Sad news from our friend Tad Pierson in Memphis. Jimmy Denson, brother of Lee aka Jesse James passed away on Feb 2nd. Lee Petherick and I visited Memphis back in 2003. We met Tad when we hired him to drive us round the city in his pink Cadillac (what else!) and show us the sights less seen. He was playing some great music as we drove, I commented that I loved this one, ‘The South’s Gonna Rise Again’ by Jesse James. Tad looked a little surprised I knew it, not as surprised as I was when he got his phone out and dialed Jimmy Denson and passed him over. Jimmy had written the song that his brother recorded. He had stories (not always complimentary) about Elvis, Johhny and Dorsey Burnette and a whole host of 1950’s rockabilly legends he grew up with. On our last day in Memphis we hired Tad again to take us to the airport in style. On the way there we dropped in to visit Jimmy in his home. There he sat, smoking his cigarette and sipping on his whiskey regaling us with more stories and showing us photos of those early days. One of the magic moments was showing us his school boxing trophies with his and brother Lee’s names on them as well as Johnny and Dorsey Burnette’s (whom he told us was the meanest and you wouldn’t want to fight). I’m very sad to learn of Jimmy’s death but glad to learn he spat in life’e eye for another decade. R.I.P, on your way Jimmy, oh and when you get there, don’t go punching Elvis too hard, your Mom wouldn’t like it!
Here’s his brother Lee, aka Jesse James with ‘The South’s Gonna Rise Again’