As The Savoys, “…we got quite a few plays, but we didn’t wait to see what was gonna’ happen because all we would ever hear from the record company, Herman Lubinsky of Savoy Records, he would be telling me most of the time that the record was playing down south, and I wanted to hear the record here because I’m in school and it’d be a big deal around the girls (laughs).”Where had they recorded? “We recorded at Bell Sound, at that time it was on 33rd Street and 7th Avenue: it was on the ground floor that you walked in. Eventually Bell Sound moved up to 5oth St., upstairs.
“I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. My uncle was a professor of Music. I first started dancing, and I just hang onto it (I had just watched jimmy doing some athletic steps on video): once you can do something, you can always do it. I picked the tap dancing up when I was a boy down south. You only had one pair of shoes and you wore them on Sunday mostly: you had sneakers so you put the bottle tops underneath your toes to make the tap sound. We were young boys, seven, eight, nine, ten years old, so it was men that really taught us to dance because they really knew how.”
As a young boy Jimmy had toured in a carnival show: “The Haney Brothers show, and I was on with a show they called The Charles A. Taylor Brown Monarchs, and we’d be playin’ different theaters, the one-nighters at that particular time. In the winter time they’d play the theaters, and in the summer time they would go to the carnival show. Then that was a big thing. I just did that one season, because I was still in school.
As a singer Jimmy started in church with his sisters. “ That’s where I was really influenced to sing – they did a lot of gospel singin’ – and we had stars like Arthur Prysock, Louis Jordan, Clyde Mcphatter, Jackie Wilson, and they just gave you good ideas, so what I would do is pick it out between all of them. That’s all that you can do, ‘cause these men are monsters with these voices: what you do is grab what you can and try and create your own style.” Jimmy moved to New York: “I was here since I was a young boy, but I would go back home every summer; they would send me back home to keep me off the streets of New York. So I went to school here but in the Summer I went back home with my mother because she never lived here – it was my sisters that I came here with, my older sisters and brothers.”
THE SPARKS OF RHYTHM
Jimmy’s first group was The Sparks Of Rhythm: “The first thing we did was ‘Hurry Home’ and ‘Don’t Love You Anymore’, those was the two things that I composed. And after that we did ‘Big Mouth Woman’ (‘Woman, Woman, Woman’) and ‘Stars In Sky’. That’s all I ever did with them because I was only with them because I was only with them for the summer of 1955, from the last of April to about the last of October. Then I left them and formed a group because they was really on the kick of The Ink Spots, and I didn’t want that – I wanted to sing rock n roll.”
The Sparks Of Rhythm recorded for Apollo Records, a New York label: “Bessie Berman and Charlie Bernstein, they was the owners. She was the boss – Charlie was just there – and she was a nice lady. I had no problem with her. Apollo had their own recording studio within the company, on the first floor at 11th Ave. and 49th Street. It wasn’t an abandoned building. But they just had one building on the site. They only had two tracks: when I recorded ‘Handy Man’ they only had two tracks! The head of the group was a guy named Floyd Edmonds, and he just had a lot of old ideas, and I just wanted to get away, though as a person he was a nice man. They were older than I was and I just left.
“They wanted me to sing like The Ink Spots’ Bill Kenny – he was a man I idolized, but I didn’t want to sound like him because the time was different.” In terms of ‘live’ work, “…the only time I ever worked with them was at a place they called The Patio, 59th Street. Then we had another job in Washington, DC, and that was the only place. I remember as a little boy, I’d just started wearing a little moustache, and I was on the stage with all these men, and this little girl, no more than 18 – and I was in my teens – said, ‘look at all those old men!’ So I went and chopped the moustache and I haven’t worn it since!”
“But we got tired, thought ‘there’s nothin’ gonna’ happen with this record’, so we went to George Goldner, Rama Records. I sung a couple of things I had composed, ‘I’ve Got To Have You Baby’, ‘Lover’, and he liked what we was doin’. I explained we were under contract with Lubinsky – was it possible we could get off? As it turned out Lubinsky was agreeable…if we could pay him back the money that he had put into the record. George Goldner wrote cheque out, gave it to Lubinsky. Then we all went to record with George Goldner and Morris Levy who then was over at Rama Records. (These two had set it up) with Joe Kolsky.
“We all recorded one night: The Teenagers, The Cleftones, The Pretenders, and a another lady, Mabel King. They released The Teenagers’ record maybe two or three weeks before mine, but we all was working together. Rama was booking all of their acts at theaters, so everybody that was with the company would go into the theater, all on package.” When The Teenagers had ‘I Want You To Be My Baby’, Jimmy had ‘I’ve Got To Have You Baby’:” That was ’56. The place that we recorded for Rama Records was on 50th Street and 8th Avenue. Goldner, he was nice man, a nice person. The only thing I didn’t like about what George Goldner and them did was, after I’d write a song, this was the thing they done: they took all the publishing, which you knew they was gonna’ do that, and then they’d want to take half the writer’s royalties, and it was not just that they wanted to, they did! Like, I’d write the song, and as the writer when it come up, he’d be half writer, and he never put a lyric in the song!”
“This is what they tried to do to me on ‘Handy Man’, with Bernstein, and the Apollo. After the record hit again with James Taylor, He was tryin’ to tell me that his father was a writer on the song – I told him his father did not put a lyric in the song. People just jump outta’ the woodwork! I sued Boy George, for the ‘come-a, come-a’, and I won – that’s from the song. They wanted to know could he have heard that song. I said he sure could have ‘cause I went into the Top Ten in England twice with that song! Columbia got some of the money, but that’s it. I didn’t want no publicity ‘cause things like that do you no good. I just wanted what was rightfully mine.”
The pretenders also had a release on Holiday Records: “I was the producer. It was ‘Tonight’, and a couple or three others. I wrote and produced these. That was with Danny Robinson and Bobby Robinson, They’re both still alive.”
Jones, Jones and Jones are Jimmy's two daughters, Jennifer, Jilliann and his son James Jones, Jr. This trio has worked with their father since they were toddlers. Each bring their own unique style and sound to the songs they sing. James Jr. writes, and performs as his dad's musical director when Jimmy is performing. When you view the Busted Disgusted video that is presented on this website you will see and hear these talented performers.
Jilliann is a writer with a voice that ranges from the highest to the lowest notes. She is a great lover of jazz and holds contemporary gospel in high esteem. Jennifer has a soprano voice that the studio engineers simply love to record. James Jr. a singer, writer and musician. His single The Armor of God, from his original CD, which is displayed on this website portrays his voice and all of the instruments that you hear are played by him. He is a gifted musician, playing the electric keyboard, organ, piano, guitar, bass guitar, violin and drums. He is an arranger and he is sought after to direct choral groups and choirs. This young man has travel around the world with his famous dad and on his own. He presently and be seen playing the nightclub circuit in the New York, New Jersey area.
When this trio, Jones, Jones and Jones get together you can expect to be entertained in a atmosphere of class and great talent. Jones, Jones and Jones - The Jones Family.
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