b. James Herbert McClelland, 3rd October 1943 in El Dorado, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Born James McClelland in 1943 in Eldorado, Arkansas, Jesse moved to the Bay Area of California as a young child.
Jesse had to move there as his father was a longshore fisherman.
His 'James' surname was handed to him by a compere at a concert who couldn't pronounce his real name during one of his early shows.
During his early years, in between singing in nightclubs, Jesse had a job at a local chemical factory.
In the '60's he recorded for the Shirley label where 'I Will Go' (featuring Sly Stone on guitar), was the first of six singles before he switched to Hit Records for 'I Call On You' in 1966.
He later recorded for labels including 20th Century (including 'Believe In Me Baby' and 'Jesse James'), Uni ('Ain't Much Of A Home'), Zea ('Don't Nobody Want To Get Married' and 'I Need You Baby'), Zay ('I Know I'll Never Find Another'), and back to 20th Century in 1974 ('No Matter Where You Go', 'You Ought To Be Here With Me' and 'If You Want A Love Affair').
'Believe In Me Baby' sold 50,000 copies in a fortnight and became number one R & B!
Through the '80's he recorded for labels including Moonlite Hope, Midtown ('I Can Feel Your Love Vibes', 1984), TTED ('It Takes One To Know One', 1988), and two albums for Gunsmoke, 'I Can Do Bad By Myself' (featuring a 9 minute live version of 'Cheatin' In The Next Room' from 1988 and a collaboration with Harvey Scales) and 'Looking Back' (1990).
Real soul fans will point to the 1990 Gunsmoke 45, 'I've Been There Before', as one of Jesse's finest vocal performances.
Jesse James (Twentieth Records 1968)
I Can Do Bad By Myself (Gunsmoke Records 1988)
Operator Please Put Me Thru (Gunsmoke Records 1994)
It Just Don't Feel the Same (Gunsmoke Records 1997)
Versatility (Gunsmoke Records 1998)