You may well have never heard of St Louis Jimmy Oden, but we guarantee you will have heard a classic that he wrote.
He was born in 1903 in Nashville and died 74 years later in Chicago. He was orphaned when he was very young and moved to St Louis in his mid-teens and later taught himself the piano. He worked with Big Joe Williams in St Louis in the 1920s, before moving to Chicago in the 1930s where he worked with Roosevelt Sykes. He was a prolific song writer and he recorded his most well known song in November 1941 and shortly afterwards Bluebird released ‘Going Down Slow’ by St Louis Jimmy on which Sykes played piano.
In the post war era he wrote songs for Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and James Cotton. Jimmy even lived in Muddy’s basement after he had a car accident and paid his rent by giving Muddy songs.
‘Goin’ Down Slow’ has been recorded by many artists, including an outstanding version by Howlin’ Wolf. Often others changed the title of the song, including Little Walter who recorded it as, ‘I Had My Fun’. Those that recorded ‘Goin Down Slow’ straight included Free on their debut album, BB King with Bobby Bland, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Canned Heat, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Long John Baldry and Duane Allman. Led Zeppelin recorded it as part of a live medley with ‘Whole Lotta Love’