One of the great post-war blues shouters, Jimmy
Witherspoon, or 'Spoon, as he's known throughout the jazz
and blues world, straddled the line between blues and jazz,
becoming an integral participant in the history of both of
these classic genres of American music.
Born August 8, 1923, in Gurdon, Arkansas, the young
James Witherspoon sang in church choirs much like his
railroad worker father. Confidence came early as he won
first prize in a singing competition at the age of five. While in
his teens, Witherspoon decided to try his luck pursuing a
singing career and ran away to Los Angeles. It was there
that he decided to become a blues singer after seeing a
performance by Big Joe Turner.
Bouncing around from job to job and not having much
success as a singer, Witherspoon joined the merchant
marines in 1941