I'm Jimmy Reed by Jimmy Reed
In deciding where to start listening to Jimmy Reed, the man and his record label made it easy -- at the beginning. His debut LP release, I'm Jimmy Reed, was...
In deciding where to start listening to Jimmy Reed, the man and his record label made it easy -- at the beginning. His debut LP release, I'm Jimmy Reed, was about as strong a first album as was heard in Chicago blues, but also no stronger (relatively speaking) than the first long-players issued of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and co. As was the case with most bluesmen of his generation, Reed's debut LP was really a collection of single sides than an actual album of new material (though some of it did hail from its year of release), consisting of tracks he'd recorded from June 1953 ("Roll & Rhumba") through March 1958 ("You Got Me Crying" etc.). So it's no surprise that it rivals The Best of Muddy Waters or any of the other 12" platters that were showing up from Reed's rivals at the end of the 1950s -- most of the blues labels put together their LPs the same way at first. But that also turns I'm Jimmy Reed into a treasure-trove of prime material from his repertory, including the songs on which he'd built his reputation over the previous five years, key among them "Honest I Do," "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," "You Got Me Dizzy," and "You Don't Have to Go," plus their highly relevant B-sides, which help give this album more depth and breadth than a formal hits collection would have had. And in addition to Reed's singing and harp work, the album is also a superb showcase for guitarists Eddie Taylor and John Brim (the latter on the earliest material here), and drummer Earl Palmer.