“Alright,” the first track on the gender-ambiguously named-and-sounding Jesse Dee’s first LP, “Bittersweet Batch,” and it begins with pumping horns and a voice that falls somewhere between Sam Cooke, Aaron Neville, and Martha Reeves. It’s a feel-good, do-good, be-happy tune, simple, bouncy, and full of nonstop energy. A perfect start to a near-perfect album.
Jesse Dee’s hails from Boston, and I have no idea how he managed to have such perfect old-school soul pitch, but he does. It’s almost a shame that this album postdates the Amy Winehouse phenomenon. Winehouse’s album was certainly great, but it represented a modernization of the Motown/Stax sound, whereas Dee creates more of an homage. While Amy tells of a dark, sad and damaged soul, Jesse, like Corrine Bailey Rae, makes music to heal it. “Reap What You Sow” is a bluesy tune like Otis or Aretha used to make, but most
of Jesse’s music falls in the inspirational category, like Mayfield (but without the black power slant). A great retro release, this album belongs on the same shelf with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
Bonus Soul Song!
Angel of the Morning-Nina Simone