Georgia singer Jimmy Braswell (or Jimmie on the Gene sides) only made a handful of 45s but their quality was so high that every one is eagerly sought by discerning soul fans. Braswell is a true deep soul hero. It’s difficult to date some of his singles but aurally his first releae would appear to be the initial Gene 45. Judging by the style of the uptempo side “Some Changes Made” I’d put this as a mid-60s cut. The deep side One More Chance is a fine piece of classic 12/8 balladry, right down to arpeggio guitar and well-mixed horns. Braswell had an attractive light baritone voice onto which he grafted some real grit at the moments in the song he really wished to emphasise. Clarence Murray’s cut of this song came out on SSS Int in ’68, but certainly sounds as if it was a later recording.
Braswell’s Quinvy 45, “Hand Shaking” and Home For The Summer is an acknowledged classic. Both sides been previously recorded by Don Varner before Braswell recut them in March 1970 and they were issued as Quinvy 7004 later on that year. “Hand Shaking” has the same mid-tempo, broken rhythm as Varner’s cut but the later recording, in keeping with the times, is much more restrained. The dead slow “Home For The Summer” is my preferred side, and Jimmy’s well judged vocal is quite appropriate to the song’s wistful yearnings.
Braswell’s second Gene 45, which found it’s way onto King is the best record he ever made. If “Your Love Is Out Of Reach” is very good, I Can’t Give You My Heart is something else. Taken at a funereal pace, with tasteful fills from guitar and piano, and featuring a horn section in the grand manner, it was released in 1971, much too late for widespread commercial success. Particularly in view of the astonishing intensity of the vocal, as Braswell gives a throat-tearing, rasping delivery of great passion, complete with some thrilling screams at the song's climax - a style of performance that rivals Pickett's performances in Alabama studios. It may well have been cut in Macon - although there are many similarities of approach with ZZ Hill's Muscle Shoals cut "Home just ain't home at suppertime" - but it really is a record that transcends time and location. My guess is that this disc would figure in the top 10 of every deep soul fan in the world. A truly great single.
The Jar-Val 45 Time Waits For No Man is likely to have been his last release, and again it’s a cracking 45 which in another singer’s CV would be a standout. Like the Gene/King It may well have been cut in Macon, but sounds uncannily like a Muscle Shoals recording. I could swear that the superbly judged “liquid” guitar fills come from the gifted fingers of Pete Carr for example. This delicately arranged ballad, with it’s fine horn lines will always be a personal fave.
UPDATE ~ Tony Rounce writes to say that during his research at Fame studios for Ace records "I found an artist contract for Jimmy Braswell. It was a very short lived contract, issued in March 1969 for the term of one year (and a minimum of 6 sides) and cancelled in September. During that time, the only two sides that were recorded at FAME studios were “I Can’t Give You My Heart” and “Your Love Is Just Out Of Reach”. The masters were given to Jimmy on the cancellation of his contract, and it can therefore be assumed that these are the same recordings that appeared on both Gene and King." Tony also sent me the wonderful picture of Jimmy that you can now see on this page. I'm really grateful to Tony for taking the time/trouble to write with this astonishing news.
One more chance /
Some changes made ~ Gene 220/1
Hand shaking / Home for the summer ~ Quinvy 7004 (1970)
I can't give you my heart / Your love is out of reach ~ Gene 222/223 & King 6374 (1971)
Time waits for no man / This time it's for real ~ Jar-Val 15