World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Jimmy Witherspoon

Article Id: WHEBN0000316778
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jimmy Witherspoon  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Guilty! (album), Mike Vernon (record producer), Duke Robillard, The Black Godfather, Jimmie Smith
Collection: 1920 Births, 1997 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Singers, African-American Musicians, American Blues Musicians, American Blues Singers, American Male Singers, Blues Hall of Fame Inductees, Cancer Deaths in California, Checker Records Artists, Deaths from Esophageal Cancer, Jazz-Blues Musicians, Jump Blues Musicians, Kent Records Artists, Modern Records Artists, Muse Records Artists, Musicians from Arkansas, People from Clark County, Arkansas, Prestige Records Artists, Rca Victor Artists, Urban Blues Musicians
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon
Jimmy Witherspoon in June 1976
Background information
Birth name James Witherspoon
Also known as Spoon
Born (1920-08-08)August 8, 1920
Origin Gurdon, Arkansas, United States
Died September 18, 1997(1997-09-18) (aged 77)
Genres Jump blues[1]
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1940s–1990s
Labels Various
Website Official website

Jimmy Witherspoon (August 8, 1920 – September 18, 1997) was an American jump blues singer.[1]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Tours and successes 2
  • Acting 3
  • Death 4
  • Discography 5
    • Chart singles 5.1
    • LP, CD 5.2
    • DVDs 5.3
    • Filmography 5.4
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

James Witherspoon was born in Gurdon, Arkansas.[2] He first attracted attention singing with Teddy Weatherford's band in Calcutta, India, which made regular radio broadcasts over the U. S. Armed Forces Radio Service during World War II. Witherspoon made his first records with Jay McShann's band in 1945. He first recorded under his own name in 1947,[3] and two years later with the McShann band, he had his first hit, "Ain't Nobody's Business,"[2] a song which came to be regarded as his signature tune. In 1950 he had hits with two more songs closely identified with him: "No Rollin' Blues", "Big Fine Girl", as well as "Failing By Degrees" and "New Orleans Woman" recorded with the Gene Gilbeaux Orchestra which included Herman Washington and Don Hill on the Modern Records label. These were recorded from a live performance on May 10, 1949 at a "Just Jazz" concert Pasadena, CA sponsored by Gene Norman. Another classic Witherspoon composition is "Times Gettin' Tougher Than Tough".

Witherspoon's style of blues - that of the "Richard "Groove" Holmes and T-Bone Walker.[2]

Tours and successes

In 1961 he toured Europe with Buck Clayton and returned to the UK on many occasions, featuring on a mid-'60s live UK recording Spoon Sings and Swings (1966) with tenor sax player Dick Morrissey's quartet. In 1970, he appeared on Brother Jack McDuff's London Blue Note recording To Seek a New Home together with British jazz musicians, including Dick Morrissey, again, and Terry Smith. In the 1970s he also recorded the album Guilty! (later released on CD as Black & White Blues) with Eric Burdon[2] and featuring Ike White & the San Quentin Prison Band. He then toured with a band of his own featuring Robben Ford and Russ Ferrante. A recording from this period, Spoonful, featured 'Spoon accompanied by Robben Ford, Joe Sample, Cornell Dupree, Thad Jones and Bernard Purdie.[5] He continued performing and recording into the 1990s.[5]

Other performers with whom Witherspoon recorded include Jimmy Rowles, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Vernon Alley, Mel Lewis, Teddy Edwards, Gerald Wiggins, John Clayton, Paul Humphrey, Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Jimmy Smith, Long John Baldry, Junior Mance, Ellington bassist Jimmy Woode, Kenny Clarke, Gerry Mulligan, Jim Mullen, Count Basie, Van Morrison, Dutch Swing College Band, Gene Gilbeaux and others.


In the 1995 film Jennifer Jason Leigh.


Witherspoon died of throat cancer in Los Angeles, California on September 18, 1997.[6]


Chart singles

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[7] US
1949 "Ain't Nobody's Business (Parts 1 & 2)" - 1
"In the Evening" - 5
"No Rollin' Blues" - 4
"Big Fine Girl" - 4
1952 "The Wind is Blowin' " - 7
1965 "You're Next" 98 -
1975 "Love is a Five Letter Word" - 31


  • 1957: Wilbur De Paris Plays & Jimmy Witherspoon Sings New Orleans Blues (Atlantic)
  • 1957: Goin' to Kansas City Blues (RCA Victor)
  • 1959: Battle of the Blues, Vol. 3 (Deluxe)
  • 1959: Feelin' the Spirit (HiFi Record)
  • 1959: Jimmy Witherspoon (Crown)
  • 1959: Jimmy Witherspoon & Jay McShann (Black Lion)
  • 1959: Singin' the Blues (Blue Note)
  • 1960: Jimmy Witherspoon at the Monterey Jazz Festival [live]
  • 1960: Jimmy Witherspoon Sings the Blues (Crown)
  • 1961: Spoon (Collectables Records)
  • 1961: There's Good Rockin' Tonight (World Pacific)
  • 1962: A Spoonful of Blues (Ember)
  • 1962: Hey, Mrs. Jones (Reprise)
  • 1962: Roots (Reprise)
  • 1963: Baby, Baby, Baby (Prestige) - also released as Mean Old Frisco
  • 1963: Evenin' Blues (Prestige)
  • 1963: Blues Around the Clock (Prestige)
  • 1964: Blue Spoon (Prestige)
  • 1964: Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues (Prestige)
  • 1965: Spoon in London (Prestige)
  • 1966: Spoon Sings and Swings (Fontana)
  • 1966: Blues for Easy Livers (Prestige)
  • 1966: Blues for Spoon and Groove (Surrey)
  • 1966: Blue Point of View
  • 1966: Blues Box
  • 1966: In Person (Verve)
  • 1967: The Blues Is Now (Verve)
  • 1968: Spoonful of Soul (Verve)
  • 1969: Blues Singer (BluesWay)
  • 1970: Handbags & Gladrags (ABC Music)
  • 1970: Huhh (BluesWay)
  • 1970: Ain't Nobody's Business with Dutch Swing College Band (DSC Records PA002)
  • 1971: Guilty (United Artists Records)
  • 1972: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival
  • 1973: Groovin' & Spoonin' (Original Music)
  • 1974: Jimmy Witherspoon & Ben Webster (Verve)
  • 1975: Love Is a Five Letter Word (Rhino)
  • 1975: Spoonful Avenue (Rhino)
  • 1976: Live: Jimmy Witherspoon & Robben Ford (Rhino)
  • 1976: Live Crosscut (Germany)
  • 1980: Jimmy Witherspoon with Panama Francis & the Savoy Sultans Sings the Blues (Muse)
  • 1980: Spoon's Life (Evidence)
  • 1980: Spoon in Australia (Jazzis)
  • 1981: Big Blues (JSP)
  • 1985: Patcha, Patcha, All Night Long (Pablo)
  • 1986: Midnight Lady Called the Blues (Muse)
  • 1988: Rockin' L.A. (Fantasy)
  • 1989: 'Spoon Concerts (Fantasy)
  • 1990: Live at Condon's (Who's Who in Jazz)
  • 1991: Call Me Baby (Night Train)
  • 1992: Live at the Notodden Festival (Blue Rock'It)
  • 1992: The Blues, the Whole Blues & Nothing But the ... (Indigo)
  • 1993: Hot Licks: Ain't Nobody's Business (Sound Solutions)
  • 1993: Blowin' In From Kansas City (Ace)
  • 1994: Amazing Grace (Delta Distribution)
  • 1995: Spoon's Blues Stony Plain
  • 1995: Ain't Nothin' New About the Blues [live] (Aim Records)
  • 1995: Taste of Swing Time (Tuff City Records)
  • 1995: American Blues (Rhino)
  • 1996: Live at the Mint (Private Music)
  • 1996: 'Spoon & Groove (Rykodisc)
  • 1997: Tougher Than Tough (Blue Moon)
  • 1997: Jimmy Witherspoon with the Junior Mance Trio (Stony Plain)
  • 1998: Jazz Me Blues: The Best Of Jimmy Witherspoon Prestige
  • 2000: Big Boss Man [live] (Starburst Recordings)
  • 2000: Jimmy Witherspoon with the Duke Robillard Band [live] (Stony Plain)
  • 2000: Same Old Blues (Catfish)
  • 2001: Goin' to Chicago (Tim)
  • 2001: Sings Blues (Aim)
  • 2002: Spoon Meets Pau (Eureka)
  • 2002: Goin' Around the Circles (Past Perfect)
  • 2003: Sings The Blues Sessions (Ace)
  • 2004: Very Best Of Jimmy Witherspoon: Miss Miss Mistreater (Collectables)
  • 2004: 1948-1949 (Classics)
  • 2006: 1950-1951 (Classics)
  • 2006: Ain't Nobody's Business (SnapperLive)
  • 2008: Live at the 1972 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival)
  • 2009: Doctor Blues Blues Boulevard
  • 2009: Olympia Concert (CD Baby)
  • 2010: Live 59


  • 2003: 20th Century Jazz Masters: Mel Tormé/Jimmy Witherspoon/Carmen McRae/Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan
  • 2003: Jazz Casual - Jimmy Rushing / Jimmy Witherspoon
  • 2009: Goin' Down Blues



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.