Jess Roden – Beginnings – The Alan Bown Set

10 11 2008

There’s been a few mentions about the recent Alan Bown compilation featuring Jess recently, so I thought I’d do a small piece on it. Enjoy!

You probably have to be of a certain age to remember the English soul club scene of the 1960’s. but for those of us who discovered the mighty larynx of Jess Roden a few years down the line, as his solo career was flowering, the journey of discovery back in time is a rewarding one.

If you missed Jess’s debut on the London stages first time around, this well-packaged release on Sequel records should get the adrenaline flowing, and satisfy Roden completists.
Entitled The Alan Bown Set – Emergency 999, it gathers together the first 5 singles, complete with B sides, plus the rarity, “Jeu de Massacre” (the killing game) a bona-fide oddity written by Jaques Loussier and included on the soundtrack of the movie of the same name, which previewed at the Cannes film festival.

Boasting 21 tracks, this compliation also gives us rare demoes, and a live set, originally released on the London swings-live at the Marquee club LP – a peculiar release that saw The Alan Bown Set and Jimmy James get a side apiece!

Jess joined the Alan Bown Set in time for their second single, and remained with them throughout their name change to The Alan Bown! -which signalled their metamorphosis from soul band to psychedelic pop outfit. This set contains the song “Mr.Job” , which signalled their new direction, but had never been released until now, though it proved to be a useful debut for Midlands band Jigsaw to launch their career.
It was the rise of the discotheques that eventually put paid to the popularity of soul bands like The Alan Bown Set. Clubbers could now dance the night away in the company of Sam and Dave, and James Brown. For the Brits, it was a case of adapt or die, but the Summer of Love was never really going to be the answer to their prayers.

So if you want to immerse yourself in a steamy Marquee, or Flamingo and catch the buzz that was around in those early days, this CD is your time machine, come on in and listen to Jess’s youthful, vibrant soul, hinting at the catalogue of classic performances that were ahead of him.

Kev Moore

NB –

This post was previously published in The Musiquarium

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One response

25 03 2009
Beresford du-Cille

Hi
I met Jess Roden when he was vocalist for Bronco-the other members of the band were in The Band of Joy (with Robert Plant-my best man!) he was a fine singer and a really great bloke. He only met me once and about 18 months later we met up again and he not only remembered me but he remembered my name. What a great pity he never got the success his talent deserved.

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