Nashville, mid-1950s. From left: Billy Byrd, Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Simpson. Courtesy Jimmy Simpson. (Click on image to view full size.)
Jimmy Simpson and the Oilfield Playboys - Blue As I Can Be / Just the Kind of Man (Jiffy 210)
"Blue As I Can Be"
Jimmy Simpson, Tennessee honky tonk singer, Texas oilfield wildcatter, and Canadian gold digger made this one superb session in a West Monroe, Louisiana radio station studio in 1956 with Bobby Garrett (steel) and Leo Jackson (lead guitar), both on hiatus from Jim Reeves' Blue Boys. Records and gigs weren't paying Jimmy's rent, so he picked up jobs working in Texas oil fields for much of the 1950s, before moving to Alaska in 1957.
"I lived at Greggton, Texas (in 1956-57)," Jimmy said in an interview. "We were on our way back from Nashville to San Angelo, and we stopped at Greggton…little town just out of Longview. We had everything we owned in the car. I had my work shoes and my hardhat, ‘cause I could always go to work on an oil rig if everything else failed. In a little restaurant there in Greggton, there was a driller in there that was short-handed, and I overheard ‘em talking. I walked over there and said, “You looking for a derrick man?” He said, “Yeah. You got your work shoes and hardhat with you?” I said, “I got it all underneath the trunk of my car.”
At the time of this session, Jimmy was appearing at the famed Reo Palm Isle club in Longview. "That’s Bobby and Leo (on the session). I forget who that bass player was. He was from Monroe. I’m on rhythm guitar. I didn’t carry a fiddle at that time, but when I was in San Angelo at the Peacock Club, I had two steels and a fiddle. Everybody else would talk about two fiddles. I didn’t make any money up there myself. I was working on an oil rig. But I thought it would be different... Jiffy (Fowler) was a jukebox operator. I just kind of stumbled into him. It was a disc jockey there in Monroe, Ed Hamilton, who set us up in there and turned us loose...You know why that 'Blue As I Can Be' come by? Johnny Horton’s 'I’m a Honky-Tonk Man.'" Two other songs recorded at this session were released on Big State 595 in the Starday custom series.
Billboard, Feb. 3, 1958.
Below: Bobby Garrett and Leo Jackson in the late 1950s. (Click on image for full size view.)