In the 1950's and 60's Chicago Blues scene Jesse Fortune was the go to guy for heavy duty vocal work. In that era you include the likes of Big Voice "B.B." Odum, Barking Bill and very few others. The most prized at that time was Jesse Fortune.
Hired by the legendary Otis Rush as a special guest feature vocalist for the Otis Rush Band show in 1952, Jesse made his mark on Chicago's tough west side. Keeping in mind that Otis Rush was himself one of the great vocalists in Chicago as well. Other great vocalists like Buddy Guy also hired fortune as a special guest vocalist, as did Willie Dixon in later years.
Jesse soon caught the attention of Willie Dixon who was penning tunes for Rush at that time. Dixon told writers and A&R men about Jesse Fortune and how he was "knocked out by his talent and power". Jesse Fortune soon found himself recording for the USA label and had Dixon writing tunes for him. After a meteoric rise to popularity behind the release of the USA sides, Fortune became rightfully disillusioned by the Blues music scene and it dishonesty. He has often said he "never made a dime from his recordings" even though he became a minor star behind them. Almost as fast as he rose to prominence he disappeared from the scene.
Born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi he learned the trade of barbering from his father at a very young age. He worked in that field on and off, full time or part time all his life and still maintains a shop on Chicago's west side.
One of the great Jazz & Blues record label men of Chicago, Bob Koester of Delmark Records, caught Jesse singing at a benefit concert and immediately signed him on the spot. The rest is history for one of the great comeback artists of the last thirty years.
"Fortune's Delmark CD, Fortune Tellin Man, showcases his gospelly vocal grit; he uses his love for B.B. King's style as a springboard instead of a crutch"
"... this set shows him to be a remarkably forceful vocalist. (...) a set with no weak tracks."
" Fortune does a great job of ripping it up... "
"Jesse Fortune (...) a cut above the rest"
"His voice is expressive yet never sounds strained or labored He is deeply soulful with a strutting rhythmic style (...) that give this material such a freshness not often hear on Blues releases these days. Jesse Fortune's return to recording and gigging is a most welcome event"
"What a phenomenal vocalist (...) awesome range, timbre and style (...) like a higher register Johnny Adams, a young Buddy Guy, Ted Taylor and Roy Brown and most certainly prime years B.B. King."