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Jimmy Witherspoon

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Biography of Jimmy Witherspoon

Blues Master Jimmy Witherspoon was born August 8, 1920, Gurdon, Ark. and past on September 18, 1997, Los Angeles, Ca. His father, a railroad man, sang in local choirs, while his mother played piano. Spoon didn't pursue music professionally until after his WWII stint in the Merchant Marines. On his return to the states in 1944, he replaced the great Walter Brown in Jay McShann's band and performed with Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker. Spoon's first hit record was "Ain't Nobody's Business" which he followed in 1949 with a reworking of the Leroy Carr song "In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down". His hit "Ain't Nobody's Business" was one of the biggest records of the era, and stayed on the Billboard charts 34 weeks that year. Spoon made at least 200 recordings since and was one of the few true giants of the post-war Blues boom. He recorded for a variety of labels through the 50s, including cornerstone sides with Swingtime, Federal, Chess, RCA and even a Dixieland session with The Wilbur De Paris New Orleans Jazz Band for Atlantic in 1956. Spoon's long-running career took place on Jazz stages around the world, from Carnegie Hall to the Newport Jazz Festival, from touring Japan with Count Basie to European tours with Buck Clayton's All Stars. Spoon managed to span the worlds of Blues, R&B and Jazz with his unique style anchored in the big band Blues traditions.

In 1963 Spoon recorded "Evenin' Blues" with T-Bone Walker and in 1968 recorded "The Blues is Now" with his brother, organist Jack McDuff. The 70's Spoon met Robben Ford and brought him to the attention of Spoon's management firm, the same team that handled Eric Burdon and War at the time, Spoon sang on the 1971 Eric Burdon album "Guilty", and toured with Burdon. Spoon's 1975 Capitol Records recording "Love Is A Five Letter Word", made the best-selling charts. He made records for labels like Blue Note and Fantasy. He cut a remarkable 1986 album "Midnight Lady Called The Blues", written and produced by Dr. John and Doc Pomus. He re-teamed with guitarist Robben Ford in the early 90s for "Live At The Notodden Blues Festival", and cut a 1992 album "The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothin' But The Blues" for Indigo Records. Spoon's last recording "Spoon's Blues" for Stony Plain Records featured Duke Robillard and special guest Long John Baldry.

For over 5 decades Spoon was among music's best singers. He was the genuine article, the real deal, just like the music he made.

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