Soul Fantasy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jesse Davis

Jesse Davis in Greece.

Jesse started his professional career while still very young, touring with The Fabulous Tones as the featured singer. After a year, he decided to strike out on his own, instantly becoming well known in Palm Springs during the "Hollywood playground" days in the 70's. Movie stars Rita Hayworth, Kim Novak, Doug McClure, Darren McGavin, Denise Darcel, David Jannsen, Paul Burke; and singer Jackie DeShannon were a few of the many celebrities that were frequent patrons at Jesse's performances. Of special note, First Lady Betty Ford came to see him twice, the second time bringing her husband, President Gerald Ford. This caused quite a stir, surrounded by Secret Service, particularly when the First Lady said she could not leave until she had a dance with Jesse! The president was very gracious about that and followed suit by dancing with one of the female Secret Service members.

A couple years later a customer put Jack Entratter, owner of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, in touch with Jesse and an audition was setup. Jesse found out a few minutes before the audition that he would be auditioning before Jack Entratter and Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin! Jesse's nervousness was compounded when he arrived at the big showroom to learn that the sound technicians had forgotten to set up a microphone. So Jesse had to audition before these three heavyweights, without a mike!! After just two songs, Mr. Sinatra turned to Jack and said "What are you trying to do, blow the kid's voice out?....give him a job"!! And that began his many appearances at the Sands, we well as the Sahara, Dunes, Miami, Stardust and other Las Vegas venues, as well as many of the hotel casinos in Lake Tahoe and Reno.

While performing in Hollywood, he received a call from a prominent club owned in Sydney, Australia with an offer to headline a large musical review. That engagement lead to bookings throughout Australia, including many TV appearances, as well as the recording and release of this first album, Movin' Along. The also recorded many singles, some of which were only released overseas.
During an engagement in Acapulco, vacationing movie producer Joe Camp (of "Benji" fame) caught Jesse's show and was so impressed that he asked Jesse to co-star in his upcoming television special "The Phenomenon of Benji", to be filmed throughout Europe. Later, he also signed Jesse to record the title song of Benji feature film "I Feel Love", for release as a single.

That song won the Golden Globe award for best song and was nominated in the same category for an Academy Award. Within the next few years, Jesse co-starred in a second Benji TV special, "Benji at Marineland", and had a singing role the western movie "Hawmps".
A sampling of television appearances over the years include: Nightman, Sun Up San Diego, PM Magazine, Good Morning L.A., The Lita Baron Show (Palm Springs), Siempre En Domingo (Mexico City), Tonight Show (Sydney Australia) and Australia's version of Hollywood Squares.

1. Moving Along
2. They Call Me Mr. Lonely
3. Just Jesse
4. Hollywood Gypsies
5. The Man From Camp Nine

From the last ultra rare album on Essence Records in 1983, I have chosen three wonderful tracks entitled "You are my love" , "Tell me" and "Until you". Drums by Pattie Padden, Sax solo by Tim Welch, female vocal by Peggy Minafee, arranged and conducted by Garfield Verdine II. Produced by Jesse Davis and Garfield Verdine II.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

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