Jimmy Reed, Blues Entertainer

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Jimmy Reed Memories

By Anita W. Cantor

One Saturday afternoon (Phoenix) in the summer of 1960 my sister rushed into our room, tossed an 'Augies Records' bag on the bed and said, 'See if you can open this and don't scratch it!' (I bought singles with my allowance and she had a babysitting job and got to buy albums for $3.12). She turned on the record player and I handed the record to her holding the edges in two hands.

She checked the titles and set the record on the turntable, turned the volume knob up as far as it would go, turned to me and said, 'Wait'll you hear THIS!' I kept looking at the album cover, 'Rockin' With Reed'. It was darkish red and only the back view of Jimmy in black, bent over playing his guitar. It looked mysterious to me!

The first song she played was, 'Take Out Some Insurance.' The intro was a bass shuffle-ish-boogie that made you want to get up and dance around and snap your fingers. Just this great bass sultry rhythm. And then a kind voice with a smooth southern slur; 'A-If you'r t'leave me bay-babe' (By this time my sister was dancin' and in some kinda groove') I smiled! It was so NEAT! I needed to hear it again and couldn't wait for her to leave the house so I could sneak play it again and again. Which I did, hundreds of times (to all her records, haha!).

As I came to learn years ago, many of Jimmy's songs were backed by his childhood friend and bass player the wonderful, Eddie Taylor! What a super duo! Many years later when my sister got married, she left ALL her albums behind. I never understood how she could do that! She didn't take Jimmy Reed, even! But I kept them all, lugging them around in boxes for 40 years until 2000, when I replaced them almost all with CD's. The very first one I bought was 'Rockin' With Reed' a Re-issue by Charly of original Vee-Jay recordings with liner notes from the original release. with bonus tracks.

It's a GREAT album every blues person should own. Don't download songs, buy the CD! ~ From the liner notes: 'Now you might not go for blues, but when you hear Jimmy Reed, you'd better be careful not to pat your foot, because like the old heads used to say, 'If you grin, you in' - 'cause this stud is for real. Frank London Brown, Author of Trumbull Park ~ Anita W. Cantor

"If you leave me, baby, say you won't be back That would be the end of me, 'cause I'd have a heart attack Ya better get some insurance on me, baby Take out some insurance on me, baby Ladies' Night 'Cause if ya ever, ever, said, 'goodbye' I'm 'gonna haul right off an' die" "Take Out Some Insurance" (J. Stone) Vee-Jay LP #1008, Jesse Stone aka Charles Calhoun songwriter for Atlantic Records, recorded with Eddie Taylor and Lefty Bates - guitars, Earl Phillips - drums Chicago March 26, 1959

Read more Blues Heroes Stories
from the bookTouched By the Blues

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