Jess Hooper:
Reclusive Rockabilly

(From the German Wikipedia site:)

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 were 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.  

Then he moved to Texas, where he 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 Jackson, Mississippi.

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.

Jess 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 interview with him.


Unreleased songs from the Meteor sessions:
(From the Ace CD booklet:)

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

Who Am I

Please contact me if you have any further information about Jess Hooper and his music.

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