Will I ever be free - BINGO 1001Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart (or Stewart on the Bingo release) was born in Memphis, and although a possible date of 1945 has been given, I think that’s rather unlikely as it would make him only 10 years old at the time of his first recording.  Whatever, he had a long and fruitful musical career, during which he made several records that should be in every soul fan’s collection.

His early doo –wop tracks for Wing under his real name Charles Jones sadly isn’t one of them. And neither are any of his singles for Philips International which are lightweight and rather forgettable. “All For Love” is a doo-wop influenced soul ballad of some merit, but rather spoiled by an intrusive background chorus. ListenA Whole Lot Of Tears, however, is a celebrated deep soul classic with Stuart crying and sobbing his heart out over a solid accompaniment featuring some lovely guitar runs and fills, and withdrawn horns. The Bingo release is another very good one with Stuart double tracking his vocal over a hammered slow 12/8 beat. Three of his four King sides are pretty mediocre to be honest, but “I Don’t Want To Leave You Darling” is in a different league. A plodding ballad with a lovely Memphis feel, it features one of Stuart’s very best vocal tracks. Highly recommended.

Can't count the days - CLIMAX 22004Stuart's first release after relocating to Florida is another one to search out. “Dreamer’s Hall Of Fame” is another class slowie, and Stuart really gives of his best, especially at the final 30 seconds. Electrifying stuff. Even better though is ListenCan’t Count The Days when his hoarse tone really delivers the goods. The melody is better too, as are the background singers who are far less forward in the mix. It’s not surprising that this garnered a release on the larger Kent label. In this company the much sought after Big Score 45 suffers rather badly.

His initial 45 for his own Great American label continued this fine trend. ListenPlease Give Me Another Chance is one of his greatest records. A completely unrestrained last minute as the song reaches its climax is merely the icing on the cake of a gritty, committed vocal. The slightly uncoordinated backing of rhythm, horns and chorus only add to the disc’s air of improvised agony. Superb.

Stuart continued into the 70s and 80s on his new Esquire International label, and “A Long Time Comin Down” is a very creditable slab of mid paced country soul, with good horn support. “Somebody’s Gotta Win” is a worthwhile, melodic ballad as well but in these later days nobody wanted to hear a singer screaming his passion, and Stuart’s vocals are well restrained. Shame.

A southern soul man who deserves much greater recognition.


My dearest treasure / My silent heart     ~ WING 90068 (1956) (as CHARLES JONES)
Ichaban Josan / What a beautiful face ~ SHAR 2 (1960)
Sunny side of the street / Take a chance ~ PHILLIPS INTERNATIONAL 3557 (1960)
Coming down with the blues / Dream ~ PHILIPS INTERNATIONAL 3567 (1961)
Little Miss Love / I betcha gonna like it ~ PHILIPS INTERNATIONAL 3575 (1962)
I ain't never / In love again ~ PHILLIPS INTERNATIONAL 3580 (1962)
Must I keep on waiting / Jeannie Jeannie ~ SANWAYNE 1143 (1962/3)
All for love / Are you ever coming back ~ YOUNGSTOWN 5002 (1963)
ListenA whole lot of tears / A big blue world ~ PURE GOLD 316 (1965)
Will I ever be free / The greasy frog ~ BINGO 1001 (1965)
I've got to cut you loose / Sitba ~ KING 6033 (1966)
I don't want to leave you darling / Soul jerk it baby ~ KING 6117 (1967)
Since you been lovin’ / Super strong vibrations ~ BIG SCORE 7001
Dreamers hall of fame / You're playing with fire ~ EUREKA 1001 (1968/9)
I just love your work / ListenCan't count the days ~ CLIMAX 22004 / ~ KENT 4559 (1970)
Your good lovin' / ListenPlease give me another chance ~ GREAT AMERICAN 401
You're mine (by this act of fate) / (Gonna keep on dancin') cause I got soul ~ GREAT AMERICAN 601
Don't stop giving me love / (Baby can't you feel my) super strong vibrations ~ ESQUIRE INT. 9951
A long time comin' down / Pretty fine foxy thing ~ ESQUIRE INT 9552
Hung up on your love / Every step of the way ~ ESQUIRE INT 9553
Baby let’s get together tonight / You better belive it baby – ESQUIRE INT 9554
Somebody's got to win / Hey foxy lady (whatcha doin' tonight) ~ ESQUIRE INT 9555 (1984)
Gonna have a party tonight / Same ~ ESQUIRE INT 12”


Thanks to Jeff Lemlich for extra info.


1.Charly UK issued an alternative take of "I betcha gonna like it" and a previoulsy unissued PHILLIPS INTERNATIONAL cut "Just walkin' in the rain" on their "Sunset Soul: Roots Of Rock Vol 6" LP (CR 30106).
2. Hitoshi Taksawa has another 45 in his collection - You forgot about me / All broken up ~ MAESTRO 1004/5 - but there are no details on recording location or date.



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