Few blues songs have stood the test of Father Time as enduringly as "Goin' Down Slow." Its composer, St. Louis Jimmy Oden, endured rather impressively himself -- he recorded during the early '30s and was still at it more than three decades later.
If not for a fortuitous move to St. Louis circa 1917, Oden might have been known as "Nashville Jimmy". He fell in with pianist Roosevelt Sykes on the 1920s Gateway City blues circuit (the two remained frequent musical partners throughout the ensuing decades). Oden enjoyed a fairly prolific recording career during the '30s and '40s, appearing on Champion, Bluebird (where he hit with "Goin' Down Slow" in 1941), Columbia, Bullet in 1947, Miracle, Aristocrat (there he cut "Florida Hurricane" in 1948 accompanied by pianist Sunnyland Slim and a young guitarist named Muddy Waters), Mercury, Savoy, and Apollo.
Scattered singles for Duke (with Sykes on piano) and Parrot (a 1955 remake of "Goin' Down Slow") set the stage for Oden's 1960 album debut for Prestige's Bluesville subsidiary (naturally, it included yet another reprise of "Goin' Down Slow"). Oden was backed by guitarist Jimmie Lee Robinson and a swinging New York rhythm section. As much a composer as a performer, Oden wrote "Soon Forgotten" and "Take the Bitter with the Sweet" for Muddy Waters.