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 singer and songwriter.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Oden sang and taught himself to play the piano in childhood. In his teens, he left home to go to St. Louis,[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 enjoyed a solid performing and recording career for the next four decades. While Chicago became his home, Oden traveled with blues players throughout the United States. He recorded a large number of records, his best-known being the 1941 Bluebird release "Goin' Down Slow". Oden's songs "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 the small recording company, J.O.B. Records. Oden appears to have ended his involvement within a year, but with other partners the company remained in business until 1974.

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

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "St. Louis Jimmy Oden - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  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. ^ "Otis Spann – Walking The Blues". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club - The 1970s". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 

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