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Young Jessie: Hit, Git And Split

Tough R&B shouter’s 1950s Modern label recordings.

Los Angeles-based Obediah Jessie produced some of the wildest R&B of the 50s, kicking off his solo career in 1954 with a crazed cover of I Smell A Rat, penned by Leiber and Stoller for Big Mama Thornton, that outdoes the original.

Jessie had previously sung baritone in The Flairs, a vocal group with Louie Louie originator Richard Berry, who were renamed The Hunters for the unhinged doo-wop Rabbit On A Log, one of two Hunters tracks included. Other highlights here include the Little Richard-styled rock’n’roll of Hit, Git And Split from 1956, recorded while on tour in New York with Mickey Baker on guitar, and Jessie’s 1955 west coast hit Mary Lou, a rocking R&B classic. Jessie left Modern in 1957; since then he has sung with The Coasters, recorded for Atlantic and appeared with Big Boy Bloater in London in 2013. Essential!