St. Louis Jimmy Oden

James Burke "St. Louis Jimmy" Oden (June 26, 1903 – December 30, 1977) was an American blues singer and songwriter.

Oden was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He sang and taught himself to play the piano in childhood. In his teens, he left home For St. Louis, where piano-based blues was prominent. He developed his vocal talents and began performing with the pianist Roosevelt Sykes. After more than ten years playing in and around St. Louis, in 1933 he and Sykes moved to Chicago.

In Chicago, he was nicknamed St. Louis Jimmy and had a solid performing and recording career for the next four decades. Chicago became his home, but Oden traveled with blues players throughout the United States. He recorded a large number of records, his best-known being the 1941 Bluebird release "Goin' Down Slow". Oden's songs "Take the Bitter with the Sweet" and "Soon Forgotten" were recorded by his friend Muddy Waters.

"Florida Hurricane" was released in 1948 on Aristocrat Records. The song featured Muddy Waters on guitar and Sunnyland Slim on piano. In 1949, Oden partnered with Joe Brown to form a small recording company, J.O.B. Records. Oden appears to have ended his involvement within a year, but with other partners the company remained in business until 1974.

He spent less time performing after being in a car crash in 1957. Songs written later in his career include "What a Woman!" Oden released the album Goin' Down Slow on Prestige-Bluesville in 1960. He performed as a vocalist on three songs recorded for an Otis Spann session in 1960. These tracks were released on the album Walking the Blues, re-released as a Candid CD (CCD 79025) in 1989.

Oden died of bronchopneumonia in 1977, at the age of 74, and was interred in Restvale Cemetery, in Alsip, Illinois, near Chicago.

Birth and Death Data: Born June 16th, 1903 (Nashville), Died 1977 (Chicago)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1933 - 1942

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, composer, lyricist

See Also: Oden, James B.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-76825 10-in. 8/2/1933 Warning spirit Willie Kelly ; St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-76826 10-in. 8/2/1933 My dream blues Willie Kelly ; St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, composer, lyricist  
Victor BS-76827 10-in. 8/2/1933 Sittin' down thinkin' St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist  
Victor BS-070406 10-in. 11/11/1941 Monkey face blues St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano and improvised string bass vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-070407 10-in. 11/11/1941 Come day go day St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano and improvised string bass vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-070408 10-in. 11/11/1941 Lost ball blues St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano and improvised string bass vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-070409 10-in. 11/11/1941 Going down slow St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with piano and improvised string bass vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074160 10-in. 3/25/1942 St. Louis woman blues St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074161 10-in. 3/25/1942 Poor boy blues St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074162 10-in. 3/25/1942 Back on my feet again St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074163 10-in. 3/25/1942 Nothing but blues St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074164 10-in. 3/25/1942 Soon forget you St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-074165 10-in. 3/25/1942 Can't stand your evil ways St. Louis Jimmy Oden Male vocal solo, with instrumental trio vocalist, composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Oden, St. Louis Jimmy," accessed July 26, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106993.

Oden, St. Louis Jimmy. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 26, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106993.

"Oden, St. Louis Jimmy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 26 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106993

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