Air Week: May 10-16, 2021

Jimmy Witherspoon, Pt. 1 – 1945-50

Jimmy Witherspoon is one of most influential blues shouters to emerge after WWII and yet he remains just a footnote in the evolution of Rhythm & Blues and Rock n’ Roll. Originally from Arkansas, ‘Spoon settled in Los Angeles after his time in the Merchant Marines during the war. He replaced fellow-shouter Walter Brown in Jay McShann’s band and was featured on McShann’s first single for the fledgling Philo Label in 1945. Witherspoon is best remembered for his 1949 chart-topper, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” which was actually recorded at the end of ’47 and released in mid-’48. That would prove to be his signature tune, even though he had strong chart success with “In The Evening,” “No Rollin’ Blues” and “Big Fine Girl” in late ’49. The last 2 were recorded live at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena and really showcase the excitement of seeing ‘Spoon perform live. His career spanned over 50 years and this week Matt The Cat looks at ‘Spoon’s early records from 1945-50 in part 1 of 2 on this talented and important figure in early Rhythm & Blues on the “Juke In The Back.”