James Burke "St. Louis Jimmy" Oden (June 26, 1903 – December 30, 1977) was an American blues vocalist and songwriter.
, Oden sang
and taught himself to play the piano in childhood. In his teens, he left home
to go to Nashville, Tennessee,
(c. 1917) where piano-based blues was prominent. He was able to develop his
vocal talents and began performing with the pianist, Roosevelt Sykes. After
more than ten years playing in and around St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis,
in 1933 he and Sykes decided to move on to Chicago.
was dubbed St. Louis Jimmy and there he would enjoy a solid performing and
recording career for the next four decades. While Chicago
became his home base, Oden traveled with a group of blues players to various
places throughout the United States.
He recorded a large number of records, his best known coming in 1941 on the
Bluebird Records label called "Goin' Down Slow." Oden wrote a number
of songs, two of which, "Take the Bitter with the Sweet" and
"Soon Forgotten," were recorded by his friend, Muddy Waters.
In 1948 on Aristocrat Records Oden cut "Florida Hurricane", accompanied by the pianist Sunnyland Slim and the guitarist Muddy Waters.
In 1949, Oden partnered with Joe Brown to form a small recording company called J.O.B. Records. Oden appears to have ended his involvement within a year, but with other partners the company remained in business till 1974.
After a serious road accident in 1957 he devoted himself to writing and placed material with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf ("What a Woman!") and John Lee Hooker. In 1960 he made an album with Bluesville Records, and sang on a Candid Records session with Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Otis Spann.