All 4'11" of Jimmy will turn 93 years of age this December, and one listen to his traditional way of singing country will show you why they call him "Our Treasure" down at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Country singers today like to team up with hop hop performers and jazz moaners and whatever it is that Julio Iglesias does, but as an Opry member since 1948 - the year my much-older sister was born - LJD has always kept it country. And I always thought that if he did team up with someone from outside the country genre, he could work with Little Richard, although it would be a very close contest as to whose stage attire was more, shall we say. gaudy.
As proof of his country bona fides, I offer these:
- - This is a recent Opry performance of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose." You'll see fellow West Virginian Brad Paisley on the song, and Brad is one of the few country stars of today to pay any homage to the greats who created the path he now drives.
- - As good as Jimmy is with the nutty novelty songs like MTBOPFUYN, he is equally adept with a ballad such as "Another Bridge to Burn."
- - And another reason why Jimmy is beloved of the country fans is this kind of affectionate homage to the good and bad parts of rural living, Many a person who bought the 1949 record of "Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed" did that many times as a kid.
I bring all this up because Jimmy is going in the hospital in Tennessee next week for radiation treatment of a pre-cancerous condition on his vocal chords. He is expected to make a full recovery. Jimmy issued a statement via the Grand Ole Opry website:
“I can’t begin to express my sincere gratitude for the thoughts and prayers that are being sent my way. My family and I appreciate the support, and I can’t wait to return home to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in one of my favorite rhinestone suits someday soon.”If you have a mind to send get-well greetings to a man who has been entertaining people since Hector was a pup, here is the address:
c/o Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive
Nashville, TN 37214