Gary: I am revising one of the first posts I did, mainly because it was not very good. Let’s go back and look at a fairly unknown group, that did make it to #47 on Billboard in 1958, thanks to Dick Clark.
Truly a “Rock and Roll Group” out of San Antonio, Texas, they were one of the first to have a Texas or Tex-Mex Rock sound.
I absolutely loved their song “Henrietta”, but there is not a lot of information regarding “Jimmy Dee”, whose full name was James Dee Fore.
We don’t know a lot about Jimmy Dee. He was a drummer.
In late 1957 he and his group broke the Billboard Top 50 with a song he wrote called “Henrietta”. You may remember it, or you may never have heard it before. I first heard it on American Bandstand.
The song has become a minor classic. It was the first record Bob Dylan ever bought, and the song featured in his early pre-folk repertoire.
There was a cover by Don Barber on Personality Records and “Henrietta” has been revived by Doug Sahm, the Trashmen and Freddie Fender (who cut a version in Spanish, “Enriquetta”), among others.
The follow-up, “You’re Late Miss Kate”, is another volcanic rocker, again written by Jimmy Dee himself (credited as “Fore” on the label) in cooperation with Larry Hitzfeld, who was probably one of the Offbeats. Again, it was originally released on TNT (152) and then on Dot (15721).
When the record failed to chart, Dot passed on its option to license Dee’s third single (1959), “I Feel Like Rockin'”/” Rock-Tick-Tock” (TNT 161), on which a 17-year old Doug Sahm (see Sir Douglas Quintet) played guitar.
A further Jimmy Dee track, “That’s What I Call Love” emerged on a White Label LP (“Rock, Rock, Rock”, LP 8805) in the 1980s.
He worked as a studio musician in both Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee during the early sixties.
It is known that he was a member of the backing group for the Verve recording artist Sharon Wynter and toured with her but did not sing on any of her recordings. It is reported that he married her sister in 1967.
He is also credited on one of Del Shannon’s tracks “Tell Her No”, 1965, on drums and back-up vocals. It is thought that he may have toured with Del Shannon as his drummer.
A contractual dispute with Roulette records caused his recording career to halt in early 1966. However, he re-appeared during the late sixties and the mid seventies and again in the eighties with several more records and produced one CD during the nineties.
His discography is difficult to assemble as he recorded for eleven different labels during the years spanning 1957-1965.
A total output of 27 tracks can be attributed to Jimmy Dee, but “Henrietta”, and to a lesser extent, “You’re Late Miss Kate”, ensure Jimmy Dee’s immortality as a rock ‘n’ roll artist.
Both “Henrietta” and “You’re Late Miss Kate” have been reissued heavily, but there are only two CD’s that contain both songs: “Dot Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Ace 592, released in 1996) and “That’ll Flat Git It, Vol. 5 (Dot)” on Bear Family BCD 15711, issued in 1997.
I have no idea what happened to Jimmy Dee. I looked under every rock, but nothing. I am fortunate that I have some of the Offbeats music, because it has just disappeared.
This one song nobody has and it was recorded by Jimmy Dee and The Offbeats in 1959: “Here I Come”
Most of the Offbeats songs were written by the drummer, which of course was Jimmy Dee or James Dee Fore.