Jimmy Beasley Biography

c.1925, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Beasley’s early career in music was as a member of vocal groups such as the Aces Quartet and the Sonny Kenner Trio, but he was also a dynamic boogie-woogie piano player. It was this aspect of his talent that took him into the King Perry band in Los Angeles. When he decided to try out on his own it was as a pianist/singer that he began making a mark, aided by a recording contract with Modern Records. This was in New Orleans in the mid-50s and there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to emulate the popularity of Fats Domino. Backed by a studio band led by Dave Bartholomew, Beasley’s records for Modern sold moderately well. Among these were ‘Ella Jane’, ‘Coquette’, ‘Jambalaya’, ‘My Happiness’, ‘Near You’, ‘Thinking Of You’, ‘Johnny’s House Party’ and ‘I Want My Baby (Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea)’. He also recorded ‘Don’t Feel Sorry For Me’, a song that Domino, turning the tables on his emulator, also recorded with rather more success.

Beasley continued playing for several decades, working on into the late 90s, although he made few records after the spell with Modern other than some sides in the mid-60s. Beasley was among several American blues and R&B artists whose records were heard in Jamaica in the late 50s where they influenced a rising generation of musicians who went on to establish ska.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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