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Appreciation: Jesse Fortune

By The Beachwood Blues Bureau

"Blues singer Jesse Fortune, most active in the 1950s and 60s, collapsed on stage while performing Sunday night in Chicago and later died," the Tribune reported on August 31.

"Fortune, 79, of the 3800 block of West Jackson Boulevard in East Garfield Park, was performing at Gene's Playmate Lounge at 4239 W. Cermak Ave."


"Fortune, better known as the 'Fortune Tellin' Man,' was born Feb. 28, 1930, in Macon, Miss. He migrated to the West Side of Chicago in 1952 and began performing around the city with blues notables."


Tribune Comment: Chicago Dave on August 31, 2009 10:38 AM:

"God speed, Jesse. Give my regards to Muddy, Koko and the rest of the gang. You went out the right way. Peace."


Tribune Comment: Marcella D. FORTUNE on September 5, 2009 9:03 PM:

"JESSE FORTUNE WAS MY HUSBAND DERRICK FORTUNE'S UNCLE. He will be truly missed, especially around the holidays when I'm used to seeing him around great Southern-cooked food. My late father-in-law, Tom Fortune,and his brother's uncle JB (that's what we called Jesse) and Uncle Clarence would sit for hours on holidays watching football games, talking and eating all day long. Jesse was a very quiet person, but his presence will be dearly missed. Please keep the Fortune family, and all families in prayer! God bless!"


"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," BluesMgtGroup writes. "The most prized at that time was Jesse Fortune."


"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."


"It doesn't happen very often anymore," Delmark writes. "An obscure blues figure, revered by aficionados for a handful of memorable recordings, leaps right out of the dusty discographical pages and materializes in the flesh with something new to say musically.

"In Jesse Fortune's case, that's precisely what has happened - and this long-overdue debut album, a sizzling collaboration between the veteran Chicago vocalist and Delmark's acclaimed young combo, Dave Specter and the Bluebirds, is the happy result. Jesse's enthusiasm blasts forth every time he sings on this album.

"Recorded July 26-28, 1992."


Heavy Heavy Hearbeat

Recorded in Chicago, April 26, 1963. Buddy Guy on lead guitar.


Posted on September 28, 2009

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