Young Jessie

I'm Gone

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This overview of Young Jessie's Modern recordings has a bunch of his mid-1950s singles, the 1953 "Rabbit on a Log"/"Down at Hayden's" single he did as part of the Hunters (which also included Richard Berry), and a few leftovers that weren't issued until subsequent compilation LPs, as well as a couple of unissued tracks that make their debut here. I'm Gone offers fun, witty, sometimes wise-guy R&B that should appeal to fans of Richard Berry, the Robins, and the early Coasters. Young Jessie had a lower, throatier voice than many of his peers, (but not a worse one), which meshes well with the typically accomplished Modern house band backups led by Maxwell Davis. As is the case with many such compilations of minor R&B/early rock & roll singers from the time, the material could stand to be more diverse. The original version of "Mary Lou," Young Jessie's best and most famous recording, is here in a version that is notably cheerier in melodic structure and delivery than Ronnie Hawkins' subsequent rockabilly hit cover. Leiber-Stoller fans will want to check this out for three of their more obscure tunes: "I Smell a Rat" (originally written for Big Mama Thornton), "Hot Dog" (also done by Elvis Presley, though the Young Jessie version didn't come out until 1982), and "Here Comes Henry" (which Leiber-Stoller co-wrote with G. Motola).

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