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"Henrietta" and "You're Late Miss Kate"

Jimmy Says ... "I Still Feel Like Rockin'"

** Samples of Jimmy's Music **

Jimmy Dee, San Antonio, Texas musician and singer hit 47 on the Billboard Top 50 early in 1958 with the song Henrietta, a rockabilly style early rock 'n' roll song. He appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand TV program during December, 1957.

He was born in May of 1944 and by 1956 had become a club attraction in lounges near San Antonio. His discography is difficult to assemble as he recorded for eleven different labels during the years spanning 1957-1965.

It is known that he was a member of the backing group for the Verve recording artist Sharon Wynter and toured with her but did not sing on any of her recordings. It is reported that he married her sister in 1967.

He worked as a studio musician in both Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee during the early sixties. He is also credited on one of Del Shannon's tracks "Tell Her No", 1965, on drums and back-up vocals. It is thought that he may have toured with Shannon as his drummer.

A contractual dispute with Roulette records caused his recording career to halt in early 1966. However, he re-appeared during the late sixties and the mid seventies and again in the eighties with several more records and produced one CD during the nineties.


My first encounter with the name Jimmy Dee took place in 1958, when I heard his "Henrietta" played on a jukebox in Purmerend, where I went to school. It was a jukebox where you could easily see the label and the catalogue number as the record was spinning around, so I noticed that this was yet another great rocker on my favourite label, London (FL 1718, Dutch pressing ; there was no release on London American in the UK at the time). Not many copies were printed of this Dutch release, I think, and when I started collecting records in the early sixties it proved to be quite hard to find. But my friend Henk Gorter in Groningen did own a copy of the London single and taped both sides for me. The flip, "Don't Cry No More", wasn't bad either, though lacking the raucous intensity of the A-side. "Henrietta", credited to Jimmy Dee and the Offbeats", was originally recorded for Bob Tanner's Austin-based TNT label in the autumn of 1957. Strong local sales prompted Dot Records to purchase the master and with the promotion of this much bigger label, "Henrietta" went to # 47 on the Billboard charts in early 1958. The song has become a minor classic. It was the first record Bob Dylan ever bought, and the song featured in his early pre-folk repertoire. There was a cover by Don Barber on Personality Records and "Henrietta" has been revived by Doug Sahm, the Trashmen and Freddie Fender (who cut a version in Spanish, "Enriquetta"), among others.

The follow-up, "You're Late Miss Kate", is another volcanic rocker, again written by Jimmy Dee himself (credited as "Fore" on the label) in cooperation with Larry Hitzfeld, who was probably one of the Offbeats, Dee's backing group. Again, it was originally released on TNT (152) and then on Dot (15721). But after the record failed to chart, Dot passed on its option to license Dee's third single (1959), "I Feel Like Rockin'"/" Rock-Tick-Tock" (TNT 161), on which a 17-year old Doug Sahm (see Sir Douglas Quintet) played guitar.

A further Jimmy Dee track, "That's What I Call Love" emerged on a White Label LP ("Rock, Rock, Rock", LP 8805) in the 1980s, but that's about it : a total output of twenty-seven tracks that can be attributed to Jimmy Dee. Nevertheless, "Henrietta", and to a lesser extent, "You're Late Miss Kate", suffice to ensure Jimmy Dee's immortality as a rock 'n' roll artist.

What happened to him later is not quite clear. Some say he joined the Houston police force, others like Joel Whitburn reckon he managed the Houston Astrodome.

A third source puts him in Chicago living the life of a wealthy man with no interest in his rocking past. Another source has him still performing to this day (2007).

Jimmy Dee apparently recorded for Inner-Glo, Pixie, and Nashville, releasing The Monster Hop in 1963 and Please Don't Go in 1964, but he doesn't sound like the Little Jimmy Dee on TNT, DOT or Infinity, nor the Jimmy Dee on Ace and Scope. Also Jimmy Dee can be found on Big Top and Roulette both issued in 1965. Once all the Jimmy Dee tracks are gathered and heard then one can fully appreciate this artist as his vocal abilities and music style changed and improved.

Both "Henrietta" and "You're Late Miss Kate" have been reissued heavily, but there are only two CD's that contain both songs: "Dot Rock 'n' Roll" (Ace 592, released in 1996) and "That'll Flat Git It, Vol. 5 (Dot)" on Bear Family BCD 15711, issued in 1997.

  • In 1958 with Henrietta and appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in December of '57 and performed a rockabilly song.

  • He recorded for 11 different labels spanning the years 1957-1989 and did some great rock 'n' roll as he literally grew up with the music style being one of the founders.

  • Bio courtesy of Wikipedia - Photos courtesy Jimmy Dee and Steve Burrows

    Posted July, 2007

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