Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jimmy Simpson on Jiffy 210

Nashville, mid-1950s. From left: Billy Byrd, Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Simpson. Courtesy Jimmy Simpson. (Click on image to view full size.)

Jimmy Simpson and the Oilfield Playboys - Blue As I Can Be / Just the Kind of Man (Jiffy 210)

"Blue As I Can Be"

Jimmy Simpson, Tennessee honky tonk singer, Texas oilfield wildcatter, and Canadian gold digger made this one superb session in a West Monroe, Louisiana radio station studio in 1956 with Bobby Garrett (steel) and Leo Jackson (lead guitar), both on hiatus from Jim Reeves' Blue Boys. Records and gigs weren't paying Jimmy's rent, so he picked up jobs working in Texas oil fields for much of the 1950s, before moving to Alaska in 1957.

"I lived at Greggton, Texas (in 1956-57)," Jimmy said in an interview. "We were on our way back from Nashville to San Angelo, and we stopped at Greggton…little town just out of Longview. We had everything we owned in the car. I had my work shoes and my hardhat, ‘cause I could always go to work on an oil rig if everything else failed. In a little restaurant there in Greggton, there was a driller in there that was short-handed, and I overheard ‘em talking. I walked over there and said, “You looking for a derrick man?” He said, “Yeah. You got your work shoes and hardhat with you?” I said, “I got it all underneath the trunk of my car.”

At the time of this session, Jimmy was appearing at the famed Reo Palm Isle club in Longview. "That’s Bobby and Leo (on the session). I forget who that bass player was. He was from Monroe. I’m on rhythm guitar. I didn’t carry a fiddle at that time, but when I was in San Angelo at the Peacock Club, I had two steels and a fiddle. Everybody else would talk about two fiddles. I didn’t make any money up there myself. I was working on an oil rig. But I thought it would be different... Jiffy (Fowler) was a jukebox operator. I just kind of stumbled into him. It was a disc jockey there in Monroe, Ed Hamilton, who set us up in there and turned us loose...You know why that 'Blue As I Can Be' come by? Johnny Horton’s 'I’m a Honky-Tonk Man.'" Two other songs recorded at this session were released on Big State 595 in the Starday custom series.

Billboard, Feb. 3, 1958.
Below: Bobby Garrett and Leo Jackson in the late 1950s. (Click on image for full size view.)

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Blogger bopping said...

Hi! Andrew
GREAT SITE you have - Wooh, lot of first-hand info, fine pictures. And you review one of my favorites, Jimmy Simpson' Jiffy 45...I am about to post his story on my site
Keep up the good work, and thanks (nice looking site too)
Xavier (France

September 14, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger bopping said...

Hi! Andrew
Do you can help with a picture of Simpson's Caprock # 113 (I'm an oilfield boy/Breaker of my heart)? I have the music (thanks Hillbilly Researcher), not the label...This is for the story about Simpson I intend to publish on my website Thanks in advance

April 7, 2010 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger bopping said...

Hi! Andrew
This is the text of the email I just sent you. Do you allow me to use parts of your article on Jimmy Simpson published by American Music Magazine in 2006, for an article on my site ? Of course you will be credited. You have done a very nice research (and interviews too) on Simpson. Thanks in advance.

April 26, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger AB said...

Xavier, no problem using the American Music article for your site.

May 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great articles/interviews. Thank you. Do you by chance know if jimmy is still alive? We haven't been in touch with him for 4-5 years and stopped by Dawson this summer to see him. Folks there said he hadn't been back for 3 years or so. I can't find anything on the web and all our mutual aquaintences are long gone. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

September 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Mellow said...

Is this the same Bobby Garrett that recorded for a couple of Arkansas labels? United Southern and E&M? Certainly this guy was also associated with the Thunderbirds from ARK.

September 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Moore. I am the niece of Jimmy Simpson. I am sorry to report he passed away on September 14, 2014. His services will be this afternoon and he will be laid to rest tomorrow morning. He was a wonderful person and will be missed by so any.

September 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last sentence should read He was a wonderful person and will be missed by so many.

September 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM  

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