The Forgotten Troubadour: Omo The Hobo From Fayette, Michigan 1917-1996
He was known as “Omo the Hobo”, “Omo the Lobo”, and “Smiley Joe Omohundro” but his real name was Wellman W. Mohundro (he added an extra "O" to his last name) from Delta County in the Upper Peninsula. To be exact, he was from the town of Fayette, which is now a popular Michigan Ghost Town. 'Omo' made his living making party (adult) records with all sorts of titles that had double entendre's. Omo made other recordings as well that were more suitable for wider audiences, but his dirty records are the ones he became most famous for.
According to rocknrollgraffiti, Omo was born on October 13, 1917, he grew up on a Fayette farm, and served during WWII. After the war, what could he do to make a living – his mark in the world? He figured singing and making music might be a good gig, but what would his style be? Sinatra? Bing? He admired Woody Guthrie, whose songs mirrored the life of a hobo and transient traveler.
From 1948 on, he traveled all over America – some say he eventually made it to all 50 states – singing hobo and folk songs, many written by himself and other singer/songwriters as well. For about 20 years he toured the country singing his hobo songs, but in the late 60s he took a different turn: recording risque' adult albums that sold for four bucks a piece (the covers of some of his albums aren't printable here).
With that success, he then tried his hand at songs for kids and teenagers, including "Teenagers Hall" in 1973.
Omo performed his songs any place that would let him: bars, clubs, receptions, etc. Other songs in his repertoire were:
“Broke Today Tomorrow Too”
“I Had a Country Breakfast – a Roll in Bed with Honey”
“I'm a Cotton-Pickin' Chicken Plucker”
"I'm Just a Hick From the Sticks"
“She Sits On My Lap and Bawls”
"Vitamin Juice Puts Lead in My Snoot"
...and many, many more.
In the 1980s Omo retired and settled down in Escanaba...but he wasn't done. He'd show up downtown on many occasions and perform near the local record shop and at the shopping center.
He passed away in 1996 at a home for veterans in Marquette. You can find a good number of his recordings and memorabilia online!
Michigan's Forgotten Troubadour: Omo The Hobo
MORE MICHIGAN CHARACTERS!