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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Jimmy Reed born 6 September 1925

Mathis James "Jimmy" Reed (September 6, 1925 - August 29, 1976) was an American blues singer notable for bringing his distinctive style of blues to mainstream audiences. Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries. His lazy, slack-jawed singing, piercing harmonica and hypnotic guitar patterns were one of the blues most easily identifiable sounds in the 1950s and 1960s.                                                                                                                           
Reed was born in Dunleith, Mississippi in 1925, learning the harmonica and guitar from Eddie Taylor, a close friend. After spending several years busking and performing in the area, Reed moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1943 before being drafted into the
United States Navy during World War II. In 1945, Reed was discharged and moved back to Mississippi for a brief period, marrying his girlfriend, Mary "Mama" Reed, before moving to Gary, Indiana to work at an Armour & Co. meat packing plant.
By the 1950s, Reed had established himself as a popular musician and joined the "Gary Kings" with John Brim, as well as playing on the street with Willie Joe Duncan. Reed failed to gain a recording contract with Chess Records, but then signed with Vee-Jay Records through Brim's drummer, Albert King. At Vee-Jay, Reed began playing again with Eddie Taylor and soon released "You Don't Have To Go", his first hit record. This was followed by a long string of hits. Reed maintained his reputation, in spite of rampant alcoholism. Sometimes, his wife had to help him remember the lyrics to his songs while performing.

In about 1957, Reed was diagnosed as having epilepsy. Seizures were rare at first, but as the years went by, the attacks became more frequent. This, however, did not stop him from touring. In 1963, he made his first tour to England and appeared on the pop music show, "Ready, Steady, Go" on BBC-TV. 

In spite of his numerous hits, Reed's personal problems prevented him from achieving the same level of fame as other popular blues artists of the time, though he had more hit songs than many others.  Reed's recording career with Vee Jay Records ended in 1964. While with Vee Jay, he recorded 14 albums and had many hit singles,
mostly on the Race Music and R&B charts. In 1964, he recorded an album on Vidid, and it was released in 1965. He recorded an album on ABC Bluesway in 1966. He returned to England in 1968 and toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. After that, he became quite ill and his performances were almost non-existent for a couple of years.
Reed resumed playing and recording in 1970. He went on tour with Clifton Chenier and made a record on the Roker label in Chicago. He recorded for the Blues On Blues label in 1971, for the Magic label out of Chicago in 1972, and again on ABC Bluesway in 1973. Reed made several recordings on ABC Bluesway during the next year. He continued to tour, but slowed way down during the next couple of years. On August 29, 1976 in Oakland, California, while on tour, Jimmy suffered an epileptic seizure. He died in his sleep of respiratory failure. Jimmy was buried at the Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.

Reed's music will live on. His style and songs are a major influence on many of today's Blues musicians. He was a great singer / songwriter / guitarist / harp player, and he will be remembered among the Blues greats! (info various, mainly Wikipedia)

 Blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player Jimmy Reed performs on a low budget local TV program in Houston, Texas on December 4, 1975.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

F or The Very Best of Jimmy Reed go here
01. High and Lonesome
02. You Don't Have to Go
03. Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
04. I Ain't Got You
05. You Got Me Dizzy
06. Little Rain
07. Honest I Do
08. Odds and Ends
09. Ends and Odds
10. Going to New York
11. Take Out Some Insurance
12. Baby, What You Want Me to Do
13. Hush Hush
14. Big Boss Man
15. Bright Lights, Big City
16. Oh John
17. Shame, Shame, Shame
Jimmy Reed (vocal, guitar, harmonica)
Mama Reed (vocals)
Henry Gray (piano)
Milton Rector, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed Jr. (bass)
Albert King, Morris Wilkerson, Vernell Fournier, Earl Phillips, Al Duncan (drums)
John Brim, Eddie Taylor, John Littlejohn, W.C. Dalton, Remo Biondi, Lefty Bates, Phil Upchurch, Lonnie "Lee Baker" Brooks (guitar)

Recorded between 1953 & 1963. Includes liner notes by Cub Koda, Steve Woolard.