JIMMIE GOODEN, This Is The Night/ Needing Your Love

cf-113-acf-113-bThis 45 has been in my possession for quite some time and I never knew anything about it. From looking at the label, Crossfire Records from Southern California seems to have been a tiny regional label with a typical feature being the bold, but very effective hand-made logo. The A-Side was incorrectly printed The Is The Night and then corrected by hand with a pen. The most striking thing was, that I couldn´t really categorize the music. Since I bought it in a Berlin thrift store, it has always puzzled me, but whenever I tried to find some information about Jimmie Goodin or Crossfire Records on the Internet, nothing turned up. Until recently. When I once again casually googled his name, this obituary appeared:

James Wilbert Gooden
February 16th, 1933 – January 20th, 2013

James Wilbert Gooden was born on February 16, 1933, in Columbus Ohio, to Loyes Gooden-Pitman and Tom Pitman.

In 1952 he left Columbus, Ohio and moved to San Diego, CA where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When he arrived in San Diego he joined the “Old Jackson Memorial “ Church of God In Christ and was a flag carrier in the dedication of the “Greater Jackson Memorial” Church of God in Christ, under the pasturage of the Late Bishop J.A. Blake Sr.

James united in marriage to Bernice Emery. To this union 6 children were born.

For 40 years he was owner operator of Gooden Janitorial Services. Over this period he employed his children, family members and several friends and taught them all the “meaning of hard work”.

Beyond his Janitorial business he was also a singer in the likes of Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole. He enjoyed singing their specific songs as part of his stage performance in both San Diego and Las Vegas venues. He also recorded 2 records; “This Is The Night” and “Needing Your Love”. He was quietly proud of this God given talent.

In his later years, he was unable to attend church and he found great solace in Television ministry. Some of his favorite ministers included Bishop T.D. Jakes.

James departed this life on Sunday, January 20, 2013.

He leaves to mourn his home going, 3 daughters, 3 sons, 14 grandchildren, 3
sisters and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to remember his life.


The obituary just mentions this 45, so apparently it was the only one James Gooden ever recorded. The Crossfire label´s biggest claim to fame seems to have been the fact that they distributed the wild garage punk 45  Music b/w Do You Believe Me by Byron and the Mortals on the Xpreshun label.  Do You Believe was re-released on Pebbles #9 in 1980 and on Crypt Records Teenage Shutdown Series #4 in 1998. Two more 45s released by the Crossfire label from Lake Elsinore, located halfway in-between Los Angeles and San Diego, can be found on Youtube: Crossfire #105, Roy and Georgia and the So and So´s Devil Get Away From Me b/w  Looking Up and Crossfire #106, Leo Senay Livin´Like A Bum b/w Let´s Not Think Of Tomorrow. Both 45s, recorded sometime in the mid-60s, are weird home-grown Hillbilly music.

Jimmie Gooden´s two self-written songs are both great. The A-Side This Is The Night is a saxophone and trumpet driven, up-tempo pop tune. But the B-Side Needing Your Love is truly wonderful! A dramatic flute and cymbals introduce the song, a haunting guitar and trumpet carries it through and James Gooden´s vocals tenderly communicate his desire. It´s all sort of jazz-tinged, especially the Herbie Mann-style flute, and I wonder who´s  the backing band.  There´s no trace of Todd Sanders & The Naturals anywhere on the Internet yet. Was it this Charles “Todd” Sanders? And who was Edna Grimes, who produced these songs?

I can also only speculate why these beautiful songs have never been reissued in 50 years. Maybe it was because, for something recorded in the mid-60s, This Is The Night sounds very much like it was made in the 50s. The songs fall in-between: they´re not quite pure enough for fans of the 1950s and not groovy enough for the 60s. They´re not Rhythm & Blues, Soul or Jazz. They´re just great pop songs.

JIMMIE GOODEN, This Is The Night

JIMMIE GOODEN, Needing Your Love

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