Born Oscar James Patton, 28 October 1931, Berwin, Oklahoma
Died 25 June 1989, Portland, Oregon
Jimmy Patton was basically a country singer and not a very successful
one at that, but his claim to fame lies in a couple of ferocious rockabilly
recordings, most notably "Okie's In the Pokie", "Yah! I'm Movin'" and
"Let Me Slide", all of which have been heavily reissued on compilations.
Born on a farm in Oklahoma, Patton and his family moved to Springfield,
Oregon in 1943. It was here that Jimmy began to take music seriously
and took all chances to sing and play wherever he could. He had a job
as a rodeo rider which came to an abrupt end when he broke his arm in
July 1953. Jimmy did his first recording in 1955, for the Sims label which
was then based in Sun Valley, California, although the recordings were
made in Fabor Robinson's home studio in Malibu. Three singles were
released during 1955, the first of which was "Careful" (a duet with Ann
Jones) c/w "Guilty" (Sims 103). This was still old-fashioned hillbilly, sung
in a high pitched voice, not unlike Charlie Feathers' Sun recordings.
Jimmy had the opportunity to appear at the "Big D Jamboree" in Dallas,
Texas, a famous country show. He loved straight hillbilly and country
music, but when Elvis Presley hit the scene with explosive power, Patton
decided to jump on the bandwagon. For some unknown reason, he had
no record releases between 1955 and 1958. He was playing the clubs in
Los Angeles when he was discovered by Woody Fleener, owner of Sage
& Sand Records in Hollywood. Jimmy did not sign with Sage, but he did
record four tracks (all his own compositions) for the label at the Sunset
Recording studio on 5653 Hollywood Boulevard, produced by Fleener.
Guitar wizard Roy Lanham was among the session musicians ; the others
were Freddie Haynes on piano, Lawrence Wootten on bass and Ralph
Gleason on drums.
"Yah! I'm Movin'"/"Love Come Back To Me" was released on Sage 261
(with all four backing musicians receiving label credit!) in early 1958 and
sold about 2000 copies. "I'm Not Chuckin'" came out on a Various artists
LP in 1959 (Sage LP 22), while the fourth track from this session, "Let Me
Slide" was first released by Ronnie Weiser in 1972 on a Rollin' Rock EP,
along with the three other Sage & Sand tracks.
Jimmy's next session took place in Phoenix, Arizona, probably in 1959,
with Donnie Owens on lead guitar. Owens plays on many Jamie recordings
by Duane Eddy and also had a few singles released as a singer under his
own name, including the # 25 hit "Need You" (1958). Out of this session
came the frantic "Okie's In the Pokie", of which two versions exist. The
first one came out on the small Hilligan label and has a brief spoken intro
that is missing from the later release on Sims 117 (September 1960, with
a different B-side). Mysteriously, on the Sims version the writers are listed
as Patton-Sims and on the Hilligan single as Patton-Gibbs. Sheldon Gibbs
was a drummer and bandleader from Phoenix. The Hilligan label lists Gibbs
as the producer and the artist as Jimmie (!) Patton. (It is details like this
that make those label shots on Terry Gordon's site so fascinating.)
Though "Okie's In the Pokie" was probably his biggest seller, Jimmy made
no further attempts to record rock 'n' roll. By the time of his next session, he
had switched to country and did an entire album, called "Take 30 Minutes
With Jimmy Patton" (Stereotone LP 1002, 1961). These tracks (recorded in
Bakersfield, California, with his own band) are miles removed from the rather
primitive 1955 recordings and show Patton to have a strong, expressive voice
with a very wide range. "Taxes Are Going Up Again" was selected as a single
release from the LP.
A second album, "Blue Darling" was cut at Columbia Studios in Nashville
and released in early 1965 (Sims LP 127). Session men included Autry Inman
and Billy Grammer (guitars) and Hargus 'Pig' Robbins (piano). Jimmy would
later reissue the LP, with two extra tracks, on his own Sourdough label. Come
1967, Patton recorded for the Moon label (of Portland, Oregon), where he had
two albums released (1967, 1976) and at least four singles.
After a temporary retirement from the music business, Jimmy went back to
performing in 1981 and recorded a couple of cassettes that he sold at shows.
According to Groovy Joe Poovey, Patton had a terrific stage show.
In the mid-1980s he was involved in a serious car crash, but made a recovery.
In June 1989, Patton was on his way home from a show when a drunk driver
drove through the red light and hit Jimmy's van in full speed. Jimmy was taken
to Emanuel Hospital in Portland where he died a few days later. A gifted singer
and songwriter had passed away too early.
CD : Jimmy Patton, Yah ! I'm Movin' (Star-Club CD 506009, Sweden).
Released in 1999. 25 tracks from 1955-1976.
Acknowledgements : Bo Berglind and Claes Olofsson, Liner notes for the
Discography : http://koti.mbnet.fi/wdd/jimmypatton.htm (By Pete Hoppula.)
More info on the availablity of his recordings on Terry Gordon's website :