St. Louis Jimmy Oden

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James Burke "St. Louis Jimmy" Oden (June 26, 1903 – December 30, 1977[1]) was an American blues vocalist and songwriter.

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 [1]) 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.[2]

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.

"Florida Hurricane" was released in 1948 on Aristocrat Records. The song featured Muddy Waters on guitar and Sunnyland Slim on piano.[1] 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.

He spent less time performing after being in a car crash in 1957. Songs written late in his career include "What a Woman!". He put out an album in 1960.[2] He performs as a vocalist on three songs recorded for an Otis Spann session in 1960. These tracks were released on the album "Walking the Blues," rereleased as a Candid CD (CCD 79025)[3] in 1989.

Oden died of bronchopneumonia,[4] at the age of 74, in 1977 and was interred in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois, near Chicago.

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  1. ^ a b c Allmusic biography
  2. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 151. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ - accessed November 2009

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