News Flash: Blues Singer Jimmy Witherspoon Dead At 74

Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon, best known for his 1940s and '50s R&B hits

such as "Ain't Nobody's Business" died last week of natural causes in his

Los Angeles home. He was 74.

Witherspoon, or "Spoon" as friends knew him, sang his blues primarily with

jazz artists, drawing on their notions of time and phrasing. In 1959, he

boosted his career with a legendary performance at the Monterey Jazz

Festival, and during the '60s performed often with Count Basie. Over the

next decade, Witherspoon worked with several artists, including Eric Burdon

of the Animals and jazz organist Richard "Groove" Holmes.

His career catalog included dozens of albums. In recent years, Witherspoon

appeared alongside Van Morrison on Morrison's Grammy-nominated A Night

In San Francisco (1994) album. Witherspoon's own Live at the

Mint record was nominated for the best traditional blues Grammy in

1995. The following year, he played the part of a bluesman named Trucker

in the film Georgia with Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Doe of the

band X. -- Chris Nelson [Tues., Sept. 23, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]