Jesse Green ‘Nice and Slow’ (BBR/Cherry Red) 4/5

jesse-greenJamaican singer Jesse Green actually started off his career as a member of reggae harmony group the Pioneers, touring with Jimmy Cliff, and yet like many of his contemporaries possessed a soulful voice that was easily transferable to the soul idiom. Toots Maytals would record an entire album in Memphis and Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, perhaps, should have followed suit at some stage in their careers. By 1976 a change of style resulted in this album which, with its suggestive cover, reeks of 1970s disco hedonism, but is a fine example of uptempo soul music. It has something of a Miami sound to it which is surprising since it was actually recorded in London. Although the album at the time was not a major success, it has become something of a cult item and the title track single released in its full 12″ version became a number one disco hit, even entering the lower echelons of the UK top twenty pop chart. It now come across as a tasty slab of pop-disco, but quality music all the same and the likes of Billy Ocean would follow suit in the next decade. That said, this writer much prefers two other songs, notably the heavy bassline groove of ‘You are the star’ and the left-field track on the album, the mid-tempo ‘Highwaves of the Sea’. An illustration of Green’s vocal powers can be found on ‘You came, you saw, you conquered’ which demonstrates that Green could stretch his falsetto vocals while for ballads ‘The greatest love’ delivers fully. Some of the tracks seem to be influenced by George McCrae’s ‘Rock me baby’ song and have a light, uplifting feel in the use of strings.

Tim Stenhouse