San Francisco Bay Blues
The Lone Cat Sings and Plays Jazz, Folk Songs, Spirituals and Blues
"Jesse "the Lone Cat" Fuller" (1896-January 30, 1976) was a once well-known American one-man-band musician, best known for his song "San Francisco Bay Blues". He was born in Jonesboro, Georgia near Atlanta. He was sent by his mother to live with foster parents when he was a young child, in a rural setting where he was badly mistreated. Growing up, he worked a multitude of jobs: grazing cows for ten cents a day, working in a barrel factory, a broom factory, a rock quarry, on a railroad and a streetcar company, shining shoes, and even peddling hand-carved wooden snakes.
He came west and in the 1920s worked briefly as a movie extra in ''The Thief of Bagdad'' and ''East of Suez''. Eventually he settled in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, where he worked for the Southern Pacific railroad. During World War II, he worked as a shipyard welder, but when the war ended he found it increasingly difficult to find work, especially because of being black. Around the early 1950s, Fuller's thoughts turned toward the possibility of making a living playing music.