Jimmy Beasley

In the mid- to late '50s, pianist Jimmy Beasley recorded some of the most faithfully Fats Domino-like music of the period for Modern Records. Beasley, unlike Domino, wasn't from New Orleans. But the resemblance to Domino on many of his tracks wasn't an accident, as much of his Modern material was recorded in Cosimo Studios in New Orleans, with famed Crescent City songwriter-arranger Dave Bartholomew's band. Beasley's material wasn't nearly as strong as Domino's, however. Too, his voice wasn't all that similar to Domino's; it was higher and clearer, yet not nearly as earthy and distinctive. Beasley was born in Kansas City, where he started in music as a non-piano-playing singer in the Aces Quartet and the Sonny Kenner Trio. He played piano in own his act before moving to Los Angeles to play with the King Perry Band, with whom he recorded for Hollywood Records. He also recorded for Peacock briefly before hooking up with Modern. He didn't have any hits for Modern, although Domino himself covered Beasley's 1956 single "Don't Feel Sorry for Me," itself loosely based on Domino's 1955 recording "Don't Blame It on Me." Domino did have a mild R&B hit with "Don't Feel Sorry for Me," outselling Beasley's rendition. Although Beasley had drifted off the Modern label by the beginning of the '60s, he re-signed with the company in the mid-'60s to cut a single, as well as some sides which were not issued until many years later. Although he stayed musically active into the late '90s, a stroke put him into retirement. ~ Richie Unterberger

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