Died 3 August 2011, Little Rock, Arkansas
Jimmy Evans was born into a musical family where every member played an instrument. He would develop into a multi-instrumentalist who played guitar, bass, piano, drums and steel guitar. Thanks to one of his aunts, he got the chance to audition for Sun Records. Sam Phillips used him occasionally as a session man and demo singer, but did not record him as a vocalist. Jimmy's sole vocal contribution to a Sun recording is the harmony vocal on "Mad At You" by Mack Self (recorded in 1957, released in 1959). At Sun he met Conway Twitty, another singer who tried in vain to get a record released on the famous yellow label. Evans joined Twitty's band as a bass player and stayed with him when Conway moved to Mercury in 1957. The B-side of one of Twitty's Mercury recordings, "Why Can't I Get Through To You" (71384) was written by Jimmy Evans.
In 1959, guitarist Jimmy Ray Paulman, who had also played in Conway Twitty's band, persuaded him to join him in Ronnie Hawkins' band, the Hawks. Evans moved to Canada and toured with Ronnie for about nine months. He played bass on three 1959 sessions by Hawkins. His replacement in the Hawks was Robbie Robertson.
Back in the USA, Jimmy was still looking for his own record deal. In 1962, he finally got the chance to record a song he had written several years earlier, called "The Joint's Really Jumpin'". At the advice of Gene Simmons, he took it to Clearmont Records in Memphis, one of the labels owned by Marshall Erwin Ellis. Gene's brother Carl Simmons played lead guitar on the session, Jimmy Wilson was the pianist, Jimmy Van Eaton the drummer and Jesse Carter played bass, while Evans accompanied his own vocals on rhythm guitar. The result was a fine piece of rock n roll that you would associate with 1957 rather than 1962. The track has been heavily reissued in the CD era, but sales at the time were minimal. For some reason unknown to me, "The Joint's Really Jumpin'" also came out on the Caveman label from Wolf Lake, IL, with the same catalogue number as the Clearmont single (502). This was followed by another R&R- styled recording, "Messy Bassy" (Shimmy 1054), recorded at the Fernwood studio, which didn't sell either. In 1987, Dutchman Cees Klop included it on the LP "Memphis, Rock and Roll Capital Of the World, Vol. 5" (White Label LP 8918), along with four other tracks by Jimmy, among which "Dudley Do-Rite", the opening track of the album. "Dudley Do-Rite" (described elsewhere on the Web as "odd but appealing") had been recorded for Shelby Smith's Rebel label.
Between 1965 and 1980, Jimmy released a few country singles, sometimes using the name Jimmy Dale Evans, and for the single "Nashville Woman"/"45 Until" (Rivertown 103) the pseudonym Lattie Lane.
In 1982, Jimmy wrote and recorded the extraordinary 1950's throwback "Pink Cadillac" (Twin TR 11982). An amazing record for its time. It is currently available on the CD "Memphis Rockabillies, Hillbillies & Honky Tonkers, Vol. 5" (Stomper Time STCD 21), which came out in 2006. The CD also includes - along with seven other tracks by Jimmy - an alternative version of "Pink Cadillac", featuring harmony vocals by two members of the Beach Boys, who happened to be in the studio at the time Jimmy recorded his masterpiece. Evans plays all instruments on "Pink Cadillac", except drums.
In 1994, Bert Rookhuizen of Rockhouse Records in the Netherlands, released a 16-track CD by Jimmy, called "The Joint's Really Jumpin'" (Rockhouse 9409). The 1960s recordings were complemented by "Pink Cadillac" and titles recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis in 1994. A CD with new country and rockabilly material, "Arkansas' Been Rockin'" appeared in 2004 (JAG Records 009). The title track relates his experiences at Sun in the fifties. More about the CD and about Jimmy's career at http://www.rockabillyeurope.com/?reviews/arkansasbeenrockin.htm Nowadays, Evans lives in Helena, Arkansas, and still performs now and then around the Arkansas area.