Midwestern Memories : Terry Timmons © JCMarion


In August of 1950, the Cleveland, Ohio R & B singer Terry Timmons signs a recording contract with Lee and Charles Egalnik's Chicago label Premium Records. She had begun performing as a high schooler in her home city and was now poised to showcase her vocal talents. Timmons soon joins Doctor JoJo as part of Memphis Slim's Houserockers combo and gets good reviews from an appearance at Chicago's Ralph's Club. Many comparisons are made to the style of Dinah Washington in Timmons way with a song. Late that year her first recording for the label is released. It is Premium #865 - "Eating My Heart Out For You" and "My Key Won't Fit Your Door". The following spring the second Premium release is issued on #872. This is "You Foolish Thing" and "What You Bet". That July, RCA Victor, ever on the lookout to move into the R & B field, purchases Timmons contract from Premium (and also Savannah Churchill from Regal) along with four masters and two unreleased sides by the singer. There is one last release on the Premium label. It is with Memphis Slim on #903 and features the song "I'm Crying". A couple of Memphis Slim-Terry Timmons masters sold by Premium to Mercury Records surface in late 1951 - #8251 is "Blue Evening" and on #8281 a song called "The Question". The first offering on Terry Timmons new label is released in early September on RCA # 20-4228 - a re-release of "You Foolish Thing" and a new flip side "It Ain't Supposed To Be Like That". Two months later RCA repeats the practice by pairing a re-release of Timmons "Eating My Heart Out For You" paired with a new flip side - "Worried Woman Blues".

The year 1952 starts out for Timmons with the release of a new side for RCA Victor - #20-4549 : "I Got Nobody To Love" and "I Shouldn't Have To Cry Over You". This is the first Timmons record to be released in 45rpm. In May comes 20-4675 - "My New Love" and "I Could Make You Care". Her records sell slow but steady and are not spectacular, but she has the name and her association with Memphis Slim keeps her in demand at in person appearances especially on the Midwestern circuit. In late summer "All Night Long" / "The Same Old Thrill" is issued on RCA #20-4882. The last RCA release of the year is in December and is titled "Daddy Be Good To Me" / "How Long Must I Wait" on 20-5047. In February of 1953 RCA Victor #20-5163 "Please Don't Leave Me Now" and "My Heart Belongs To Only You" is the new single. When that record fails to do much of anything regarding sales and airplay, RCA issues #20-5227 in March. It is "He's The Best In The Business" paired with "Evil Eyed Woman". Terry Timmons two year contract expires in July of 1953 and RCA declines to renew it leaving her to find another label. In September Leonard Allen the surviving partner (formerly with the deceased Lew Simpkins) of United Records signs Timmons to a recording contract with the Chicago independent label. Terry continues to get club bookings despite the less than stellar sales of her records. She has a successful two week stint at Chicago's Club Bagdad. In October of that year Timmons is heard on United #161 "Never Let Me Go" and "My Last Cry". It also seems that this is the last hurrah for Timmons as there is scant information on any subsequent recordings for United Records or other labels in the mid and late 50s. It is known that Terry Timmons did further personal appearances on the Midwestern R & B scene, mostly in Chicago.

This then is the story of a rhythm & blues performer who never received the height of fame and/or fortune, but spread the music and its appeal with her recordings and personal appearances during the early nineteen fifties. Her surviving records are not very much in demand by collectors, and they certainly are not the stuff of "oldies" programming on the readio. However there may be someone somewhere who does remember the place and the time, and for them this is a page devoted to a Midwestern memory.

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