Music from the UK – Jess Roden

The Midlands of England has traditionally been an amazing breeding ground for renowned vocalists : Robert Plant, Glenn Hughes, Rob Halford, Steve Winwood, the list goes on. So it’s no surprise that the man I highlight today is also from that area of rich musical heritage. Jess Roden first came to prominence in the 60’s as part of The Alan Bown Set, and remained as their front man as the late 60’s saw the band morph into The Alan Bown! (Exclamation mark included) . Jess then set out with later-to-be Robert Plant guitarist Robbie Blunt to form Bronco, who released to superb albums for Island records. Throughout the 70’s, either with Butts Band, (with ex members of The Doors) solo, or with the superb live act The Jess Roden Band, he went on to cement his reputation as one of the Country’s finest vocalist, often recording with the cream of New Orleans session men, including Allan Toussaint. Over the years appearances on albums by Keef Hartley, Grace Jones, Mott the Hoople’s Luther Grovesnor, and Robert Palmer only served to show in what high regard he was held by his fellow musicians.

He formed the short-lived band The Rivits with Peter Wood (co-writer of Al Stewart’s classic ‘Year of the Cat’) releasing one album, ‘Multiplay‘ in 1980. It was to be a further six years until the release of the much sought after ‘Seven Windows’ album, and another nine after that before he burst back onto the scene with a new band –The Humans – featuring Gary Grainger (Strider, Rod Stewart) and a new album, with a guest appearance by fellow Midlander Steve Winwood. 

The Humans went on to release one more album, ‘Live at the Robin’ after which Jess went into a career in Graphic Design. But now, through the Music archiving and Curating company HIDDEN MASTERS, Jess’s huge legacy is getting the showcase it deserves. Much of his catalogue has never even been released on CD before, but now, THE JESS RODEN ANTHOLOGY,  a career-defining box set of 6 CD’s comprising 94 tracks, with around 50% unreleased material is available to order from PLEDGE MUSIC. A strictly limited 950 hand-numbered copies are available, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Discover this wonderful singer today.

The video below includes a short extract of the song that was the first track discovered when the project to catalogue and digitize Jess’s music began. It is called simply ‘Song 3’.

website: JESS RODEN

Kev Moore