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About The Artist
Jimmy Pruett was a native of Los Angeles, California. When he was growing up, he felt inclined to learn all that he could about playing the guitar and practiced til he mastered it.
When he was nine, he got a boost from Stuart Hamblen, who recognized Jimmy's talents. Stuart had Jimmy appearing on his show every Saturday morning over radio station KMJ out of Fresno, California.
Later on, Jimmy got a big boost from Jimmy Wakely, who at the time, was playing with his band at the Old Casa Manana in Culver City, California. From there, Jimmy appeared on recordings with folks like T. Texas Tyler, Merle Lindsay, Les Anderson and Spade Cooley (on Spade's square dance album).
Jimmy also did some guest star appearances on such shows as the Leo Carrilo Dude Ranch TV show, other Western music radio shows, including one hosted by the "Squeakin' Deacon".
Jimmy's guitar playing got the folks to stand up and take notice. Folks always seemed amazed to find out that he was blind and could play the guitar the way he did. His rendition of "Water Baby Blues" got the crowd to stompin' their feet to the music. And he was also equally accomplished on the piano.
In 1952, he was working with Red Kirk's band and appearing Friday and Saturday nights at the Town Hall Party in Compton, California. Other members of Red's band back then were Karon O'Hara, female vocalist; Billy Hill, fiddle; Sam Leichter, fiddle; Joe Cozzo, accordion; and Jimmy was playing the piano.
Jimmy was managed by his sister, Ella Ree who also took him to his personal appearances.
We last find mention of Jimmy in a 1964 article about Hank Thompson which mentions Jimmy was on Hank's recording session and was accompanied by his sister. Jimmy played piano on that session. The author of that article, Bill A. Wheeler, noted that when Jimmy was playing the piano, his "...fingers hover over the eighty-eight like tranquilized mother hens." We'll take it that Mr. Wheeler meant that as a compliment.
Credits & Sources