JIMMY FOOT is perhaps best known for his work as guitarist & World Music Producer. He has played guitar professionally since the late 60’s, spanning genres that began with surf guitar instrumentals. In 1965, JIMMY’s first band, The ARGONS, recorded a Mersey-style pop song with BOB KEANE at DEL-FI Studios in Hollwood (BOB KEENE was the man responsible for RICHIE VALENS, SAM COOKE, and the BOBBY FULLER FOUR and many others). The ARGONS won a city-wide Battle-of-the-Bands in Los Angeles and were scheduled to appear on the popular television show, SHINDIG, when the show was cancelled by the network because it had become too alternative.
Shortly after that, still a teenager, JIMMY and a couple of friends hopped freight trains to New York City, where he played folk clubs like GUERDES FOLK CITY, The GASLIGHT, and The CAFÉ WHA? before joining the group The OWSLEY BLUES BAND. The OWSLEY BLUES BAND played hard-edged pre-punk psychedelic rock and played gigs broadcast live by WBAI radio. In that same time frame, JIMMY also worked as a studio guitarist in NYC for PAUL VANCE and LEON CARR, who wrote “Catch a Falling Star” and “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. JIMMY was offered, but turned down, a contract to back early Calypso/Rock singer SCOTT FAGAN by DYLAN manager ALBERT GROSSMAN.
JIMMY pursued his solo career as a folk artist when he and his wife SUSIE & son PJ moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1969. There, JIMMY played regularly at Beaux Arts, a center of artistic synergy that featured hanging art, live music, independent films, and hosted the Florida Folk Festival where JIMMY was awarded 1st prize for an anti-war song he wrote entitled “Standin’ In A Jungle Isn’t Much Fun, Dyin’ Ain’t Either”.
The FOOT family then migrated to San Francisco in 1970. JIMMY formed a band named SPARKY with SCOTT DAVEY, DAVE SOLARI, LARRY BERNSTEIN and SANDYJACK REINER. They played numerous free concerts in the Bay Area as well as clubs like The DEMON RUM and The NEW ORLEANS HOUSE. SPARKY was acid-rock, very psychedelic, and played through an innovative stereo P.A. system named XOX that sported effects like 2 live tape delays, octave divider, and distortion that are commonplace now, but were very experimental and cutting edge at the time. Wearing open-air headphones with their own long hair glued to it, SPARKY also had in-ear monitoring in 1971.
Soon after SPARKY, JIMMY formed The MAGIC MIND with RICK MILLER and JOHNN MURPHY in Sonoma County. JIMMY’s wife SUSIE became the band’s engineer and spent hundreds of hours in their 4 track studio tracking, overdubbing, and mixing demos. The MAGIC MIND recorded their first record in L.A.’s LARABEE STUDIOS with CHRIS MARS (who later worked with STEVIE WONDER and FLEETWOOD MAC), SUSIE FOOT, and COREY BAILEY (who engineered for LOGGINS & MESSINA).
JIMMY and SUSIE moved back to San Francisco in 1974. SUSIE had landed a job as a staff engineer for the prestigious WALLY HEIDER RECORDING studios, working long hours with artists like SANTANA, LA BELLE, THE POINTER SISTERS & HERBIE HANCOCK. Besides working on producing demos, JIMMY worked for several years playing Top 40 at local clubs and for the military to pay the bills. In the studio, though, he was playing with great musicians like MELVIN SEALES*, TONY SAUNDERS, VICKI RANDLE*, MICK GILLETTE*, “BIG BUMP” JOHN MISUTANI, JEFF NARELL, PAUL JACKSON*, ROBIN SYLVESTER*, BILL THOMPSON, and many others.
With SUSIE FOOT engineering, JIMMY started producing other artists; demos mostly, arranging the songs and bringing in players. JIMMY also played guitar on demos for VICKI RANDLE, The COCONUTS, Nigerian Superstar JONI HAASTRUP* and others, and appears on HUNTER DAVIS’ debut album.
In the late 70’s, after working with JONI HAASTRUP, and with his Calypso Rock with SCOTT FAGAN, JIMMY became drawn to reggae and other African based genres. Together with keyboardist BILL THOMPSON, JEANETTE SARTAIN, JOYCE JACKSON, SHELLY HUNTLY, KAREN IDA WHITE, JIM CARRINGTON and JOSH MILLS, JIMMY formed REGGAE JACKSON and recorded an album with the legendary BOB JOHNSTON** in 1980. With special guest appearances by CHERYL LYNN*, KENNETH NASH*, DELBERT LANGSTON, WAYNE BIDGELL, and a school full of children, the album was recorded at VILLA RECORDERS, the RECORD PLANT, FANTASY STUDIOS, CHEROKEE STUDIOS, KENDUN RECORDERS, and was mixed at CARIBOU RANCH. The band broke up a year or so later and JIMMY appeared as a solo artist and also with producer BOB JOHNSTON for political rallies. He recorded a great number of songs during this time that gradually morphed into a “World Beat” style.
In 1984, during Jesse Jackson’s bid for the Democratic Presidential
Primary, JIMMY met drummer ANDREW SCOTT, and together with bassist ERNEST BOYKIN and percussionist RUDI ORTIZ, they formed BIG BUX, with a repertoire of mostly instrumental South African songs to raise consciousness regarding Apartheid. This was the beginning of what soon became The RHYTH-O-MATICS, with DAVID SOMERS on sax, WAYNE WALLACE on trombone, and ROSS WILSON on trumpet.
BOB JOHNSTON came in to produce their first album “Walking in The Shadow”, with the legendary engineer FRED CATERO and JIMMY and SUSIE FOOT co-producing. “Walking In The Shadow” was a BILLBOARD MAGAZINE “Pop Pick of the Week” and received great reviews from SPIN, DOWNBEAT, AFRICAN & REGGAE BEAT, BILLBOARD, ROLLING STONE and other national magazines. The
RHYTH-O-MATICS quickly became a San Francisco party favorite and were nominated for a BAMMIE award in 1987 and lauded in the local media for their recordings and performances.
During the late 80’s, The RHYTH-O-MATICS appeared with MADNESS, JIMMY CLIFF, ETTA JAMES, TITO PUENTE, FISHBONE, OLATUNJI, MICKEY HART, DAVID LINDLEY and many other great bands. They played their last gig at San Francisco’s KENNEL CLUB in 1989. Several weeks before, they had been the first musicians to perform at The Eselan Institute since BOB DYLAN & JOAN BAEZ in 1970.
While performing with The RHYTH-O-MATICS, JIMMY FOOT produced an album and soundtrack for ESPN’s Surf Magazine with world music artists BORRACHO Y LOCO in San Diego, with SUSIE FOOT. JIMMY & SUSIE then produced the “Truth & Rights” album for Humboldt reggae artists ROD DEAL & The I-DEALS, which achieved critical acclaim from a number of national magazines. That album was never signed because of its pro-marijuana message in an era of the war on drugs, yet it has been selling steadily for 16 years and is a favorite for many ROD DEAL fans. JIMMY & SUSIE FOOT also produced a professional video of ROD’s 1991 appearance at Reggae On The River, entitled “Marijuana Man” which was finally released on DVD in 2005.
JIMMY FOOT then recorded a solo album “RHYTHM ADDICT”, which features many of the RHYTH-Os (including JIMMY SAGE who replaced ANDREW SCOTT on drums) and JONI HAASTRUP, with guest appearances by CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, GEORGE T. GREGORY*,
DAVID FRIEBERG*, LINDA IMPERIAL, SUSAN SHY, JOSH MILLS,
TOM DOTY and was engineered by Grammy Award winner TERRY BECKER. ROBIN SYLVESTER played bass. “RHYTHM ADDICT” was co-produced by SUSIE & JIMMY FOOT and recorded and mixed at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco and STUDIO D in Sausalito, California.
After an attempt to revive The RHYTH-O-MATICS with JONI HAASTRUP replacing RUDI ORTIZ as front man and trying several bass players to replace the late ERNEST BOYKIN who died of kidney failure,
JIMMY FOOT joined the African band HEDZOLEH SOUNDZ, a band from Ghana who had been HUGH MASAKELA’s original back up band. In
fact, HUGH MASEKELA sat in with the band at the CLUB MANYATTA,
a Ghanian-style club by the Oakland Airport.
After the death of two of the four original HEDZOLEH SOUNDZ members, Jimmy joined the Brazilian group ESCOLA NOVA de SAMBA,
led by former RHYTH-O-MATICS front man RUDI ORTIZ, playing various styles of Brazilian music for events and festivals.
JIMMY FOOT was asked to play in an “all-star” band for the GRAMMY NOMINEES PARTY in San Francisco, where he met GEORGE MICHALSKI, SQUID VICIOUS and HARVEY MANDEL*. JIMMY toured with the HARVEY MANDEL BAND for about two years, playing with the likes of BUDDY GUY, GREG ALLMAN, & HOWARD WALES. The HARVEY MANDEL BAND opened for JOHNNY CASH at ANTOINE’s in Austin, Texas and were featured performers at the CHET HELMES MEMORIAL show in San Francisco.
Together with pedal steel player GEORGE PIBURN, ROBIN SYLVESTER, JIMMY SAGE, JONI HAASTRUP, RUDI ORTIZ & SUSAN SHY, JIMMY formed the SKY RANGERS in 1996 and recorded an album with western songs like “Home On The Range” played in reggae, ska, and Cajun styles.
In 1999, JIMMY & SUSIE FOOT produced and engineered the debut album for TEA LEAF GREEN. JIMMY FOOT also engineered albums for PAM PAM (The Imposing Figure), KEVAN CARTER, SUSAN SHY and recorded RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOT* live and in the studio. In 2001, they moved from San Francisco to Humboldt County, where they built and operate a recording studio and JIMMY taught audio production for two years at Humboldt State University.
JIMMY FOOT played with the Senegalese band DJIALY KUNDA KOUYATE with KEN LAWRENCE on bass and TIM RANDALS on keyboards starting in 2004. In 2007, Tim Randles & Jimmy Foot produced the Djialy Kunda Kouyate album En Amerique. Jimmy, Ken and Tim joined JAH SUN shortly thereafter for two appearances at EARTHDANCE 2007. Jimmy left the band late in 2008 to work with upcoming outlaw-blues artist Chris Nance.
In Humboldt County, Jimmy has worked on a number of other artists’ albums in the studio including:
DICKY LA LA
DJIALY KUNDA KOUYATE
HONKY TONK BILL THOMPSON
JIMI JEFF BAND
MOBILE CHIEFING UNIT
SICK DONKEY RECORDS
and many others. He also produced a 2 CD compilation involving over 20 other Humboldt artists for a local cause entitled “Democracy Rocks”. He is currently playing on and co-producing an album for CHRIS NANCE with BOB JOHNSTON with veteran players JOHN MOLO, MARK KARAN, HUTCH HUTCHISON, J.T THOMAS, JASON YATES &
For many years, JIMMY FOOT served on the Board of Governors and as Chapter Vice-President and National Vice-President for the San Francisco Chapter of NARAS (The National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences i.e. the Grammy organization). He was also heavily involved with regional Grammy productions and chaired and served on numerous committees for the organization including The San Francisco Music Fair, The Grammy Nominees Party, Music Censorship Panel with Bill Graham, NARAS Night and Grammy In The Schools.
PRODUCTION and ENGINEERING CREDITS
Music Album Credits: (as Producer)
The RHYTH-O-MATICS Walking In The Shadow Catero
The RHYTH-O-MATICS Ghost Skankers Bongo Boy
ROD DEAL & The I-DEALS Truth & Rights Bongo Boy
BORRACHO Y LOCO Soca Surfers BongoBoy
TEA LEAF GREEN Tea Leaf Green Bongo Boy
REGGAE JACKSON Smash Hits Bongo Boy
SUSAN SHY Shy , Blue Day Tears Bongo Boy
JIMMY FOOT The Instrumentals, Footman, Rhythm Addict Bongo Boy
SKY RANGERS Sky Rangers Bongo Boy
TEA LEAF GREEN Tea Leaf Green Bongo Boy
JIMI JEFF Jimi Jeff & The GYPSY Band
DJIALY KUNDA KOUYATE En Amerique Bongo Boy
Engineering Credits: (music albums, recording & mixing in addition to those listed above under “Humboldt County”)
RICK BROUNLEY, TEA LEAF GREEN, PAM PAM (The Imposing Figure), KEVAN CARTER, SUSAN SHY,MICHAEL GIDDING, JONI HAASTRUP, AL GUZMAN, ESCOLA NOVA de SAMBA
Film Credits (as a musical artist)
Raw Power (Surf films by Kris Klopf)
Kashmir (film by Seattle filmmaker Gray Purdy)
1999 (film with BUCK HENRY & STEVEN WRIGHT)
Mission (film with ADAM ARKIN)