Chanteur Country US né le 29 Mars 1924 à Akron (Ohio). Jimmy Work s' installera à Pontiac (Michigan) vers 1945. Influencé par Jimmie Rodgers, il enregistrera pour différents petits labels obtenant son premier succes avec "Tennessee Border" qui sera repris par Hank Williams et Red Foley. Il décrochera son petit vrai hit pour le label "Dot " avec "Making Believe" en 1955. A la suite de ce succes, Il se produisit au Grand Ole Opry et au Louisiana Hayride avant de devenir agent immobilier en Californie dans les années 60. Jimmy Work est décédé le 22 Décembre 2018 à Dukedom (Tennessee).
Jimmy Work isn't
a name that most country music fans are familiar with, even though as a
songwriter he was responsible for "Tennessee Border," "Making Believe," and
"That's What Makes the Jukebox Play." Like a handful of performers, he worked
happily at music for many years but felt privileged simply to have had the
opportunity to record and perform, and gladly kept his day job as a millwright.
Jimmy Work was born in Akron, OH, in 1924. Two years later, his parents moved to a farm in Dukedom, TN. He began playing guitar when he was seven years old after he picked up a guitar his father had originally bought for his mother. His two biggest influences at that point in his life, and for many years after, were Gene Autry and Roy Acuff, and one can safely include Jimmie Rodgers on the list as well. He was in a band in high school, and was a good enough fiddle player to win contests on that instrument as well. He began writing songs before he was in his teens, and was encouraged by reactions to his music.
By 1945, he was playing country music in Pontiac, a suburb of Detroit, MI; and while things started slowly for Work, playing country music in a northern industrial area, they got better in the years immediately as Southerners, white as well as black, moved there to take defense plant jobs and stayed on afterward as part of the automobile and related industries. Players like Jimmy Work were a welcome reminder of home for many of these newly transplanted country listeners. By the mid-'40s, Work had a big enough audience from his local radio appearances to justify the publication of a songbook, as he later cut his first two singles for a tiny label called Trophy. Those first two singles, featuring Work on acoustic guitar and a single electric guitar backup, were highly derivative of Jimmie Rodgers, and even featured Work yodeling in the manner of the Singing Brakeman.
His third single, "Tennessee Border," was his first version of the song, cut for the tiny Alben label. His record didn't sell, but a year later, "Tennessee Border" was picked up by five different artists -- Red Foley, Bob Atcher, Jimmie Skinner, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Hank Williams -- and became a hit for four of them, all at once. Foley's led the pack, peaking at number three on the country charts, with Ford's following at number eight, Atcher's at number 12, and Skinner's bringing up the rear at number 15; ironically, it was Hank Williams' version that failed to chart.
The success of those records got Jimmy Work his first major-label contract with Decca Records in 1949, and "Tennessee Border" also got him invited to appear on the Grand Ole Opry; Work also played at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. By the time of his second session for Decca in August of 1949, Work was being backed by Red Foley's Pleasant Valley Boys, which included Jerry Bird and Delmore Brothers veteran Zeke Turner on guitars, Ernie Newton on bass, and the legendary Tommy Jackson on fiddle. Unfortunately, despite the quality of the players and the momentum imparted by the success of "Tennessee Border," Work never had any hits from his Decca work, and by 1950 he was released from the label. After a short stay with the tiny Bullet label in 1950, Work jumped to the London label in 1951, which yielded "Pickup Truck," his witty slice-of-Southern-life song, and "Do Your Honky Tonkin' at Home."
During this period, Work's music, mostly by virtue of the bands he was using for backup, was heavily influenced by the honky tonk style of Lefty Frizzell. It may have been the derivative nature of his sound, coupled with the indifferent nature of the material, that left Work out in the cold where sales of his own records were concerned during this period.
Still without a hit of his own to his credit, Jimmy Work signed with Capitol Records in 1952, and although his first four songs yielded no hits, the label stuck with him. It was only after a second round of sessions that he was dropped from the label's roster in 1953. He then moved to the Dot label, and it was there that he cut two of his most popular songs, "Making Believe" and "That's What Makes the Jukebox Play." "Making Believe," issued in 1955, rose to number 11 for Work, but it was Kitty Wells, releasing a rival version, who saw the lion's share of record sales with a number two single.
"That's What Makes the Jukebox Play" became a number six single for Work in the summer of 1955. Work's success boosted his concert activity during the mid-'50s, and he happened to share a number of concerts in 1955 with Elvis Presley, who was still a regional phenomenon. His future with Dot Records was secure for the time being, with two major hits behind him, and Work continued playing dates, recording, and writing songs; occasionally he would experiment with new sounds, as with his rockabilly-style cover of "Rock Island Line," issued in the wake of English skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's hit version (which charted in America).
Work wasn't a rockabilly player or a rock & roller, however, and the rise of the new music took away just enough of the impetus from country music in general that he eventually was forced to give up the music business. He sold real estate and cut some singles (including yet another version of "Tennessee Border") for the All label, based in Whittier, CA. By 1959, it was all over, and Work knew it; the music had passed him by, and the honky tonk style wasn't even in favor among the country audience that did remain. He returned to the job he was trained for and knew best, a millwright, on the farm in Dukedom, TN, near the border with Kentucky.
Jimmy Work kept his hand in songwriting, signed with the Acuff-Rose organization, and some of his past glories were revisited in later years. Emmylou Harris brought "Making Believe" back into the Top Ten with a new version in 1977, and Moe Bandy, that diehard honky tonk enthusiast, brought "That's What Makes the Jukebox Play" to number 11 on the country charts a year later.
A prodigious talent with an ear for songwriting that would be the envy of most country players, and a smooth-yet-jaunty honky tonk style, Jimmy Work was unjustly forgotten and overlooked for many years by too many people. Even on those occasions when the songs were less than first-rate, or the backing band wasn't what it might have been, his delivery saved the record. He was never too bothered by the obscurity into which he fell in the 1960s, satisfied that he'd had the chance to make music, and having settled into a comfortable living. In 1986, Bear Family Records issued the first LP of Jimmy Work's songs, which was followed by a second vinyl disc, and later by a double-CD set from the same label, tying up all the loose ends of Work's career.
Jimmy Work passed away on December 22, 2018 in Dukedom (Tennessee).
Talents : Vocals, Guitar, Songwriter
Style musical : Traditional Country; Honky Tonk
Mountain Moon (1949)
MAKING BELIEVE (1954)
That's The Way It's Gonna Be (1956)
Rock Island Line (1956)
TENNESSEE BORDER (1959)
Years in activity :
78 t., Singles & EP
|1945||78 t. TROPHY T 14 (US)||.||Those Kentucky Bluegrass Hills / You're Gone I Won't Forget|
|1946||78 t. TROPHY T 15 (US)||.||Rainy Rainy Blues / Hear That Steamboat Blow|
|1948||78 t. ALBEN 501 (US)||.||Jimmy WORK & His BORDER BOYS - Tennessee Border / Your Jealous Heart Is Broken Now|
|1949||78 t. BULLET 699 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Mr. And Mrs. Cloud / Hospitality|
|05/1949||78 t. DECCA 46166 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Bluegrass Tickling My Feet / Please Don't Let Me Love You|
|05/1949||SP DECCA 9-46166 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Bluegrass Tickling My Feet / Please Don't Let Me Love You|
|09/1949||78 t. DECCA 46181 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Smokey Mountain Moon / I Would Send Roses (But They Cost Too Much)|
|09/1949||SP DECCA 9-46181 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Smokey Mountain Moon / I Would Send Roses (But They Cost Too Much)|
|03/1950||78 t. DECCA 46223 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Surrounded By Water And Bars / Who's Been Here Since I've Been Gone|
|03/1950||SP DECCA 9-46223 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Surrounded By Water And Bars / Who's Been Here Since I've Been Gone|
|05/1950||78 t. BULLET 699 (US)||.||
Jimmie WORK & His TENN. BORDER BOYS - Mr. And Mrs. Cloud / Hospitality
|05/1950||SP BULLET 45699 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENN. BORDER BOYS - Mr. And Mrs. Cloud / Hospitality|
|03/1951||78 t. & SP LONDON 16056 (US)||.||Pick Up Truck / Do Your Honky Tonkin' At Home|
|03/1951||78 t. & SP LONDON 16058 (US)||.||Jimmie WORK & His TENNESSEE BORDER BOYS - Let's Live A Little / Southern Fried Chicken|
|02/1953||78 t. CAPITOL 2372 (US)||.||If I Should Lose You / Don't Play With My Heart|
|02/1953||SP CAPITOL F2372 (US)||.||If I Should Lose You / Don't Play With My Heart|
|07/1953||78 t. CAPITOL 2565 (US)||.||Crazy Moon / Out Of My Mind|
|07/1953||SP CAPITOL F2565 (US)||.||Crazy Moon / Out Of My Mind|
|12/1953||78 t. CAPITOL 2682 (US)||.||How Can I Love You / I'm Lonesome For Someone|
|12/1953||SP CAPITOL F2682 (US)||.||How Can I Love You / I'm Lonesome For Someone|
|08/1954||78 t. DOT 1221 (US)||.||Making Believe / Just Like Downtown|
|08/1954||SP DOT 45-1221 (US)||.||Making Believe / Just Like Downtown|
|04/1955||78 t. DOT 1245 (US)||.||That's What Makes The Juke Box Play / Don't Give Me A Reason|
|04/1955||SP DOT 45-1245 (US)||.||That's What Makes The Juke Box Play / Don't Give Me A Reason|
|08/1955||78 t. DOT 1267 (US)||.||Don't Knock, Just Come On In / Let 'em Talk|
|08/1955||SP DOT 45-1267 (US)||.||Don't Knock, Just Come On In / Let 'em Talk|
|10/1955||78 t. DOT 1272 (US)||.||When She Said You All / There's Only One You|
|10/1955||SP DOT 45-1272 (US)||.||When She Said You All / There's Only One You|
|12/1955||EP LONDON RED 1039 (UK)||
Country Songs - Work Style -Just Like Downtown / Don't Give Me A Reason To Wonder Why / Makin' Believe / That's What Makes The Jukebox Play
|01/1956||78 t. DOT 1277 (US)||.||My Old Stomping Ground / Hands Away From My Heart|
|01/1956||SP DOT 45-1277 (US)||.||My Old Stomping Ground / Hands Away From My Heart|
|03/1956||78 t. DOT 1279 (US)||.||That's The Way It's Gonna Be / Rock Island Line|
|03/1956||SP DOT 45-1279 (US)||.||That's The Way It's Gonna Be / Rock Island Line|
|05/1956||78 t. DOT 1284 (US)||.||Blind Heart / You've Got A Heart Like A Merry Go Round|
|05/1956||SP DOT 45-1284 (US)||.||Blind Heart / You've Got A Heart Like A Merry Go Round|
|09/1956||78 t. DOT 1287 (US)||.||Digging My Own Grave / That Cold, Cold Look In Your Eyes|
|09/1956||SP DOT 45-1287 (US)||.||Digging My Own Grave / That Cold, Cold Look In Your Eyes|
|1957||EP DOT DEP 502 (DK)||
Western Songs - Jimmy Newman : I Wanna Tell All The World / Come Back To Me / Jimmy Work : Blind Heart / You've Gotta Heart Like A Merry Go Round
|05/1959||SP ALL 45-502 (US)||.||Let's Be Alone Tonight / Tennessee Border|
|09/1959||SP ALL 45-503 (US)||.||I Never Thought I'd Have The Blues / I Dreamed Last Night|
|1966||SP DOT DLP 3733 (US)||.||Blind Heart / ?|
|1973||LP 12" CMH CMH-216 (GER)||Tennessee Border - Those Kentucky Bluegrass Hills / You're Gone I Won't Forget / Rainy Rainy Blues / Hear That Steamboat Whistle Blow / Mr. And Mrs. Cloud / Tennessee Border / Your Jealous Heart Is Broken Now / Hospitality / That's What Makes The Jukebox Play / Don't Give Me A Reason To Wonder Why / Just Like Downtown / Making Believe / Don't Knock Just Come In / Let 'em Talk / My Old Stomping Ground / There's Only One You|
|1976 ?||LP 12" Country Classics Library CCL 1120 (NL)||
Tennessee Border - Those Kentucky Bluegrass Hills / You're Gone I Won't Forget / Rainy, Rainy Blues / Hear That Steamboat Blow / Tennessee Border / Your Jealous Heart Is Broken Now / Hospitality / Mister And Mrs. Cloud / That's What Makes The Jukebox Play / Don't Give A Reason To Wonder Why / Just Like Downtown / Making Believe / Don't Knock, Just Come On In / Let 'em Talk / My Old Stomping Ground / There's Only One You
|01/1986||LP 12" BEAR FAMILY BFX 15177 (GER)||MAKING BELIEVE - That's The Way It's Gonna Be / Rock Island Line / Puttin' On The Dog And Tom Cattin' Around / When She Said You All / Digging My Own Grave / Don't Give Me A Reason To Wonder Why / Blind Heart / You've Got A Heart Like A Merry-Go-Round / That Cold, Cold Look In Your Eye / Hands Away From My Heart / That's What Makes The Jukebox Play / There's Only One You / Makin' Believe / Blind Heart / Let 'em Talk / Just Like Downtown / My Old Stomping Ground / Don't Knock Just Come In|
|02/1988||LP 12" BEAR FAMILY BFX 15267 (GER)||CRAZY MOON - Don't Play With My Heart / If I Should Lose You / Crazy Moon / I'm Lonesome For Someone / Little Popcorn Man / How Can I Love You / Puttin' On The Dog / Out Of My Mind / Smokey Mountain Moon / Bluegrass Ticklin' My Feet / Please Don't Let Me Love You / Surrounded By Water And Bars / Who's Been Here Since I Been Gone / I Would Send Roses|
|06/1994||2 CD BEAR FAMILY BCD 15651 (GER)||MAKING BELIEVE :
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