Jimmie Osborne (b. James Osborne Jnr., 8 April 1923, Winchester, Kentucky, USA, d. 26 December 1958) was a country singer, songwriter and radio performe. He ranked as one of the more traditional Country singers who achieved popularity in the decade following WWII. Billing himself as the "Kentucky Folk Singer." he was reported to be the highest-paid performer in the radio and television field in Louisville at one time.
A native of Winchester in the bluegrass country of Kentucky, Osborne came from a farm background. When he received a guitar as a gift, the youngster became determined to carve out a musical career. After graduating from high school in 1940, Jimmie married a pretty little blonde by the name of Margaret Lacy. Around the same time, he entered an amateur contest at a nearby high school and won first place, which soon got him a job on WLAP in Lexington, Kentucky.
During the war, Jimmie worked in defence plants but still played music on weekends. About 1945, he went back to WLAP and later sang at stations in Asheville and Texarkana. He came to KWKH Shreveport in 1947 and was a featured vocalist with the Bailes Brothers. He became quite popular and signed with King Records.
His initial release, a Bailes song titled My Heart Echoes, made the Top 10 and helped land him a position back in his home state as performer and deejay at WLEX Lexington. In April 1949, Jimmie wrote and recorded The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus about the
L to R Jimmie Logsdon, Ernest Tubb and Jimmie Osborne
up to the Top 10 and became his biggest seller. (The song has since been successfully recorded by many others, including Howard Vokes and Kitty Wells).
In June 1950, the outbreak of the Korean conflict provided another opportunity for Osborne’s zest for topical material: God Please Protect America, The Voice Of Free America, Thank God For Victory In Korea, The Korean Story, My Prodigal Song, and A Tribute To Robert A. Taft. Some Osborne songs, including A Million People Have Died, dealt with contemporary society while others concerned traditional, romantic themes. He made appearances on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and on WLS Chicago’s National Barn Dance.
Osborne moved to Louisville in 1952, where he opened a record shop and had a popular deejay show at WKLO. Jimmie Logsdon, a contemporary, describes him as extremely popular and well liked by fans in addition to being an excellent salesman. He went over to smaller station WGRC for a time, but had an agreement to return to WKLO.
Osborne suffered bouts of depression and during one of these periods he committed suicide late in 1957. He had continued recording with King through May 1955, leaving a legacy of 66 songs. Jimmie wrote most of his own songs and he wrote for the Lois Music Publishing Company. Many of his recordings appeared on albums released by King in the 60’s and the Dutch firm, Strictly Country, re-issued 15 of his other singles on an album in 1988.
(Info edited from various sources, mainly rocky-52.net & AMG)