Rosa Lee Brooks – My Diary / Utee

16th May 2024 · 1960s, 1965, Music, Soul

There’s a couple of special things about this steamy Northern Soul double-header by Rosa Lee Brooks. Firstly, the A-side – My Diary – is written and produced by Arthur Lee of Love; and secondly, the guitarist playing those familiar-sounding licks is a young “Jimmy” Hendrix.

Rosa Lee (no relation) insists it was recorded in 1964, which could make it Jimi’s debut on disc, though it’s more likely to have been recorded the following year.

Hendrix had been touring with Little Richard and took a break in LA, where he met Rosa Lee at an Ike and Tina Turner show.

During their fleeting romance Rosa persuaded her friend Billy Revis, who owned a small studio and record label in LA to let them cut this single together, taking her friend Arthur Lee along to produce the session and sing backing vocals.

His voice can clearly be heard on the record and Hendrix is already producing his signature sound, including a searing guitar break on the B-side, an urgent soul stomper called Utee that was written in the studio (and which borrows fairly openly from The In Crowd).

Rosa Lee always insisted she wrote My Diary with Hendrix, though the songwriting credit on the label goes to Arthur Lee, who formed Love – or the group that became Love – just a few months later.

For his part, Hendrix struggled along in New York for another year or so until he crossed paths with Animals bassist Chas Chandler, who took him to London and helped make him a star… make that superstar.

Rosa Lee Brooks apparently kept on singing but this seems to be her only release.