The first time I heard a Jesse James song was whilst watching a TV show a few years ago, on a random channel at stupid-o'clock. I think it was one of those skateboarding shows, which features skaters performing awesome tricks with skater music playing in the background.
When the song "Six Minutes" by Jesse James came on I immediately thought this was a great catchy track. Luckily the TV show has the name of the band and the song on the screen, so I quickly wrote the information down so I could look them up online the next day.
I found out that the song "Six Minutes" came from the album called Mission, which was their second full album, and I knew I had to get it straight away. After buying Mission, I have also got their first album called Punk Soul Brothers (2002) and their last album called The Assassination of Jesse James (2006). I was really disappointed to learn that they disbanded in 2007 as I knew this was the kind of band that I would have loved to have seen live. On their MySpace page it lists a number of factors that possibly led to their demise: Members leaving - and then returning. Nervous Breakdowns. Arrests. Hospitalisations. Small Fires. Big Fights. Vicious Rumours.
You can use the following words to sum up Jesse James: pop, punk, rock, ska (they don't seem to like falling into that genre) and fantastic (I'm sure they don't mind that!).
I love a band with a great horn section (get your mind out of the gutter!) like Less Than Jake, although Jesse James have slightly more brass as they have a trumpet, trombone and a sax player, which gives them a great sound.
Jesse James are from good old England and were signed to Deck Cheese Records and Golf Records. The album Mission was recorded in San Francisco in NoFX's studio as it was produced by Ryan Greene and it was released on 22 October 2003.
The album is full of brilliant, catchy tunes with clever lyrics and choruses that just beg to be sung at the top of your voice. There are also more hooks on this album than in a fisherman's tackle box. This album is always one I pick out to be played in the car. It's more serious than their debut album, but not as heavy and rock-based as their last album.
1) Six Minutes - the song that first brought Jesse James to my attention, this is a great opening track. The horns in the intro are the perfect hook throughout the whole song. [4/5]
2) Hills vs Mountains - great guitar riff, with a nice bass line. I think this track is the wallflower of the album as it doesn't really stand out and compared to the rest it just sort of lumbers along and it is the longest track at 3.47 minutes, but it's still not a bad track. [3/5]
3) First Day On A Brand New Planet - one of my favourites, the song has a quick pace at the beginning and then slows right down. The verses are a little tricky to sing along to, but the simple chorus more than makes up for it "Woah! Woah! First day on a brand new planet!"
4) Growin' Up - Shortest track at only 2.06 minutes long, this little ditty is another of my favourites. The fast pace of the verses are broken up with some fantastic horns. Best line of the album "Growing up's just getting old". [4/5]
5) Don't Stop Now - this is where the album's tone changes. The guitars are angry, the words are spat out and the singer obviously needs to get something off his chest. The horns are much more melancholy and the long drawn-out notes towards the end produce a howling sound, which give this song such a sad feeling. [3/5]
6) Fucked Up Little Kid - another song born from anger and frustration, this is a stomping song heavy on the drums and guitar to emphasise the despair and anger of the vocalist.
7) Patience - This is the second longest track on the album at 3.35 minutes and like Hills vs Mountains it's slower and not quite as catchy as the rest. There is however a great guitar solo, which leads into a fabulous horn chorus. [3/5]
8) We Used To Talk - Although this guitar driven track is a song about a relationship breaking down, it has a great chorus to sing along to with quite an uplifting horns section. [4/5]
9) Last Chance Long Past - this is a more optimistic sounding song and another of my favourites, as it never fails to get me bouncing around. It's about sticking up two fingers to those who put you down and pushed you around and it ends on a high note of horns. [4/5]
10) Harder Every Time - this song has the best drums and horns introduction ever! This stomper of a song is about seeing the bright side of life even though things are tough. One of the best songs to sing along to. [5/5]
11) Don't Wanna Get Better - a downbeat song about the end of a relationship and not wanting to try to make it better. This is a much slower song, horns take a backseat and then goes into some sort of 80's TV theme tune that I can't quite put my finger on.... Argh!! I've just remembered its Cagney and Lacey!!! [3/5]
12) Dear Jesus - one of their more controversial songs, the video for the song got banned! I've never seen the video but judging from the content of the song it's easy to see why. The song is in the form of a phone call message left on Jesus' answer-phone, which basically tells Jesus that they don't believe in him anymore. It's my least favourite song, not because it's blasphemous as I'm a non-believer anyway, but simply because it's not their strongest song. The saxophonist takes over lead vocals and the style of the song is quite different from the rest of the album (a bit like Blink 182) and feels like it should be one of those hidden bonus tracks [2/5].
Jesse James produced some great music in their 7 year career and it's such a shame they broke up as they could have been a huge success. But I am comforted by the fact that I can listen to this fantastic album and hope that one day they will reform!
Jesse James are:
Dko - Vocals & Bass
Rich - Vocals &Guitar
Tucker - Trombone
Dan - Trumpet
Guy - Drums
Pete - Saxophone
Ben - Trombone
Paul - Trumpet
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Six Minutes
2 Hills Vs Mountains
3 First Day On A Brand New Planet
4 Growin' Up
5 Don't Stop
6 Fucked Up Little Kid
8 We Used To Talk
9 Last Chance
10 Harder Every Time
11 Don't Wanna Get Better
12 Dear Jesus