Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Southern Soul of Jimmy Lewis

Jimmy Lewis - The Girls From Texas

Soul singer/songwriter Jimmy Lewis' most prolific period as a recording artist came in the last decade or so of his life, with several soul-blues albums on his own Miss Butch label. Although several soul-blues hits came out of those recordings, most notably the double-entendre "No Chicken Wings" ("I'm a breast man, I'm a thigh man," Lewis sings) and the "mama's baby, papa's maybe" tale "That Baby Ain't Black Enough," Lewis' legacy lay in the writer's credits for hits by artists such as Ray Charles (who recorded a whole album of Lewis originals, Doing His Thing, which gave Ray and Jimmy a duet hit with "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck"). As a solo artist, however, his wry, observational lyrics and Sam Cooke-meets-Ray Charles vocals graced some great recordings on Four-J, Tangerine, Minit (for whom he recorded today's selection), Buddah, Volt and Hotlanta (for whom he cut his only album of the classic soul era, 1974's Totally Involved), and two great Kent CDs, Still Wanna Be Black and Give the Poor Man a Break, feature scads of awesome but erstwhile unreleased material.

"The Girls From Texas" was written by Lewis, Jimmy Holiday (who also wrote for Ray Charles and others) and Cliff Chambers, and finds Lewis telling a humorous tale of an inescapable love affair. It's pure country soul, an approach Lewis would later apply to the classic "String Bean" on Buddah.


Anonymous said...

"She bought a razor, about 10 inches or so". Man, that is a serious song. Love this song. Got a question, is this the same Jimmy Lewis that did the soundtrack to the unseen blaxploitation movie Solomon King? thanks for the song...

The Stepfather of Soul said...

I don't think so ... there was also a jazz bassist named Jimmy Lewis ... perhaps it was him.