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Jimmy Rushing

James Andrew Rushing (August 26, 1901 – June 8, 1972) was an American blues and jazz singer, and pianist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, best known as the featured vocalist of Count Basie's Orchestra from 1935 to 1948.

Rushing was known as "Mr. Five by Five" and was the subject of an eponymous 1942 popular song that was a hit for Harry James and others; the lyrics describe Rushing's rotund build: "he's five feet tall and he's five feet wide". He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1927 and then joined Bennie Moten's band in 1929. He stayed with the successor Count Basie band when Moten died in 1935.

Rushing said that his first time singing in front of an audience was in 1924. He was playing piano at a club when the featured singer, Carlyn Williams, invited him to do a vocal. "I got out there and broke it up. I was a singer from then on," he said.

Rushing was a powerful singer who had a range from baritone to tenor. He has sometimes been classified as a blues shouter. He could project his voice so that it soared over the horn and reed sections in a big-band setting. Basie claimed that Rushing "never had an equal" as a blues vocalist, though Rushing "really thought of himself as a ballad singer." George Frazier, the author of Harvard Blues, called Rushing's distinctive voice "a magnificent gargle". Dave Brubeck defined Rushing's status among blues singers as "the daddy of them all." Late in his life Rushing said of his singing style, "I don't know what kind of blues singer you'd call me. I just sing 'em." Among his best-known recordings are "Going to Chicago", with Basie, and "Harvard Blues", with a famous saxophone solo by Don Byas.

Birth and Death Data: Born August 26th, 1901 (Oklahoma City), Died June 8th, 1972 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1930 - 1939

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, lyricist, songwriter

Notes: Listed on some disc labels as James Rushing.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 34 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BRC-53012 10-in. 4/15/1931 Ya got love Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62909 10-in. 10/27/1930 Won't you be my baby? Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo lyricist, vocalist  
Victor BVE-62912 10-in. 10/28/1930 That too, do Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62921 10-in. 10/29/1930 Liza Lee Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62922 10-in. 10/30/1930 Get goin' (Get ready to love) Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62924 10-in. 10/30/1930 When I'm alone Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist, lyricist  
Victor BVE-62926 10-in. 10/30/1930 As long as I love you Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62927 10-in. 10/31/1930 Somebody stole my gal Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BVE-62928 10-in. 10/31/1930 Now that I need you Count Basie ; Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BRC-68900 10-in. 4/15/1931 I wanna be around my baby all the time Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BS-74850 10-in. 12/13/1932 New Orleans Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BS-03872 10-in. 12/30/1936 He ain't got rhythm Benny Goodman Orchestra ; Jimmy Rushing Jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor BS-031876 10-in. 2/1/1939 Sent for you yesterday and here you come today Benny Goodman Orchestra ; Johnny Mercer Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo lyricist  
Brunswick KC612 10-in. 11/10/1929 Blue Devil blues Original Blue Devils ; Walter Page Jazz/dance band, with vocal songwriter  
Decca 61543 10-in. 1/21/1937 Pennies from heaven Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62078 10-in. 3/26/1937 Exactly like you Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62079 10-in. 3/26/1937 Boo-Hoo Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62080 10-in. 3/26/1937 The glory of love Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62081 10-in. 3/26/1937 Boogie woogie (I may be wrong) Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62333 10-in. 7/7/1937 Listen my children (and you shall hear) Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62511 10-in. 8/9/1937 Good morning blues Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62682 10-in. 10/13/1937 I keep remembering Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 62684 10-in. 10/13/1937 Don't you miss your baby? Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 63122 10-in. 1/3/1938 Georgianna Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 63123 10-in. 1/3/1938 Blues in the dark Count Basie Orchestra vocalist  
(Results 1-25 of 34 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Rushing, Jimmy," accessed March 1, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103465.

Rushing, Jimmy. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103465.

"Rushing, Jimmy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 1 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103465

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