A veteran of the 1950s first wave, the skiffle era and Soho’s 2i’s coffee bar, Jesse Hector (currently employed as an office cleaner) must be unique in the annals of British rock. His ballistic recordings and live appearances with The Hammersmith Gorillas trailblazed the path to punk.
A lost hero who never stopped believing in the purifying and cathartic noblesse of the power chord and the big beat, convention would class Hector as an also-ran or even – gulp – a failure.
But convention shrivels up and dies in the face of the eternal fire captured on these recordings. With such like-minds as Gorillas champion Roger Armstrong and back-to-basics maestro Liam Watson at the controls, Hector’s splenetic guitar and emphatic vocals, whether fronting The Jesse Hector Sound or The Gatecrashers, are a wonder.
From Leavin’ Town – a rebel yell, shaking a righteous, arrogant tail feather – to Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues recast as a high-octane, custom-made cri de cœur, this is music of power and certainty, guaranteed to make faint hearts strong and turn mice into men.
This double-disc set includes a DVD of Caroline Catz’s excellent A Message To The World, a full-on secret rock’n’roll history. Look lively./o:p