Johnny Grimes

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A vocalist and occasional bandleader named Johnny Grimes haunts the early days of territory bands and Western swing, singing in a style that the picky discographer Tom Lord considered jazz in 1937 but…
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A vocalist and occasional bandleader named Johnny Grimes haunts the early days of territory bands and Western swing, singing in a style that the picky discographer Tom Lord considered jazz in 1937 but eventually associated with the rowdier side of the country scene. Grimes went on to make a single of "Who Will You Cry to Then" for the King label and later collaborated on writing country & western songs such as the exasperating "Bawlin' Baby" and the obstinate "Gonna Stay Right Here," sometimes in the company of one or more of the Horton brothers, better known in honky tonk circles as Bobby Horton and, especially, Johnny Horton.

This is not the same John Grimes who plays trumpet on the James Brown record entitled "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," nor is it the guy who engineered new wave rock records beginning in the mid-'80s. Of course, the recordings made by the Bogan's Birmingham Busters band must have been considered "new wave" by somebody; credits from these 1937 Vocalion sessions indicate the presence of three vocalists in total as well as several instrumentalists, among them pianist Robert McCoy. The group got its name from classic female blues singer Lucille Bogan, whose son was nominally in charge. Mom apparently managed this group as well as singing, but never on record. These appear to be the earliest discographical spottings of Grimes, hinting at an Alabama origin. Some of his Western swing performances can be found on compilations from the '30s.