A childhood friend and past collaborator of guitarist Duane Eddy, Jimmy Dell (born James Delbridge) stepped into the spotlight with a series of impressive solo recordings in the late '50s. A regular performer on radio show the Arizona Hayride, Dell toured with package shows that included the Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, Sam Cooke, Frankie Avalon, and Jimmie Rodgers.
Dell and Eddy, who met in school, launched their careers as regular performers on radio station KCKY in Coolidge, AZ. Although they initially both played guitar, Dell was persuaded to switch to the piano. The duo's only single, "Soda Fountain Girl" b/w "I Want Some Lovin' Baby," was recorded with the accompaniment of Buddy Long & the Western Melody Boys in 1955. Composed and produced by DJ and songwriter Lee Hazlewood, "Soda Fountain Girl" was recorded during a two a.m. session at Audio Recorders, where Eddy later recorded his best-selling hits, in Phoenix. Hazlewood continued to serve as mentor to the two musicians, helping them to secure a weekly gig at Phoenix nightspot Madison Square Garden.
Launching a solo career in 1957, Dell released his debut solo single, "Teeny Weeny" b/w "She Won't Pet," on the small REV label, owned by Audio Recorders. After attracting regional attention, the master tapes were bought by RCA, who reissued the single in January 1958. Dell's second single, "Cool It Baby" b/w "The Message," released two months later, was followed by his third and final single, "I've Got a Dollar" b/w "Rainbow Doll," recorded with the Jimmy Wilcox Orchestra in October 1958.
Although it's been several decades since he left music, Dell has continued to make his presence felt as a full-time evangelist for the Church of the Nazarene. A 20-track collection of his mid-'50s and early-'60s singles and B-sides was issued by Bear Family Records in 2009. ~ Craig Harris~ Rovi