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Monday, February 3, 2014

Young Jessie's Transphobic 45 RPM Record


Okay, you're wondering....who the hell is Young Jessie? (You may also be wondering why you might care, but hey, this is a queer music history blog). Obe Jessie is the real name for an artist who got a lot more attention, and a long career, as Young Jessie. Go to Youtube and search that name and you'll find pages of songs. In the 1950's he was with the well-respected group The Flairs, and stepped in briefly as a member of the Coasters around 1957 ("Searchin'" and "Young Blood"). Just after that he had his main claim to fame for his song "Mary Lou," covered with much success by Ronnie Hawkins, in 1959, and others.

But then what? Well, not too much until the 1980's when his records began being reissued in Europe and there was demand for his performances there. However the focus of this blog entry is a song he released in 1972 that is quite transphobic. Produced by Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, it appears it was Young Jessie's last single release, and is only widely available now (as a download) as it was part of a compilation CD of Williams' productions.

And, as you can see, it was not released as by Young Jessie, but under his real name, Obe Jessie. I wonder what prompted that change? When you have a "name" in show business, why use another unless you were unsure of the material or knew it was an outspoken release. And that description fits for this one.

Above is the 45, and below a sample of the lyrics...

"Somebody please tell me what kind of world are we living in 
where boys want to be girls, good God, and woman, she want to be men....
who's the blame?" 

It continues on that path, and you can hear it...

As Young Jessie he's still performing. Below is a poster with cool retro artwork for a November 2013 show in London.

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