Young Jessie

Young Jessie was born Obediah Donnell "Obie" Jessie on December 28, 1936 in the African American enclave of Lincoln Manor in Dallas, Texas to a musical mother who was related to Blind Lemon Jefferson (his brother became an actor, playing Otis Day in the hit movie "Animal House). The family moved to Los Angeles and there Young Jessie met Richard "Louie Louie" Berry. They formed the Flairs and released their first single in 1953 with "She Wants to Rock", beginning a string of releases on Flair. Solo success arrived for Jessie when his cover of "I Smell a Rat" (a hit for Big Mama Thornton) hit the charts.

He wrote "Mary Lou" the same year, attracting Ronnie Hawkins, whose version hit the charts in 1959. It was eventually covered by Steve Miller Band, Bob Seger, Gene Clark and The Oblivians. He followed it up with "Hit, Git and Split" and "Oochie Coochie" before reverting to his vocal-group roots, joining the Coasters in 1957. Over the years Jessie recorded under several sobriquets and in various genres, including Obie Jesse and Obe Jessie and The Seeds of Freedom for Swamp Dogg's Stone Dogg Records.

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