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Jesse James

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Deep soul singer Jesse James was born in 1943 in El Dorado, AR, with the handle James McClelland. He moved to the Bay Area while still a child, and came up during the early '60s singing in nightclubs (where his name was changed by an MC who couldn't pronounce his given name). He recorded a few singles for the area labels Shirley and Hit (several with guitar work from Sly Stone), then made the big time when he switched to 20th Century. "Believe in Me Baby, Pt. 1" was a modest pop and R&B hit during 1967, and his self-titled debut LP followed the next year. His biggest hit, 1970's "Don't Nobody Want to Get Married, Pt. 2," reached the R&B Top 20 for the ZEA label, and he continued recording during the '70s and '80s for T.T.E.D. and Gunsmoke. The latter was the label for full-lengths like 1988's I Can Do Bad by Myself and 1993's Operator Please Put Me Through. ~ John Bush

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