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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: Chicago Is Just That Way

Disc 1

2. When Things Go Wrong With You

3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

4. That's Her Own Business

5. 1950 Blues

6. It's Good Like That

7. Love Her With A Feelin

8. New Deal Blues

9. Don't Blame Shorty For That

10. Sweet Little Angel

11. She's Dynamite

12. Pretty Baby Blues

13. Early In The Morning

14. Boogie Woogie Woman

15. I Won't Let Her Do It

16. Green And Lucky Blues

17. I'm Gonna Put You Down

18. But I Forgive You

19. Too Late Too Long

20. I'll Never Let You Go

21. Got A Mind To Leave This Town

22. Please Mr. Doctor

23. I Should Have Loved Her More

24. So Crazy About You Baby

Disc 2

1. Kidman Blues

2. Bedroom Blues

3. Buzz Me

7. Evil Hearted Woman Blues

8. (Now I) Got The Blues

9. Don't Ration My Love

10. Mistake In Life

11. Grinder Man Blues

12. Roll Dem Bones

13. My Woman's A Pearl Diver

15. Mean Red Spider

16. Jitterbug Blues

17. Hard Day Blues

18. Burying Ground Blues

19. Horse Shoe Boogie

20. Ruby Moore Blues

23. That's All Right

24. The Blues What Am

25. I Ain't Done Nothing Wrong

26. Going Down Slow

27. Stockyard Blues

28. Keep What You Got

Disc 3

1. Jivin' Boogie

2. Brown Skin Woman

3. 5 Foot 4 Gal

4. I've Done You Wrong

5. Worried Man Blues

6. Money Taking Woman

9. Blue Monday Blues

10. Lowland Blues

11. Savoy Boogie

12. Candy Man Blues

13. Why Should I Cry

14. Hard Times

15. School Days

17. Telephone Blues

18. Little Store Blues

19. Lovin' Man Blues

20. One Doggone Reason

21. Coming Up Fast

23. I Want My Baby

24. Let Me Ride Your Mule

25. My Baby Walked Out

26. Chicago Is Just That Way

27. I Love My Whiskey

Disc 4

1. Look What You Are Today

2. A Lie Is Dangerous

3. Hand Me Down My Walking Cane

4. Big City Blues

5. Do You Remember

6. Just Tell Me Baby

7. One Sunday Morning

8. That's All Right

9. I'm In Love

10. Boogie Man

11. It Keeps Rainin'

12. Boogy Fool

13. Raisin' Sand

14. Why Did I Make You Cry

15. Kidman Blues

16. Ludella

17. Boll Weevil

18. Red Headed Woman

19. Rollin' And Tumblin' Part 1

20. Rollin' And Tumblin' Part 2

21. Bad Acting Woman

22. Just Keep Loving Her

23. Wine-O-Woman

24. Crawlin' King Snake

25. Leavin' Day

26. Southbound Train

27. (I'm Gonna) Dig Myself A Hole

28. Dust My Broom

x

Track List: Devil's Jump-Indie Label Blues 1946-1957

Disc 1

1. Horse Shoe Boogie

2. Ruby Moore Blues

3. Little Mary

4. Cheatin' Around

9. Stomp Boogie

13. Black Man Blues

15. Forgive Me Darling

Disc 2

3. New Little Girl, Little Girl

4. Nightmare Blues

5. Late Last Night

6. Lend Me Your Love

7. Pacemaker Boogie

8. Wandering Blues

9. Don't Go Baby

10. Slim's Boogie

11. A Letter Home

14. Down At The Depot

15. Alabama Boogie

17. Do It No More

18. Gonna Hop On Down The Line

19. Do Right

20. Something's Wrong With My Little Machine

22. Hello Miss Jessie Lee

23. Dealing With The Devil

Disc 3

1. Low Land Blues

2. Round The World Boogie

4. It's My Time To Go

5. Devil's Jump

6. I'm Gonna Kill That Woman

7. Stop Messing Around

8. Pet Milk Blues

9. Moaning Blues

10. The Numbers

11. Root Hog

14. (Sometimes I Feel Like A) Motherless Child

15. Life Is Like That

17. In My Father's House

19. Side Walk Boogie

22. Door Bell Blues

23. Why'd You Do It

24. Boogie Baby

Disc 4

4. I Believe I'll Go Downtown Again

5. Dixie Flyer

7. Midnight Jump

10. Heart Trouble Blues

11. Slim's Stomp

19. I'm A Boogie Man

20. My Baby Left Me

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