Good Times with the Handy Man: 1955-1960

Good Times with the Handy Man: 1955-1960

by Jimmy "Handy Man" JonesJimmy "Handy Man" Jones


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Best known for his 1960 R&B hit "Handy Man," Jimmy Jones started his singing career in 1954 when he joined the doo wop group the Berliners, who became the Spirits of Rhythm, and then became the Sparks of Rhythm when they signed with Apollo Records, releasing a pair of singles under that name with Jones, then only 14 years old, as lead singer. He left to form another doo wop group, signing them to Savoy Records (who promptly named the new group the Savoys) and released another couple of singles. The group left Savoy, and now calling themselves the Pretenders, signed with George Goldner's Rama Records, again releasing a couple of singles before moving on to record one single for Whirlin' Disc Records, and then, now calling themselves the Jones Boys, they tracked sides for the Holiday, Apt, and Arrow imprints before Jones gave up on the group idea and went solo in 1959, signing with the MGM-owned Cub Records. Working with producer Otis Blackwell, Jones hit it big right out of the box with his self-penned "Handy Man" that year, and the single was an international hit (as well as spawning later cover versions by Del Shannon and James Taylor that were also big hits). This two-disc set combines the key Jones sides from all of these groups and labels (no doubt a licensing miracle) between 1955 and 1960, and makes for an in-depth and chronological portrait of this sweet-voiced and compelling singer at his best and in his prime.

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