Jimmy Holland recorded these SYCO and Blue Rock records in Chicago during 1965.

James Holland

By spring ‘65, The Four Hollidays had shrunk to one member: Jimmy. The two Barksdale brothers had taken regular jobs and James Shorter had signed with Lou Beatty’s La Beat Records.

With his Holliday retail and recording business not doing too good, Jimmy decided to head back to Chicago:

“After the stint with the record store, I pawned my brother’s nickel-plated baritone sax for $20. I decided to leave all these projects and go back to Chicago – the Markie Records guy wanted to do something with me, Lenny Luffman. I passed myself off as a Harry Belafonte type, singing 'Matilda' and that stuff down on Rush Street and a lot of the white clubs.”

When Jimmy visited the Motor City, he’d often gig with Gino Washington: Armen Boladian, who had a record dealership on Woodward Avenue, ferried them around. You can see Armen’s Bridgeport Music has the publishing on the SYCO disc, with Hedye Boy also getting a mention. Andre Williams took charge of the session, which featured Alvin Cash and his band, The Crawlers - he had a hand in writing their first hit, “Twine Time”.

James Holland
“Sugar Baby”


Although based in Chicago, Jimmy – who isn’t related to Eddie and Brian - continued doing sessions in Detroit; one of which was backing Sir Mack Rice on “Mustang Sally” at United Sound’s studio – with Dale Warren arranging. Again, Andre Williams produced the song - the original version of Wilson Pickett’s hit - and in March ’65 sold it to Mercury’s Blue Rock label. With Andre’s influence, Jimmy managed to get a toehold with the Chicago-based company:

Andre Williams produced and arranged both sides of Jimmy’s Blue Rock disc, with Jimmy not coming into the atmospheric “Baby Don’t Leave Me” until almost a minute of the track. But the punchy female-led intro’ certainly keeps the listener entertained. Unfortunately this release didn’t take off – it’s another 45 that only seems to have been pressed as a promotional disc. In fact Jimmy didn’t even know it had been pressed at all until I recently played it to him, but did recall that Mercury offered him a production deal. He obviously didn’t take it.

These records didn’t make Jimmy any richer and just to rub salt in the proverbial wound, a new group in Detroit named The Holidays was about to record a big smash, with his under-contract Edwin Starr leading the group and Don Davis producing.


Researched and written by Graham Finch


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