Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs

Jimmy Witherspoon Songs

Feature Photo: Lioneldecoster, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list focuses on a legendary jump blues singer known for his distinctive vocals. Jimmy Witherspoon knew how to make a song his own. His smooth and baritone voice could melt butter. Jimmy Witherspoon knew how to push the envelope with his vocals. When a track called for it, he knew when to shout and to hold back. The artist knew how to turn a phrase with his raspy vocals. During his career, he worked with phenomenal musicians to create magical music. The world noticed him when he recorded his first hit single, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” in 1949. It remains one of his signature songs. He followed the hit with four more Top 10 singles.

Jimmy Witherspoon may not be the first person you think of when you think of blues singers, but his voice speaks to you. You feel his presence as soon as he sings. At one point, he was one of the best singers in blues music. Jimmy Witherspoon was known for singing blues and jazz music. His work became a vital part of blues and jazz music.

The blues shouter was born between August 8, 1920, and 1923 and died September 18, 1997. He grew up singing in a church choir. When he was a teenager, he pursued a singing career. He ran away to Los Angeles. After watching Big Joe Turner perform, he wanted to become a blues singer. He sang at clubs until he got his big break. Jimmy Witherspoon met bandleader Jay McShann and worked with him for four years. He eventually left his band to record as a soloist. In 1949, he recorded songs that didn’t become hits. Jimmy Witherspoon recorded his version of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” The single peaked at number one on the R&B charts. It remained on the charts for an impressive 34 months. At the time, it was the longest-charting R&B single.

His next single, “In the Evening,” reached number five on the R&B charts. After the release of his hit singles, he recorded several albums on different labels. During the 50s, he struggled to make hit songs, so he worked in small black-owned clubs. He played in a small band with blues pianist Charles Brown. In 1959, he played in a group that included tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, alto saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, clarinetist Woody Herman, trombonist Urbie Green, and pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines. His performance with the talented artists put him back in the spotlight. Jimmy Witherspoon received a contract and performed for larger audiences.

Jimmy Witherspoon traveled and toured successfully in Europe. The 1970s proved to be successful for the artist. He recorded the song “Love Is a Five Letter Word.” Unfortunately, his career stalled when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He had to stop recording music because he had to get a throat operation and radiation treatment. After several years, he regained the ability to sing. The vocalist sang in a lower key. In 1986, he recorded the album Midnight Lady Called the Blues. Things picked up for Jimmy Witherspoon in the 90s. He toured with singer Van Morrison and appeared on his album. Jimmy Witherspoon headlined tours to promote his previous recordings.

The vocalist returned to his blues shouting by re-recording his previous work. He received a Grammy Nomination for his Live at the Mint album. People enjoyed the album and introduced him to a new group of fans. He recorded the album The Blues, The Whole Blues, and Nothin’ But the Blues in1992. Jimmy Witherspoon recorded his last album in 1995 called Spoons Blues. He passed away in September 1997.

His loss left a hole in the jazz and blues genres. Our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list gives flowers to a man who put his heart and soul into the music business. He may be gone, but his legacy lives on through his music. He showed the world that he was a talent for music fans of all ages.

# 10 – New Orleans Woman

The tenth pick on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list is “New Orleans Woman” from the Gone with the Blues album. He recorded the song in 1950. The song describes a man upset about a New Orleans woman who broke his heart. When she hurt him, he decided to let her go. It was time for him to leave her because she ruined his life. He would prefer to leave than let her make a fool out of him.

“New Orleans Woman” tells a tale about a man betrayed by the woman he loves. He decides to put himself first and break up with her instead of putting up with her antics. We love how Jimmy Witherspoon chose to put himself before her. He didn’t want to let her break his heart, so he left her. We applaud him for not taking what she did. Surprisingly, the track has an upbeat sound that misleads you into thinking it’s a happy song. The instrumentation infuses blues and R&B music. It has a peppy beat that invites you to the dance floor. You may find yourself smiling while listening to the jam. The music dominates the song, which allows you to focus on it. Jimmy Witherspoon’s vocals take a back seat to the music, but he sounds phenomenal. The legendary artist sounds like a man fed up with heartbreak.

# 9 – Goin’ Down Slow

The ninth pick on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list is “Goin’ Down Slow” from the Blues Around the Clock album. He released the track in 1964. The song is about a man living his life to the fullest. He felt like he lived his life without regret. His life rivaled kings and queens. The singer embraced the fun times he had. His life is fading, so he must slow down. As the song continues, he talks about spending money like a millionaire. If he saved his money, he would be a millionaire. Women used to throw themselves at him. He wants his mother to know he’s sick so she can pray for him.

The melancholy song talks about a man living a fast life. He reflects on what he did in the past. His life flashes before his eyes. The lyrics teach you about responsibility and mortality. We love tracks that make you think about life. You never know when your time is up, so it encourages listeners to focus on their life choices. The melodic instrumentation fits with the melancholy theme. It allows you to reflect on your life. The spectacular musical pauses make the song come to life. Jimmy Witherspoon gave a subdued performance, which brings more depth to the track. We applaud Jimmy Witherspoon for holding back vocally because it kept the song from getting over the top.

# 8 – You’re Next

“You’re Next” is the eighth track on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list. It appears on the Some of My Friends Are the Blues album. He premiered the tune in 1965. The song is about a man talking to his ex’s next lover. He talks about the things she used to do with him that she does with her new man. As the song progresses, the singer warns the next man that she will break his heart the way she broke his. If he wants to play the fool, the singer won’t stop him.

The dramatic song is about a man warning his former flame’s next lover that she will break his heart. We love the drama in the track. Jimmy Witherspoon tells a fascinating story that holds our attention until the end. The lyrics take a mysterious turn after the chorus. At first, it appears like he’s heartbroken that his lover has moved on with another man. After the chorus, he reveals that she will break the next man’s heart the way she broke his. The lyrics have a soap opera feel, and we love it. Jimmy Witherspoon changed things up with this song. Instead of having a blues sound, it features R&B music. It was an extraordinary change of pace because it allowed fans to hear something different. Jimmy Witherspoon changed his vocal style by singing softly instead of belting. He shows versatility by singing in a different key. We love it when artists switch things up and surprise us with their vocal abilities.

# 7 – Times Gettin’ Tougher Than Tough

“Times Getting’ Tougher Than Tough” is from The Concerts. It debuted in 1960. The song discusses a man who lost his girlfriend because he didn’t have enough money for her. He makes money, but he can’t hold on to it. Prices are too high. He feels he can’t afford to live, but he must try. It costs too much to die. Politicians want people to cut out meat from their diets. He feels they should cut prices and allow people to eat.

The track has a political message about inflation. With rising prices, Jimmy Witherspoon has trouble holding on to relationships. Jimmy Witherspoon was ahead of his time with the track because inflation remains a factor today. People break up because of money, so Jimmy Witherspoon knew what he was saying. We give the vocalist credit for recording a song that works today. He recorded a creative way to end a relationship. The music has a classic blues and jazz sound. It features sizzling piano chords and guitar riffs. The saxophonist could teach lessons on playing. Jimmy Witherspoon features his blues shouter vocals. He doesn’t go overboard singing loudly, which makes sense because the music is soft.

# 6 – Love Is a Five Letter Word

“Love Is a Five Letter Word” is from the album of the same name. It debuted in 1975. The song is about a man talking about love costing money. If you don’t have money, you won’t have love. He describes how people only love you when you have cash. Jimmy Witherspoon describes the things you won’t have if you don’t have money.

The late-great artist was ahead of his time with this track. He put gold digging under a microscope. Some people choose money over love, which he describes in the tune. Jimmy Witherspoon recorded the song decades ago, but the message works today. We love how he calls out people who choose money over love. He knew what he was saying when he recorded the song. It infuses blues and R&B music to create its sound. The guitarist and saxophonist stand out in the bridge. Jimmy Witherspoon’s smooth vocals shine throughout the track. He sounds like he experienced the situation. Jimmy Witherspoon takes you to church with his gut-punching vocals. The background singers do an excellent job supporting him in the chorus.

# 5 – I Never Will Marry

The fifth pick on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list is from the Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues album. He released the track in 1965. The lyrics talk about a man dealing with a breakup. People told him love is a good thing. Love only brought him pain. The only woman he ever loved walked out on him. She got on a plane and disappeared from his life. He never plans to get married. The singer wants to remain single for the rest of his life.

“I Never Will Marry” focuses on a man with a broken heart. The pain made him feel like love wasn’t meant for him. Anyone who experiences heartbreak knows how he feels. It makes you reluctant to love, which Jimmy Witherspoon describes in the song. He lets you know you’re not alone when it concerns heartbreak. It features deep lyrics that put a spotlight on heartbreak. The lyrics teach you to accept when love is over. It resonates with anyone dealing with pain and heartache. The commanding blues ballad touches your heart if you experience heartache. His soulful delivery makes the song come to life. He reels you in with his smooth and baritone vocals. Jimmy Witherspoon makes you sit up and take notice of his outstanding voice. The music takes a back seat to his vocals, which allows you to focus on his exquisite voice.

# 4 – Big Fine Girl

“Big Fine Girl” is from The Concerts album. It premiered in 1952. The lyrics discuss a man admiring his girlfriend. He loves the way she looks and doesn’t want anyone but his girlfriend. She pleases him all the time. He describes her beauty from head to toe. There is no one else like her.

The romantic song describes his feelings for his girlfriend. He loves her physical appearance. The singer desires her. She brings joy to his life. The lyrics talk about a physical and emotional connection to someone you love. If you love someone physically and emotionally, you know what Jimmy Witherspoon is saying. Jimmy Witherspoon takes his time describing the woman he loves. He makes you want to hear more of the story. Jimmy Witherspoon does a fantastic job reeling listeners in with his compelling story of infatuation. It features Jimmy Witherspoon’s signature blues shouting, which fits with the loud instrumentation. The quick song leaves you wanting more.

# 3 – No Rollin’ Blues

Occupying the third spot on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list is “No Rollin’ Blues” from the album of the same name. He recorded the song in 1960. Jimmy Witherspoon tells a story about a cheating woman. He loved her but caught her running around. The story begins with a man getting yelled at by his woman. He advises men to walk away if their girlfriends keep yelling at them. As far as he’s concerned, she’s cheating on him. He went to see his girlfriend, but she refused to let him in. She told him goodbye and didn’t need him anymore. He feels women will leave you feeling bad. She might regret her decision one day.

“No Rollin’ Blues” reads as a warning about people who cheat. Recognizing the signs puts you ahead of the game. Jimmy Witherspoon gives listeners warning signs of cheating. He gave an honest portrayal of a man burned by infidelity. The singer takes us on an emotional journey we don’t want to end. It features dramatic instrumentation that fits the theme like a hand-in-glove. Jimmy Witherspoon remains in character from beginning to end. You hear the sadness in his vocals as he recites the story. Jimmy Witherspoon takes you to church with his belting. The blues ballad leaves a lasting impression on listeners.

# 2 – Evenin’

“Evenin’” is from the Evenin’ Blues album. It debuted in 1964. The song is about a man heartbroken over losing the woman he loves. His heart feels empty without her in his life. He thinks about happy times with her. Unfortunately, it reminds him that she’s gone. Moving on without her becomes difficult for him. He prays for the Lord to take him because he can’t spend another day without her.

The compelling song talks about losing someone you love. It features cryptic lyrics because the singer doesn’t reveal how she left his life. It leaves you wondering if they broke up or if she passed away. Listening to the lyrics may break your heart, especially if you lost someone close to you. The track resonates with anyone who lost the love of their life. It features sobering music, which fits with the theme. The electrifying harmonica and stellar guitar riffs hit a home run. His dramatic vocals hit the ball out of the park. He gives the song the right emotion to pull it off. The vocalist sounds heartbroken as he talks about the tearjerker.

# 1 – Ain’t Nobody’s Business

The number one pick on our Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs list is “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” from the Singin’ the Blues album. He recorded the song in 1949. The song is about people minding their business. If he and his girlfriend fight, no one needs to know. Their love is true despite what other people think.

“Ain’t Nobody’s Business” tells a story about respecting boundaries. People have the right to privacy, and no one should stand in the way. In the song, he describes people getting involved in his relationship. He wants his relationship to stay private. Everyone wants privacy in their relationship, and no one has the right to judge it. We applaud Jimmy Witherspoon for recording a song that remains relevant today. It’s a blues classic by a master vocalist. The song gained a new light when it appeared in movies. Jimmy Witherspoon features his legendary blues shouting throughout the track. We couldn’t complete our list without including Jimmy Witherspoon’s signature song. It shows what type of singer he was.

 Top 10 Jimmy Witherspoon Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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