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A BluePower Profile....This Is Jimmy Reed!

I reckon I first heard Jimmy Reed around 1956. I was fifteen years old at the time and I had been playing guitar for about two years. I marveled at the absolute simplicity of the groove and was amazed at how three men could play a pocket so deep and relaxed that it sent shivers down my spine.

I heard this man sing and play harmonica with such grace and aplomb that I thought I would never be able to duplicate that feel. To be honest, it took years before I felt I finally had a handle on his touch. Of course I had no Eddie Taylor to back me up with the fills that were so necessary to complete the picture.

It also took me awhile to to realize that Jimmy's feel and style came from years of hardship and toil, playing gigs in alleys, bars, clubs and the like. Not to mention having to raise a family with eight kids and a wife to support. Talk about a man pulling himself up by his bootstraps! 

Jimmy Reed supported his playing by working in a steel mill and an Armour packing plant in Gary, Indiana after he had done a term in the United States Navy during World War 2. I would say this was a hard working man paying his way to fame and fortune.

Jimmy Reed secured 19 national hit singles and became one of the most popular American artists for a decade. The list of major artists who covered his songs is too numerous to show on this page.

Jimmy Reed died on tour in California on August 29, 1976 from complications of alcoholism and epilepsy.

Jimmy was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1980 and into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991. Not too bad for a man who grew up dirt poor on a plantation in Mississippi and went from picking cotton to celebrity status. This could only happen in America.

The Music:
Koz's Walk....Theme
1....Shame, Shame, Shame
2....Bright Lights, Big City
3....Baby What You Want Me To Do
4....Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
5....Honest I Do
6....Big Boss Man

Thank you for listening and please tell your friends!
John Rhys Eddins

Click Player Below To Hear: This Is Jimmy Reed!

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