Born James Wiley Bullington, 9 February 1925, Senath, Missouri.
Jimmy Edwards had his fifteen minutes of fame at the dawn of 1958, when his "Love Bug Crawl" spent three weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at # 78. Apart from that one minor hit, his recordings have been difficult to obtain. Until now that is, as Bear Family has collected his entire recorded output on a CD that was issued in January 2010.
Born Jim Bullington in Senath, Missouri, Jimmy Edwards was raised on a farm in nearby Cardwell. He sang country music at annual jamborees in Columbus and reportedly took a course in musical theory at Arkansas State College. He then was drafted into the Combat Engineers. On discharge, he settled in Flint, Michigan, where he worked for General Motors' Buick division. On the Buick assembly line he met Bill Lamb, a deejay on Flint's WKMF (later WBBC) and record shop owner who also had a recording studio. Bullington and his co-writer, Jack Foshee, approached Lamb with two songs they had written, "Love Bug Crawl" and "The Way To My Heart" and these were recorded with some local guys in Flint, in an unadulterated rockabilly style. Together, the three men set up their own record label, Wednesday Records, but failed to give the single an issue number. Five hundred copies were pressed (by RCA's custom pressing division) for local consumption, credited to Jim Bullington. The record aroused the interest of Jim Minor and Bob Cloud, who owned Mayflower Music in Flint and signed Bullington to their publishing company. Their next step was to have "Love Bug Crawl" re-recorded in Nashville (with Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer and Buddy Harman, among others), this time coupled with "Honey Lovin'", also written by Bullington. The masters were sold to Mercury in a deal which also got Bullington a new artist name, Jimmy Edwards. The two versions of "Love Bug Crawl" are very similar, although the re-recording has a much improved guitar break. The Wednesday single now fetches prices of $ 400 and up. Released in October 1957, the Mercury version charted in January 1958, partly due to Shelby Singleton's plugging the disc on his first assignment as Mercury's southern promotion man. At that time, Edwards was not driving a truck, as has been reported, but was working at Buick. Mercury whisked him out onto the road and Jimmy joined Irvin Feld's Greatest Teenage Recording Stars tour, which starred Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Eddie Cochran, Danny and the Juniors and many others. Edwards also appeared on Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand' and on the Louisiana Hayride. "Love Bug Crawl" was also released in the UK where it attracted cover versions by Marty Wilde and Wee Willie Harris.
Edwards's next two releases, "My Honey"/"Golden Ruby Blue" (Mercury 71272) and "Do That Again"/"Wedding Band" (Mercury 71348), both from 1958 were enjoyable, but failed to make waves. Working on Edwards' sessions, Chet Atkins had come to believe that the singer might have another hit in him and signed him to RCA when his one-year term with Mercury was up. For the first RCA single, Atkins secured a song by Otis Blackwell, "Your Love Is A Good Love" (RCA 47-7597). The next RCA session (January 1960) was entrusted to Jack Clement and resulted in the single "Live And Let Live"/ "Rosie Lee". The third tune from this session, unreleased at the time, was Cliff Thomas' "Sorry I Lied", a song that Clement had produced at Sun (or Phillips International, to be exact). Edwards' version stays very close to the original, not least due to the fact that the same pianist was employed, Cliff's brother Ed Thomas, who also wrote the song. RCA Victor gave Jimmy one last shot in June 1960, which again produced one single ("Silver Slippers"/ "What Do You Want From Me") and one unreleased track ("Recipe Of Love" - now on the Bear Family CD). Apparently, "Silver Slippers" sold well in some areas, but not enough for RCA to extend Edwards' contract. Jimmy would not record again and signed back on at Buick. In 1973, he took his last shot in the music business when he pitched a song to Jack Clement, then producing Charley Pride. That song, "Comin' Down With Love", headlined Pride's # 1 country album "Amazing Love". Edwards is now retired and lives in New Port Richey on Florida's Gulf Coast.
His Bear Family CD, called "Love Bug Crawl" (BCD 16621) contains 18 tracks, four of them previously unissued. Liner notes by Colin Escott. Recommended, especially if you're a fan of the Nashville A-team.
More info : http://rcs-discography.com/rcs/artists/b/bull1000.htm (Terry Gordon)
Acknowledgements : Colin Escott, Bill Millar.
(With thanks to Eric LeBlanc for the correct year of birth. Edwards himself claims that he was born in 1933.)
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