(From the German
Jess Hooper was born in Marks, Mississippi and initially played in a
country band, although he was more interested in the blues.
In Clarksdale, Mississippi, he appeared in local events and on radio
shows. After he was unable to get an audition with
Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, Hooper came to the attention of
Lester Bihari of Meteor Records, who signed him to a
contract. The studio band included Doug Cox of the
Daydreamers on guitar, along with several musicians from Doug
Poindexter's Starlight Wranglers. The group recorded a
number tracks, of which only All Messed Up
and Sleepy Time Blues
issued in December 1955 on Meteor 5025. Following the
release of this single, Hooper remained in Memphis for about a year and
played in the area.
briefly worked as a musician and then retired
from the music business. In the following
years, Hooper was married and moved several times. Later he settled in
Jess Hooper was later diagnosed with cancer and
passed away in Shepherd, Texas circa 2002.
In the 1960's, the Meteor single was published again (illegally) by the
bootlegger Lee Johansson on the fictional Cherry label (Cherry
602). The Rockabilly Revival has seen the Hooper
songs released on various reissues.
Hooper remained undetected for years, and because of the similarity of
his sound to Charlie Feathers, during the rockabilly revival there was
a rumor that Hooper was only a pseudonym for Feathers. Feathers himself
neither confirmed nor denied it.
The existence of
Hooper was finally resolved in 1984 when music journalist Billy Miller
of Kicks Magazine
(published by Norton Records) located Hooper in Texas and conducted an
CLICK HERE TO READ THE JESS
Unreleased songs from the Meteor sessions:
(From the Ace CD booklet:)
Think My Baby’s Gone
Am a Sinner
I met Jess Hooper in Cleveland,
Texas during the late 1980's.
Here are some MP3 files of songs from a cassette tape that he produced
in his home studio:
Martin Chevrolet Song
Star Light, Star Bright
Please contact me
if you have any further information about Jess Hooper and his music.
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