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I don't care what people are thinking. I ain't drunk, I'm just drinking - Albert Collins, I Ain't Drunk

Author Topic: Jimmy Reed  (Read 1465 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Jimmy Reed
« on: February 09, 2011, 11:13:01 AM »
Jimmy Reed seems to have struck a chord (ouch) with some folk here so thought I'd post this. Scanned from Jazz Beat, December 1964 (p.13 less photo) For those who are unaware On 10 September 1964 Jimmy Reed reached  no. 48 in the British pop charts with Shame, Shame, Shame. On the back of that success he was brought over to Britain and on 30 October commenced his tour with an appearance on live TV (Ready Steady Go) which also featured Sugar Pie Desanto and The Dixie Cups.

ON THE ROAD
WITH REED
By Derek Kells

JIMMY Reed a unique star of the folk blues world and recently a British chartmaker with "Shame Shame Shame". had been doing one night stands all over the country for some fifteen days before I eventually arranged a meeting with him at his London hotel. Over a couple of cool beers he told me briefly about his early childhood.

"I was born in the state of Mississippi on September 6th 1925 on a little farm at Leland, where I worked with my mother and father for sixteen years, until I left home to live with my older brother ,m Chicago. I could already play the guitar by this time and although it was only for amusement I used to derive great pleasure from  little knowing that one day it would provide me with a comfortable living."

"I suppose I must have had a succession of jobs in those early days, ranging from Coalman to Junk collector when I had my own business, before I joined the Navy. It wasn't until I was discharged from the Navy, for medical reasons that I met King Davis James who taught me how to play the harmonica. In return I gave King James guitar lessons until we were both quite proficient on either instrument. This led to a recording session for Vivian Carter, a disk jockey at the time, and her boyfriend Jimmy Bracket, I cut a record for them and the Veejay Record Co. was born the name derived from both Vivian and Jimmy's initials. This my first ever record was called "High And Lonesome" and it was coupled with "Rolling Rumba".

Just then, we had to stop because Jimmy's driver was at the door, it was time for him and the boys to leave for the evening engagement at Southsea. So determined not to lose him now, I decided to accompany him to the coast. Once again when we were settled in the car Jimmy continued:

"Well after this first record was released I got together a group with Eddie Taylor, Lefty Bates and Philip Upchurch on guitar and Earl Philips on drums. I should also mention my son Jimmy Reed Jr. as since the age of twelve he has helped me on all of my records bar the first one 'High And Lonesome', He is back home as he is only seventeen and still at school

I think that the best tracks I've ever cut are 'Honest I Do' and 'You Don't Have To Go' which both sold reasonably well back in the States."

A couple of stops for coffee and a pair of hours later we found ourselves safely outside the Savoy Ballroom in Southsea, all rather perplexed at the number of people passing money over the cash desk, it seemed more like a midweek Bingo session, which as we found out later was the correct assumption Jimmy's Ballroom was further along the sea front and although named Kimbles was in the Savoy chain, hence our error. Half an hour later at the correct venue we met Jimmy's backing group "The Groundhogs" who also backed John Lee Hooker on his recent tour.

Jimmy did two 30 minute stints to the obvious delight of the crowds which had packed the room including among his numbers 'Shame Shame Shame" which was received with tumultuous applause. His searing harmonica and extravagant guitar really rocked the hall, he was sheer delight to listen to small wonder he has been labelled one of the greatest bluesmen of today.

We started back for London at about 11.30 p.m. hoping to be in town by 2 a.m. as Jimmy had to be on the way to Sheffield by 10.30 a.m. for his next engagement. As it was we reached his hotel half an hour later than expected.

"When I first knew I was coming to England for a tour I was really pleased," Jimmy told me before going into his hotel for some much needed sleep, "but I was worried about people being able to understand me, it's quite a problem you know, but I am beginning to catch on to the accent now which makes me feel much better, and I am already looking forward to coming back for another tour next year.;'

So I left him to get some sleep gracefully declining his offer to go with them to Sheffield the next day, for even if he had the energy I knew I certainly hadn't.

By the time you read this report Jimmy Reed will be back at work m the States, so if you haven't yet seen this giant of a man, make a note in your diary "See Reed in the Summer."



Offline Richard

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  • Drove this for 25 years!
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Re: Jimmy Reed
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 01:49:17 PM »
Thanks BH.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jimmy Reed
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 10:42:17 PM »
A biography of Reed was published in 2006 authored by Will Romano. The writer states that the manuscript was truly one of the toughest assignments I ever had to complete but doesn't elaborate.

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