Jimmy Osborne

b. James Osborne Jnr., 8 April 1923, Winchester, Kentucky, USA, d. 26 December 1958. After someone gave him a guitar, Osborne decided to be a singer and at 16 he was appearing regularly on WLAP Lexington.…
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Artist Biography

b. James Osborne Jnr., 8 April 1923, Winchester, Kentucky, USA, d. 26 December 1958. After someone gave him a guitar, Osborne decided to be a singer and at 16 he was appearing regularly on WLAP Lexington. World War II disrupted his plans and, for a time, he entertained only in the evenings and weekends, while working days in a factory. After the war, he performed on several stations including WLAP, before arriving at KWKH Shreveport in 1947. His vocal work there with the Bailes Brothers and on The Louisiana Hayride led to him recording for King Records. In 1948, he scored a number 10 country hit with his first release, ‘My Heart Echoes’. He returned to WLEX Lexington, working as a disc jockey and singer. He always called himself the Kentucky Folk Singer and he had a penchant, like Red River Dave McEnery, for writing songs about topical events. In 1949, his recording of one such number, ‘The Death Of Little Kathy Fiscus’, the story of the tragic death of a young girl in California, became a number 7 hit for him. (The song has since been successfully recorded by many others, including Howard Vokes and Kitty Wells). During the Korean War, Osborne produced an almost endless line of story songs, most of a patriotic nature such as ‘God Please Protect America’, which gave him another Top 10 hit in 1950. Others included ‘Thank God For Victory In Korea’ and ‘The Voice Of Free America’. He made appearances on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and on WLS Chicago’s National Barn Dance. In 1952, he opened a record shop in Louisville, where he also became very popular for his radio show on WKLO. He made further King recordings until 1955 but he achieved no further hits. Osborne suffered bouts of depression and during one of these periods he committed suicide. In 1988, a Dutch record label, Strictly Country, released an album that contained some of his King singles. (He is not connected with the Osborne Brothers.)