- Jess Roden
Jess Roden Born 28 December 1947
Genres Rock Occupations Singer Instruments Vocals, guitar Years active 1966–present Labels Island Associated acts The Alan Bown Set
In 1966, he joined The Alan Bown Set as their new lead singer. Although their records rarely charted, Roden and the band did pick up a considerable fans in London, and belatedly became a minor star on the Northern soul scene, with the release of their single, "Emergency 999".
He remained with the Alan Bown through to the late 1960s, but left after recording the album The Alan Bown! His vocals were re-recorded by his replacement Robert Palmer for the UK release of the album, although Roden's original vocals remained on the U.S. release. Roden later appeared as a backing vocalist to Palmer on his 1983 appearance on The Tube.
In 1970 Roden returned to Worcestershire and formed the band Bronco but left after two albums to embark on a solo album. During this period, he also worked on Wildlife, the third Mott the Hoople album, and sang and played on albums by Carol Grimes, Jim Capaldi, Sandy Denny, and sang lead vocals on Keef Hartley's 1973 album Lancashire Hustler. His solo album plans were sidelined when, in the same year, he was asked to team up with ex-Doors John Densmore and Robby Krieger in The Butts Band, together with Phil Chenn (bass) and Roy Davies (keyboards). The album was recorded in London and Kingston, Jamaica and released in America on Blue Thumb and Island (rest of the world). Roden, Chenn and Davies remained with the group for one album and a brief US tour.
Roden finally emerged as a solo artist in the mid 1970s on Island Records, with his 1974 self-titled solo album. It was recorded at Olympia and Basing St Studios in London as well as New Orleans, Louisiana, and included contributions from Allen Toussaint and Art Neville on keyboards. He then formed The Jess Roden Band (originally Iguana - based in Southampton), with whom three further albums were recorded (Keep Your Hat On, Play It Dirty, PLay It Class and Blowin') - the latter recorded live in Birmingham and Leicester during 1976. Always a major touring draw, the band never achieved significant record sales and disbanded in 1977.
Following the ending of the JRB, Roden relocated to New York and cut two further solo albums for Island (The Player Not The Game and Stonechaser). He formed The Rivits with Peter Wood (who co-wrote Year Of The Cat with Al Stewart), for one album Multiplay. During initial sessions for a second Rivits album that was due to be recorded at Compass Point Studios, Roden sang back-up vocals for Grace Jones Pull Up To The Bumper. On returning to New York, Roden worked as a graphic artist while, at the same time, recording Seven Windows, an album that was produced by Steve Dwire and Michael MacDonald. Just before the album was released, Roden returned to live and work in the UK.
He returned with a new band, The Humans, in the mid 1990s, only to disappear from the music scene once more. One rare recent appearance was at Granville's Brasserie, in Stone, Staffordshire. As of April, 2008, according to his brother Nick, "Basically he now runs his own graphic design business, but not in New York. He lives near to London and is enjoying the quiet life. Up until about 4-5 years ago, he sang about once a year with an outfit called the SAS band with other singers and musicians. I believe Roy Wood, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Paul Young, etc. were also involved. I cannot speak on his behalf, but when I went down to see him two weeks ago, I asked him if he would be doing anymore singing, but seeing as he has not sung in such a while, I can honestly say it is most unlikely."
- Jess Roden (1974)
- The Player Not the Game (1977)
- Stonechaser (1980)
The Jess Roden Band
- Keep Your Hat On (1976)
- Play It Dirty, Play It Class (1976)
- Blowin' (1977)
- Live at the BBC (released 1993)
- Emergency 999 (CD which collects all early Alan Bown singles featuring Roden)
- The Alan Bown! (1968)
- Country Home (1970)
- Ace Of Sunlight (1971)
- Both album reissued as a 2for1 by BGO Records (November 2010)
The Butts Band
- Butts Band (1973)
- Multiplay (1980)
- Seven Windows (1986)
- Jess Roden and The Humans (1995)
- Live at The Robin 1996 (2004)
- Jess Roden - The Best Of... www.cherryred.com (2009)
- The Who - "Magic Bus" (backing vocals) (1968)
- Mott the Hoople - Wildlife (backing vocals) (1971)
- Keef Hartley - Lancashire Hustler (1973)
- Sandy Denny - Rendezvous (backing vocals) (1977)
- Sandy Denny - A Boxful of Treasures (includes "Losing Game" - duet with Roden) (2004)
- Paul Kossoff - Back Street Crawler (Roden sang on "I'm Ready" and "Molten Gold") (1973)
- Carol Grimes - Warm Blood (backing vocals) (1974)
- Jim Capaldi - Short Cut Draw Blood (guitarist) (1975)
- Stomu Yamashta - Go Too (1977)
- Grace Jones - Nightclubbing (backing vocals) (1981)
- Seven Windows - Seven Windows (1986)
- Peter Green - Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green (Roden sang on two tracks "Crying Won't Bring You Back" and "Merry Go Round") (1995)
- Luther Grosvenor - Floodgates (Roden sang on two tracks "I Wanna Be Free" and "Fire Down Below") (1996)
- SAS Band (Roden sang on "That's The Way God Planned It") (1998)
- ^ Kevyn Gammond entry on Wyfopedia
- ^ A listing and an image are accessible here, though no particulars of the engagement are provided.
- ^ Commentary in response to Unsung Heroes No. 1: Jess Roden, April 24, 2008. www.musiquarium.wordpress.com. A blog commentary that has turned into an informal Jess Roden discussion group.
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