I want to establish the Southern Soul Music Awards (2010).
2.March 6, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Bargain-Priced Soul Music 101 CD
Daddy B. Nice notes: This is a fortuitous reprinting of Jesse Graham's classic out-of-print SOUL MUSIC CD, with the great, seminal hits that influenced so much of Southern Soul today: "Think Of My Baby," "Mr. Mailman, "Love Talk," "I Lied," and "Same Place, Same Time."
3.July 13, 2013: NEW ALBUM ALERT
Sample/Buy Jesse Graham's new SEXY LADIES CD.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody," you have a taste of what's in store for you with Jesse Graham's "(When I) Think Of My Baby."
Honorary "B" Side
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