"The big man on Kat's Karavan was Jimmy Reed, and it remains one of my deepest regrets that I never saw him live. I may have claimed in the past that I did see him once, but if I did, I was lying."(Margrave Of The Marshes, pp. 151-152)

You don't have to go - JIMMY REED

You don't have to go - JIMMY REED

You Don't Have To Go

Jimmy Reed (1925-1976) was one of the generation of electric, urban blues performers who influenced the British rhythm and blues groups of the 1960s, as well as having US chart hits in his own right. These included "Big Boss Man" (later covered by Elvis Presley), "Baby What You Want Me To Do", "Bright Lights, Big City", "Honest I Do" (covered by the Rolling Stones), and "You Don't Have To Go" (covered by the band Peel discovered while working for KMEN in San Bernardino, The Misunderstood). Born in Mississippi, he developed a style based on the repetition of basic blues chords, which was more laid-back than the Chicago blues popularised by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. Alcoholism and illness prevented Jimmy Reed from achieving the level of fame of blues contemporaries such as Waters, Wolf and B.B. King, and he died at the age of 50.

Links To Peel

Jimmy Reed - Too Much

Jimmy Reed - Too Much

Too Much

The Peel quote above is one of the more unusual remarks in Margrave Of The Marshes. During an early Top Gear, Peel claimed on-air that he had seen Jimmy Reed perform live in Dallas, and years later gave a fairly detailed account of his performances:

"I saw Jimmy Reed play a few times when I lived in Dallas, Texas in the 1960s. He always looked as though he was on the verge of death: I mean, he used to play sitting down and he looked terrifically unfit. In fact, he looked as though he'd died and been exhumed on a lot of occasions. But he must have been reasonably fit to play the harmonica note that occurs in the middle of that, because he goes on for quite a long time [1], and those were in the days when you actually had to do it, it couldn't be kind of done in the studio." (03 February 1996 (BFBS))

He had already made this claim on 11 October 1979, perhaps due to his bad memory but possibly as an indication of how highly he rated the artist, for him a bluesman rivalled only by Lightnin' Hopkins. (Similar confusion also existed over whether Peel ever saw Elmore James live, although in that case it appears he didn't. See 05 January 2000.)

Jimmy Reed features in Peel's playlists from the Perfumed Garden in 1967 through to the shows he recorded for BBC World Service in 2004 shortly before going on holiday to Peru that were broadcast after his death, as well as his final Radio One show on 14 October 2004. In 1990, Peel had chosen 'Too Much', later a Peelenium choice for 1963, among his eight Desert Island Discs.

Festive Fifty Entries

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Shows Played

(This list below has been compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and is certainly incomplete. Please add additional information if known.)

  • 12 July 1967: Big Boss Man (LP - The New Jimmy Reed Album) HMV

See Also

External Links

  1. In the same show, Peel times it at 18 and a half seconds.
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