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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Jimmy Jones born 2 June 1937

James "Jimmy" Jones (June 2, 1937 – August 2, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter who moved to New York while a teenager. Best known for his 1960 R&B smash, 'Handy Man,' Jones sang in a smooth yet soulful falsetto modeled on the likes of Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.

Jimmy Jones was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and his first brush with show business was tap dancing, although he got interested in singing through his church. When he was about
twelve, he moved to New York with his older sisters and subsequently attended George Washington High School.

Jones joined a doo-wop group named The Berliners in 1954. They later changed their name to Sparks Of Rhythm. In 1955 he wrote "Handy Man" which was recorded by the Sparks Of Rhythm in 1956 (after Jones left the group).

After recording with other groups, he went solo and in 1959 he teamed up with Otis Blackwell who reworked "Handy Man" which Jones recorded on the MGM record label, Cub subsidiary. When the flute player did not show up for the session, Blackwell whistled on the recording. "Handy Man" went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.

In 1959 the song was released, and Jimmy Jones had his first U.S.
and UK hit single with the free-running, and all-time classic track. Later, in 1960 his recording "Good Timin'", went to Number 1 on the UK Singles Chart and #3 in the U.S. His subsequent career was low key, although it included three more UK chart entries in the following twelve months. That proved to be the full extent of his major commercial success, although he kept recording through most of the '60s. He remained with Cub until 1962, scraping the lower reaches of the charts with "That's When I Cried" and "I Told You So." He recorded for Ro-Jac and Vee Jay over the next two years, and his work gradually took on a New York-style uptown soul flavor. From 1965-1967, he cut sides for Roulette, Parkway, and Bell, none of which restored his commercial standing despite some fine performances. "Handy Man," however, remained an enduring favorite, as Del Shannon and James Taylor each found significant chart success with their own versions.


Although Jones had but two Top 40 hits, both smash million sellers, he was able to keep active in the music industry as both a songwriter and recording artist, making personal appearances when he wanted to. His importance on singing can not be overstated as Del Shannon has cited both Jones and The Ink Spots as an influence. Other singers who later used falsetto included Lou Christie and Barry Gibb, the latter who has cited Shannon in turn as an influence for his disco vocalizations with the Bee Gees.

On April 25, 1985, Jimmy Jones was a member of the "Vintage Doo-Wop Rockers," who recorded Arthur Crier’s "Don’t Let Them Starve" for African famine victims. More recently, Jimmy was part of the famed June 6, 1999 photo session in Harlem.

Jones released Grandma's Rock & Roll Party in the 1990s on CD, perhaps in part to his popularity in the UK Northern Soul

music circle, which included new versions of "Handy Man" and "Good Timin'". In 2002, thanks to Jones' continued popularity on Britain's Northern soul circuit, Castle/Sanctuary issued a double-disc anthology titled Good Timin': The Anthology.
Jimmy Jones had a great voice which gave us some wonderful R&B music, as well as some classic hits from the dawn of the 60s. 

Jimmy Jones died in Aberdeen, North Carolina, on August 2, 2012, aged 75. He is survived by his wife Mattie, two daughters, a son, four grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren.(Info edited from Last fm & Wikipedia)
The only video I can find is this poor quality clip of  a rather energetic Jimmy singing Handy Man.


boppinbob said...

For 2cd of Jimmy Jones "Good Times With The Handy Man" go here:

A big thabnkyou to Marion @ Jukebox City for the links.

boppinbob said...

Here's a few comments from my original "Multiply" post.

Gregory May said...You left out the part where he bacame a cult leader and poisoned all those people via Kool-Aide... HA ha!! Love "Good Timin'"!! 2 June 2008 08:37

Sue Z said...I saw him in person at the Spanish Castle. I remember at the end of his song he did a backflip. Very impressive. 2 June 2008 11:07

Matt Chingduvé said...

Thanks for the Jimmy Jones post. I often wondered why he seemed to have little succeess after his two big hits, and a couple of small hits but that seemed to happen to many artists then. Another one was Johnny Preston, at least here in the UK.