It must have been 1982 when I was watching the aforementioned Night Flight cable program which, as we discussed, could show anything. The “Take Off” segment showed clips of a couple of videos by Jesse Rae; a Scot with an unexpected penchant for synth-funk. The clips of videos I saw that night have haunted me ever since and the records have been in my want lists for years. I can’t say I’ve ever seen them in a store.
Jesse Rae: D-E-S-I-R-E – UK – 12″ 
- Desire [12″ version]
- Sky Diver
“D-E-S-I-R-E” felt almost like Todd Rundgren at his funkiest fronting for DEVO. With Rae impressively emoting and ad-libbing for the duration of this incessant, upbeat grove. Which sort of made sense, Rae was another all-in-one studio wunderkind who, just like Rundgren often did, played every note on this track as well as co-produced it. And like Rundgren, he also directed the video, which also looked like the sort of thing that Rundgren also issued at the same time. Heavily steeped in bleeding edge video tech.
The backstory of Rae is fascinating. The Scot initially came to The States to work in the New York Stock Exchange as a runner, but he gravitated to studio work in Cleveland and Los Angeles. In CLE he ran into many P-Funk related artists such as Worrell and Roger Troutman and he struck up musical friendships that lasted for the rest of those artists’ lives.
The Space Cadets: The Space Cadets – US – LP 
- Let’s Pump It Up
- You Make Me Wanna Do It
- I Love What You’re Doing To Me
- Loveslave [Nose job]
- Make Me Funk [Fonkin’ Straight Ahead]
- I Might Be Crazy [But I Ain’t No Fool]
- Your Mother
1981 also saw Rae form a band with Worrell and other sessions dogs he was gigging with like Kevin Goins, and Nairobi Sailcat. They were called The Space Cadets and they had one album [reissued on the silver disc in 1999] on the Vanguard label. The cover art definitely references Pedro Bell’s cartoon funk covers from many a P-Funk release.
Jesse Rae: Rusha – US – 12″ 
- Desire [12″ version]
The next year he released a US 12″ with a new song on its A-side, as co-written with…Bernie Worrell! So it’s an insanely heavy funk groove! We could happily buy every record Mr. Worrell ever played on and that would be a noble goal.
1982 also saw Rae writing a hit for US soul band Odyssey with the track “Inside Out.” But at the time I never heard that, having left commercial radio behind. After we flash forward eight years, I would hear this smoky number in 1990 when Electribe 101 covered it on their crucial “Electribal Memories” album, where they performed it with lusciously downtempo electronics backing the incredible Billie Ray Martin. So obviously, Jesse Rae had the goods!
Jesse Rae: Over The Sea – UK – 12″ 
- Over The Sea
- Party Crackers
- Over The Sea [ext. inst. ver.]
The last song from the 80s I ran into is probably Rae’s calling card. The clip he made for “Over The Sea” [also co-written with Worrell] was one that got a reasonable amount of play on various outlets. It was there where Rae developed his highlander with claymore visual persona he’s had ever since. If you’ve ever heard Rae, chances are this was the occasion. It’s less funky than most of this other material, being more of a Synthpop persuasion.
What has been on my want list for many years now is the 2012 CD that Rae released with these and many other tracks in its playlist. Everything I mentioned here [except for the Space Cadets material] is present and accounted for. The tough part is sourcing one of these since the artist issued it on his own label in a run of 500 copies a decade ago. Copies over on this side of the Atlantic are hard to scare up, so I may have to pony up for international postage. If I ever want that stone cold groove of “Rusha” in my Record Cell, that is!