One of the first guitar playing blues-rockers whose recording career was relatively sparse but filled with high points for a variety of important labels which failed to find an audience, perhaps seeming too far ahead of his time.

Jesse Allen was born in 1925 in Tallahassee and after a stint in the Navy the self-taught guitarist began playing clubs in his home state of Florida, earning a strong reputation that eventually took him around the country before landing his first recording contract with Aladdin in the fall of 1951.

The typical four song session languished on the shelf for months during which Allen cut another session for Coral Records that December which resulted in his first release the following month which must’ve done well enough to prompt Aladdin to belated issue a single on him that spring.

Months passed before getting another opportunity, this time with Imperial Records with whom he’d enjoy his longest association over two years, first recording for their Bayou imprint before switching to the primary label, including some duets with Audrey Walker. Backed by the cream of New Orleans’ session aces and produced by Dave Bartholomew not even these sides could break through.

As rock ‘n’ roll music crossed over into the pop listings Allen might’ve been deemed too aggressive and went four years without stepping foot in a studio before signing with smaller labels at the end of the 1950’s, his scintillating guitar and intense vocals still finding no receptive ears.

Over the next fifteen years Allen managed to stay afloat in music by playing clubs across the country, settling back in Florida in the late 1960’s. Allen passed away in 1976 at the age of 51, still active in the local music scene, but never being properly recognized for his groundbreaking records two decades earlier.

JESSE ALLEN DISOCGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Coral 65078; January, 1952)
Virtually every element that went into making rock ‘n’ roll the most exciting brand of music out there is found in this record… a tight groove featuring guitar, piano and a throbbing bass, a grinding sax solo and Allen’s energetic singing about a night that never ends. (9)

(Aladdin 3129; March, 1952)
Despite the title and the inventive cribbing of some lyrics of “Good Rocking Tonight” to use it to paint a different story, this record features far more bluesy elements than his debut with a more prominent guitar, downcast vocals and no horns… still nice, but less vibrant. (7)