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Jimmie Gordon

As is the case with so many African-American musicians who were active during the first half of the 20th century, Chicago blues singer and pianist Jimmie Gordon languished in posthumous obscurity for years and was subsequently "rediscovered," which in his case meant having his legacy tangled up in erroneous and inconclusive information. He is believed to have been born in the year 1906, but the claim that he originated in St. Louis is almost certainly traceable to a fabricated reference stemming from the fact that his recording of "Bed Springs Blues" was released by Decca as the flip side of a tune played by St. Louis bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw ("The Devil's Son-in-Law") with the phrase "Peetie Wheatstraw's Brother" printed on the label after Gordon's name. This marketing gimmick gave rise to all kinds of theories as to Gordon's heredity and origins. There is no evidence that he had anything to do with St. Louis, and the only direct link he had with Wheatstraw was their collaboration during a session that took place in October 1938 with guitarist Lonnie Johnson.

Jimmie Gordon, who had a hit with his October 1936 recording of "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water," was active on the Chicago blues scene throughout the decade leading up to the Second World War, and is known to have recorded 67 titles between 1934 and 1946, all of which have been reissued on compact disc by the Document label. Gordon was a passable pianist who sang with all his heart in a warm and convincing voice. His approach to putting over a song was similar to that of Leroy Carr, Big Bill Broonzy, Tampa Red, Big Maceo Merriweather, and Bumble Bee Slim, a guitarist with whom he recorded as both pianist and vocalist. Gordon's groups, sometimes billed as the Vip Vop Band, were fortified by the presence of string players Scrapper Blackwell and the brothers Charlie and Joe McCoy, as well as members of the Harlem Hamfats, pianist Sam Price, and several heroes of the New York jazz scene including trumpeter Frankie Newton, alto saxophonist Pete Brown, and drummer Zutty Singleton.

With the exception of one Bluebird side at the very beginning of his discography, all of Gordon's pre-WWII recordings appeared on the Decca label. Four titles, played by a modern-sounding R&B unit he called the Bip Bop Band, were released on the King and Queen labels in 1946. The Jimmie Gordon story, for all intents and purposes, ends with these jump blues records, and nothing is known of his fate afterwards. A rumor that he lived into the 1990s and died in Nevada was accidentally generated and spread over the Internet by a loose reference to vocalist Jimmy Gordon, a member of the Four Tunes, a vocal group formed during the 1940s and disbanded nearly 50 years later in Carson City, NV. ~ arwulf arwulf
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Jimmie Gordon Vol. 3 (1939-1946)

1. Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter

2. Delhia

3. Do That Thing

4. The Mojo Blues

5. St. Peter Blues

6. If The Walls Could Talk

7. Nobody Knows The Trouble I See

8. The Boogie Man

9. Ease It To Me

10. Henpecked Man

11. Trigger Slim Blues

12. (Roll 'Em Dorothy) Let 'Em Jump For Joy

13. L & N Blues

14. Boogie Woogie Blues

15. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

16. Daddy Bear Blues

17. Lookin' For The Blues

18. Beer Drinking Woman

19. I'm Gonna Cut Out

20. Rock That Boogie

21. Fast Life

22. It Ain't Like That No More

23. Jumpin' At The Club Blue Flame

x

Track List: Jimmie Gordon Vol. 1 (1934-1936)

1. Neck Bone Blues

2. Louise, Louisa Blues

3. Bye Bye Baby Blues

4. Mean Mistreatin' Blues

5. Yo Yo Mama Blues

6. Bed Springs Blues

7. Black Gal Blues (What Makes Your Head So Hard)

8. Gone Gal Blues

9. Drive Me Away Blues

10. Graveyad Blues (Dead And Gone Blues)

11. Bed Springs Blues No. 2

12. Soon In The Morning

13. I'll Take You Back

14. Little Red Dress (Mary Usta Wear)

15. Big Four Whistle Blues

16. Sweet Jelly Rollin'

17. Baker Man

18. Drunken Woman Blues

19. Don't Take Away My P.W.A.

20. She Sells Good Meat

21. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water

22. Mother Blues

x

Track List: Jimmie Gordon Vol. 2 (1936-1938)

1. Jacksonville - Part 1

2. Jacksonville - Part 2

3. Think You Need A Shot

4. C.C. & St. Louis Blues

5. Playing In The Grass

6. You're Bound To Look Like A Monkey (When You Get Old)

7. Good As I Been To You

8. Rattlesnake Bite

9. I Believe I Been Hoodooed

10. She Wants To Rattle Me All The Time

11. Plenty Trouble On Your Hand

12. Crying My Blues Away

13. Fast Life

14. Sail With Me

15. Lonesome Bedroom Blues

16. Alberta Alberta

17. She's Doin' It Now

18. Keep Your Nose Out Of Other People's Business

19. Bleeding Heart Blues

20. Number Runner's Blues

21. Me And My Gin

22. Whip It To A Jelly

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