‘Going Down Slow’ has become an oft-recorded blues standard over the years since its author, James ‘St. Louis Jimmy’ Oden, first recorded it in 1941. Oden, a songwriter of note, was not the most dynamic of singers, although he could be effective in his own right. In the 1940s he toured as a team with Roosevelt Sykes, who played piano on this and several other Oden sessions. ‘Going Down Slow’ expressed the mournful farewell of a dying man (‘I have had my fun, if I don’t get well no more’) although Oden lived for another 36 years. The song was actually the B side of a Bluebird 78, ‘Monkey Face Blues,’ which has also been recorded a few times by various bluesmen, sometimes as ‘Teddy Bear Blues.’
ST. LOUIS JIMMY
St. Louis Jimmy Oden, vocal; Roosevelt Sykes, piano; Alfred Elkins, imitation string bass. Recorded Nov. 11, 1941, Chicago. Released as Bluebird B-8889 (78 rpm single), 1942.
Discographical details from Blues & Gospel Records 1890-1943, by Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich & Howard W. Rye.