Jimmie Gordon (1906 – c. 1946) was an American Chicago blues pianist, singer, and songwriter. Gordon variously accompanied Memphis Minnie, Bumble Bee Slim, and Big Bill Broonzy, amongst others. He had a hit with "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" (1936), and was active on the Chicago blues scene for a number of years leading up to World War II. He is known to have recorded 67 tracks between 1934 and 1946. Gordon was a mainstay on Decca Records during the 1930s and early 1940s, with his recorded work utilising a piano accompaniment (often his own), as well as guitar, or with a small band that he assembled for the work.
As a songwriter, Gordon is often credited for writing "Mean Mistreater", later recorded by both Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter. AllMusic noted that "Gordon was a passable pianist who sang with all his heart in a warm and convincing voice."
Details of his life outside of the recording studio are rather sketchy, and these have been prone to rumor and speculation over the ensuing years.
At one stage it was thought that Gordon was born in St. Louis, although that solely related to him appearing on the B-side of a single by the St. Louis born Peetie Wheatstraw, following a session recorded in October 1938 with the guitar player Lonnie Johnson.
Whatever his origin and background, by 1934, Gordon was signed to a recording contract. Apart from one Bluebird side at the beginning of his recording career, all of Gordon's pre-war work was released by Decca.Gordon's backing ensembles, sometimes billed as the Vip Vop Band, variously included such notable blues and jazz musicians as Scrapper Blackwell, the brothers Papa Charlie McCoy and Kansas Joe McCoy, members of the Harlem Hamfats, plus Frankie Newton, Pete Brown, Buster Bennett, and drummer Zutty Singleton. This ability to base backing units around a jazz-blues fusion of musicians was started by the Harlem Hamfats, but Gordon's use of this arrangement proved the basis for many later blues bands. His most commercially successful number was his self-penned 1936 effort, "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water". His ability to utilise social issues in his numbers was shown by "Don't Take Away My P.W.A." (1936), a homage of sorts to the Public Works Administration (P.W.A.), a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States in the 1930s.
Even in his own lifetime Gordon was misrepresented. When his own record label released "Black Gal" (Decca 7043), early copies credited the work to 'Joe Bullum', although later copies of the disc corrected the error.
Four jump blues titles of his were released on the King and Queen labels in 1946. On these his backing was billed as the 'Bip Bop Band', a nod to the changing fashions in music at that time.Gordon also skirted along the edge of dirty blues, with his numbers "Hard Lead Pencil" and "How You Want It Done". They were both later reissued on the Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon compilation album.
He has been mistaken for the similarly-named, Jimmy Gordon, the bass singer with the Four Tunes. Gordon's life story after his recording career ended is shrouded in mystery.
All of Gordon's known work has been compiled on a series of albums, released by Document Records.