Who was/is Jimmy Dee ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Jimmy Dee was indicative of the standout local talent. The raspy-voiced singer and drummer, born James Dee Fore on August 17, 1937 in San Antonio, assembled his own combo, The Offbeats, and played at the Tiffany Lounge in his hometown. The TNT-Label issued Dee and The Offbeats’ debut single Henrietta in the fall of 1957, and a barnburner it was. Penned by Jimmy and Larry Hitzfeld with a nod in Little Richard’s direction, the rocker was a prime example of the R&B-laced San Antonio sound, honking sax urging Dee’s scratchy pipes on (it was reportedly the first platter a young Bob Dylan ever purchased). Pumping piano powered the flip Don’t Cry No More, which blasted even harder. Penned by ex-TNT chanteuse Betty Barnes, it added a vocal group, The Montclairs, to the tumult surrounding Dee.
Dot Records picked the single up for national consumption. Henrietta shot up to #47 on ‘Billboard’s’ pop ‘Best Seller’ charts during a ten-week run in early 1958, no doubt fueled by Jimmy’s December 2, 1957 lip-synch on Dick Clark’s nationally televised daily ABC-TV program ‘American Bandstand.’ Dee came right back on TNT in early ‘58 with another sonic explosion from the combined pen of Fore and Hitzfeld, You’re Late Miss Kate, buzzing sax and pounding ivories backing Dee’s wild pipes. Fore and Lewis Knippa scribed the equally torrid B-side, Here I Come. Dot picked Dee’s encore effort up too, but it failed to follow chart suit.
I Feel Like Rockin’ proved Jimmy’s last TNT platter in early 1959 (its label didn’t mention The Offbeats). A dubbed-on cuckoo clock opened the other side, the rollicking Atwood Allen-penned Rock-Tick-Tock, just as crazed as its predecessors. Both sides featured a teenaged Doug Sahm picking hot lead guitar; the former child steel guitar prodigy would eventually bring the R&B-influenced San Antonio sound to the world. Dot didn’t grab Jimmy’s third release, ending his TNT stint. Sahm and Freddy Fender both later revived Henrietta, the latter as Enriqueta.
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