I grew up loving to read the local newspapers. Part of my interest was due to the regular features. There were the Junior Editor’s Quiz, Peanuts and other comics, the weekly TV section, and the local entertainment articles and advertisements.
A local entertainer was often featured in the latter: Jimmy Tawater. For years, the newspapers promoted his appearances at local night spots including the Castaways, Dino’s, and the Wooden Nickel. Often, there was a photo of him airborne during a jump from the stage.
In addition to being a local performer, Jimmy Tawater has toured extensively. He did tours with Goose Creek Symphony, Little Richard, and Leon Russell. He is a member of the Chattanooga Music Hall of Fame.
I had never been to a Jimmy Tawater show until this year. The high point of my Riverbend experience was being in the crowd to hear the River City Showcase featuring Jimmy on vocals and guitar. The group plays a mix of musical styles, from classic rock to jazz-rock to the rhythm-and-blues tunes of Stax Records in Memphis. High-energy horns and rhythm section accompany Jimmy and other vocalists.
I caught the group again the following month at a North River Civic Center concert. The room was packed with music fans of all ages. Jimmy leapt from the stage to the floor, and then climbed up on a chair to end the show with “Johnny B. Goode.”
These days, Jimmy has a day job at a local title company, while continuing his musical career. I stopped by his office to pick up some photographs, and spoke briefly with him. Among his portfolio were pictures of his days with The Greaseball Band, a group that played music and looked the part of the 1950’s.
The River City Showcase featuring Jimmy Tawater will be in concert on Sunday, September 29 at 3:15pm at the Hamilton County Fair. They will precede another favorite group you may remember – the Amazing Rhythm Aces (“Third-Rate Romance” and “Amazing Grace Used to be Her Favorite Song”).
If you have memories of hearing Jimmy Tawater at a local venue, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Photo2 by The River City Showcase has impressive credentials.