Blues vocalist Jesse Fortune passed away early this morning – August 31, 2009, after collapsing onstage during his performance at the Playmate Lounge, Chicago, IL. He was 79. Jesse Fortune was a blues singer of the highest order. He was born in Macon, Mississippi in 1930, and grew up around Hattiesburg. He was greatly influenced by the vocals of B.B. King. In 1952, he relocated to Chicago, and became a highly respected singer on the windy city blues circuit. His first recording session was arranged and produced by Willie Dixon for the USA record label in 1963. The session featured Buddy Guy and Big Walter Horton as sidemen, and yielded 4 brilliant songs, including the Dixon-penned “Too Many Cooks”, for which Fortune is best known.
“Too Many Cooks” would later be recorded by Robert Cray, and it has become a highly-covered number among blues bands. After a period of musical inactivity during the 70s and 80s where Jesse supported himself as a barber, his musical career was reactivated with a spectacular 1993 release, Fortune Tellin’ Man, on the Delmark record label, featuring great backing from Dave Specter and his band. Jesse’s recent appearances around Chicago showcased an artist of great ability. He left us doing what he loved, and we will always love him for the great blues he brought us.

Source: Bob Corritore

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