St. Louis Jimmy Oden
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, Oden sang and taught himself to play the piano in childhood. In his teens, he left home to go to St. Louis, Missouri (c. 1917 ) where piano-based blues was prominent. He was able to develop his vocal talents and began performing with the pianist, Roosevelt Sykes. After more than ten years playing in and around St. Louis, in 1933 he and Sykes decided to move on to Chicago.
In Chicago he was dubbed St. Louis Jimmy and there he would enjoy a solid performing and recording career for the next four decades. While Chicago became his home base, Oden traveled with a group of blues players to various places throughout the United States. He recorded a large number of records, his best known coming in 1941 on the Bluebird Records label called "Goin' Down Slow." Oden wrote a number of songs, two of which, "Take the Bitter with the Sweet" and "Soon Forgotten," were recorded by his friend, Muddy Waters.
In 1949, Oden partnered with Joe Brown to form a small recording company called J.O.B. Records. Oden appears to have ended his involvement within a year, but with other partners the company remained in business till 1974.
After a serious road accident in 1957 he devoted himself to writing and placed material with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf ("What a Woman!") and John Lee Hooker. In 1960 he made an album with Bluesville Records, and sang on a Candid Records session with Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Otis Spann.