Jimmy Witherspoon

1948-1949

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Jimmy Witherspoon was either a blues singer who worked from a jazz perspective, or a jazz singer with blues tendencies, or most accurately, a blues singer who applied jazz rhythms to a gospel delivery, which makes him, in some ways, a less propulsive version of Ray Charles. This disc of his earliest recordings, most of them released on Modern Records, shows Witherspoon predominantly as a shouter, and he sounds like a man used to years of fronting a small jazz orchestra. In time his microphone technique would improve, and he learned how to let subtle nuances into his singing, working both ends of the hard/soft dynamic into his phrasing. But these tracks find him belting things out, and while that's effective, it also gets a little samey after a few songs, so it's songs like "Rain, Rain, Rain," which feature a more measured vocal style, that really stand out here. Working mostly with pianist Gene Gilbeaux and his bop-influenced small orchestras, these tracks have a transitional feel, but it wouldn't take Witherspoon long to figure out what to do. His wonderful "Ain't Nobody's Business," a runaway number one R&B hit in 1949, was just around the corner.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:26 Spotify
2 2:45 Spotify
3 2:38 Spotify
4 2:50 Spotify
5
2:30 Spotify
6
feat: Al Wichard
2:42 Spotify
7 2:42 Spotify
8 2:46
9 2:45
10
feat: Al Wichard
2:33 Spotify
11 2:26 Spotify
12 2:40 Spotify
13 2:41 Spotify
14 2:48 Spotify
15 2:52
16 2:57
17 2:41 Spotify
18 2:49 Spotify
19 2:44 Spotify
20 2:39 Spotify
21 2:47 Spotify
22
3:00 Spotify
23 2:13 Spotify
24 2:31 Spotify
25 3:26 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick