Jim Little had struck up a chance friendship
with two of the Checkmates, Dave and George Sweetman- Emile Ford's
step-brothers, no less. The fact that he could sing soon came
to the attention of Emile who encouraged Jimmy to form his own
group and join the coffee bar circuit. Emile also suggested entering
the same talent competetion that he had himself previously won.
This led, as it had done for Emile, to an opportunity to record
with the Pye record company and with Emile's help on production
his first single "I Understand Just How You Feel" was
released. This was credited to 'Jimmy Justice and Jury' although
the backing musicians were really the Checkmates.
Pye tried again with more singles and
the pop wizard, Tony Hatch, was brought in to do the production.
Jimmy's third release didn't quite reach the charts but did sell
well and it's surprisingly easy to find a copy. This song was
a cover of the Jarmels' "Little Bit Of Soap" and could
be viewed now as a template for what was to come. Hatch chose
the Drifters' "When My Little Girl Is Smiling" next-
which on the face of it was a hopeless cause- being up against
not only the original, but also another well made cover from
the established British star, Craig Douglas. Nevertheless, the
Justice version managed to share the honours of a #9 chart entry
with the more experienced Craig.
The next release produced Jimmy's biggest
UK success, "Ain't That Funny". It was a song that
had been written by Les Vandyke and Justice was presumably lucky
that the song had come to him rather than Eden Kane with whom
the songwriter was closely associated at the time. After this
splendid original, it was back to the US group catalogue with
"Spanish Harlem", which turned out to be Jimmy's final
UK chart entry. Sadly, the choice of Jimmy's following material
was really not good enough for the competitive UK market. He
had a little more luck on continental Europe and in Scandinavia,
where the B-sides of some of his releases proved popular- and
probably should have previously been released at home as the
A-sides. As a result of his disappointment in the UK, Jimmy spent
the following years in Sweden and his promising beginnings in
the UK were allowed to fade away.