May 04

JIMMY JONES – “Good Timin'”

Popular27 comments • 2,631 views

#103, 9th July 1960

In the film The Hudsucker Proxy, the hero’s irritant and eventual nemesis is a guy called Buzz. Buzz is shrill, unshakably upbeat and entirely dumb; he is the living spirit of chirp. His traits include a glintful eye, a manic handshake and the habit of repeating his just-made jokes in order to cackle loudly at them. When I hear “Good Timin'” with its hyena chorus I think of Buzz.

But what infuriates on film can entertain on vinyl. “They had timin'” sings Jimmy Jones, “Ticka-ticka-ticka-tock timin'”, and really he could end it there, it’s catchy enough, but hold on, “TAY-AY-AY-AY!” – what makes this record isn’t the wisecracking, or the beat, it’s how gratuitous its hook is.



  1. 1
    Doctor Mod on 16 Oct 2006 #

    Strange how something this silly can actually give one pleasure….

  2. 2
    Doctor Mod on 16 Oct 2006 #

    ….which is to say that it actually does.

  3. 3
    SteveIson on 21 Jul 2008 #

    Its a lovely chirpy song with a really sweet melody..Long live innocent pleasures RIP 6

  4. 4
    rosie on 21 Jul 2008 #

    Have I never mentioned that this is the last one for some considerable time that I didn’t know before I discovered Popular? I must have done, on Haloscan if not in the comments regime that prevailed before then.

    Anyway, I think this is quite remarkable and if I’d known it then (aged not-quite 6), I’m sure I would have loved it. I like it a lot even now – worth a 7 at least in my book.

  5. 5
    DJ Punctum on 21 Jul 2008 #

    RIP??? Last I heard Jimmy Jones was still with us.

    Didn’t listen to POTP yesterday (1985 for the 48th time this year was a bridge too far – what is it with this programme’s obsession with crap years?) but one of the charts featured was 1960 and this was on top.

  6. 6
    Billy Smart on 21 Jul 2008 #

    The same chart that they did 2 years ago – I’m all for going earlier than the mid-sixties in theory, but 1960 vs 1985 made for a dull afternoon!

    At least he didn’t play ‘What A Mouth’ this time around, though…

  7. 7
    DJ Punctum on 21 Jul 2008 #

    In POTP World (motto: First Simplify, Then Exaggerate) the fifties don’t exist :-(

  8. 8
    Anthony Henning on 18 Apr 2009 #

    SteveIson has hit the nail on the head there, I think. POPULAR music was devised to appeal to the masses. The songs were short, sweet and for all the disposability of it these ‘operettas for the teenagers’ were for the most part rather well made and had ‘soul’ (not the music style, that is). The heartless, sex obsessed schlock served up by the very serious recording artists (I mean you Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles et al) who jostle for space on the strict radio playlists nowadays doesn’t hold a candle to a lot of what came out in the late 50’s and early 60’s. At least most of them could actually sing in the actual sense of the word.

  9. 9
    Billy Smart on 14 Oct 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Jimmy Jones kept his career in Light Entertainment going up until the 1980s. These two shows survive (the first series of ‘Wheeltappers & Shunters’ has just been released on DVD!);

    CHAS & DAVE’S KNEES-UP: with Rose Marie, Jimmy Jones (1983)

    WHEELTAPPERS AND SHUNTERS SOCIAL CLUB: with Bernard Manning (Compere), Miki and Griff, Broken Hearts, Lyn Paul, Jimmy Jones (1975)

    But these ones don’t;

    BATTLE OF THE COMICS: with Fiona Gordon (Assistant Referee), Jimmy Jones, Ryan Davies, Mr. Abie (1976)

    BATTLE OF THE COMICS: with Carol Meade (Hostess), Jimmy Jones, Andy Cameron, Wyn Calvin (1977)

    BATTLE OF THE COMICS: with Carol Meade (Hostess), Jimmy Jones, Andy Cameron, Wyn Calvin (1977)

    WEDNESDAY AT 8: with The Ladybirds, Charles Aznavour, Mary Hopkin, Jimmy Jones (1978)

  10. 10
    Erithian on 14 Jan 2010 #

    Sorry Billy, but for the record it looks like you’re confusing Jimmy Jones the black Alabama-born singer with Jimmy Jones the (very) white English comic. Wiki says Jimmy Jones the comic once toured with the Equals, which he likes to mention when accused of racism. Hmmm.

  11. 11
    AndyPandy on 15 Jan 2010 #

    Yes Garry Bushell was always biggin’ him up back in the Sun in the late 80s/early 90s.Massive in London and the less nice bits of the South East eg Circus Tavern at Tilbury etc. A sort of Cockney version of Bernard Manning but according to Garry Bushell by the 80s refused to tone down his act at all for telly (ie insisted in saying “fuck” and “cunt” every other word and that was some of his less offensive stuff!)so that was the end of his national exposure.
    Is he still around? if is he I shouldnt imagine he’ll be appearing with Jo Brand anytime soon

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 15 Jan 2010 #

    “‘kin’ell!” – That was his catchphrase, IIRC.

  13. 13
    lord darlington on 28 Mar 2010 #

    Like The Sun Always Shines, With a Girl Like You etc, one of the Popular entries that feels like it made it by piggy-backing onto a shouldabeen no.1 – in this case Handy Man. Much as I like the “tickatickatick” hook of Good Timin’ it doesn’t work as well as the more manic – almost atonal whistles – and lyrically intriguing prequel. Like Three Steps To Heaven, Handy Man seemed like wild showing off rather than useful teen advice: “I fix broken hearts, I know I really can”.

    Jimmy’s career tailed off quickly after these two monster US and UK hits, in quality (sadly) and sales, but he came up with a lovely Modern Soul 45 around 1975 called Ain’t Nothing Wrong Makin’ Love The First Night. Presuming it’s not the ‘kin comedian:


  14. 14
    wichita lineman on 28 Mar 2010 #

    Post Adam F, Newley etc, lurking at its peak position of no.3 was the verrrry cockernee pop of Tommy Bruce’s Ain’t Misbehavin’. Chas & Dave meets Stepney’s Johnny Cash.

  15. 15
    thefatgit on 28 Mar 2010 #

    Jimmy Jones the comedian. I saw him at The Lakeside, Frimley Green a good few years back now. Definitely a throwback to the pre PC days of casual misogyny and racism. Chicken in a basket and watered down beer with cringeworthy comedy thrown in. *Shudders*

    Jimmy Jones the singer. Well I have heard this many times and quite like it in a way. It’s twee and harmless. I often wonder about how the teenager at the turn of the 60’s felt about the almost anodyne and sterile pop that was being foisted upon them. Not all could be beatniks nursing cappuchinos in coffee houses, quoting from Kerouac, or slavishly trawling record shops for the latest US release. Did they really get excited by stuff like this? Were they sullen little wannabe rebels strumming on guitars like young Lennon? Or were they desperate for something amazing to happen? After all, Rock ‘n’ Roll must have belonged to their older brothers and sisters. Jimmy Jones’ “Good Timin'” is a prelude to an enormous shift of focus musically towards the UK. If I was a teenager in 1960, I would have felt that shift couldn’t come soon enough.

  16. 16
    wichita lineman on 28 Mar 2010 #

    Teenagers who felt Jimmy Jones was anodyne (which I’d like to think I wouldn’t have done, I do find this pretty exciting) would generally have been into trad jazz (Chris Barber, Kenny Ball) in the UK and folk (Kingston Trio, Brothers Four) in the US, though not necessarily as deeply or seriously as the Kerouac readers. Margo Guryan, a music school classmate of Ornette Coleman, said she was almost entirely unaware of pop/r&r and only ever heard jazz in her everyday world until she chanced across God Only Knows on the radio in 1966 and it changed her life.

    Otherwise, there were a LOT of music loving teens in the 50s who still dug Frank Sinatra and (especially) Perry Como. I guess that didn’t change overnight. Or, it simply wasn’t a big deal for them; in 1960 pop wasn’t anywhere near a part of most peoples lives – compared to 1970, let alone 2010.

  17. 17
    thefatgit on 29 Mar 2010 #

    Thanks Wichita…I asked my Dad what he was up to as a teenager (mid-to late ’50s) and being a country boy, he spent all his time fishing or helping out on farms. Music never really entered his realm until he joined the RAF when he heard his first jazz record.

  18. 18
    Mutley on 29 Mar 2010 #

    I was a teenager around the same time as #17’s Dad. It was indeed a fallow period for chart music between early r’n’r and the Beatles etc, although there was some good music around by artists who don’t appear in these no. 1 charts and are associated primarily with that period- for example Dion (DiMucci not Celine)who released a few classics (Runaround Sue, The Wanderer) and Chubby Checker – the Twist liberated millions of people who previously couldn’t handle the Jive, and is probably the progenitor of all subsequent non-contact dance. Roy Orbison appeared on the scene, and Elvis was back with a short-term mini-renaissance. In the UK, Billy Fury wasn’t at all bad. Johnny Kidd and the Pirates have been much praised elsewhere in these pages. I saw them in ’61 or ’62 as the “interval act” at a student dance starring, I believe, Kenny Ball (trad jazz) in Portsmouth.

    Re #16, along with many other teenagers I had a visceral hatred of trad jazz at that time and still don’t like it. I associated it with stuffy, middle class English people who looked down on rock’n’roll. I think that Kerouac readers/ beatniks would have been more into “modern” jazz (Miles Davis etc) which I now love, but didn’t at that time.

    Regarding the comment about pop not being part of most people’s lives, I think that teens and people in their early 20s were just as interested in pop then and, in particular, dancing to it – this was the period not just of the twist but also those many strange dances that were a craze for about five minutes each – Mashed Potato, Hully Gully, Madison etc. These dances generated some pretty good music (or was it the other way round?) -e.g. Little Eva with the Locomotion, and many others.

  19. 19
    wichitalineman on 2 Jul 2011 #

    Co-written by Clint Ballard Jr (the Hollies’ I’m Alive) and produced by Bumps Blackwell (who wrote All Shook Up). Good Popular pedigree, there.

  20. 20
    doberman on 3 Mar 2012 #

    Saw Jimmy on his first tour of England in 1960. Very good.

  21. 21
    wichita lineman on 8 Aug 2012 #

    So farewell, Jimmy Jones. I never realised he was all of 30 when he recorded this.

  22. 22
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Aug 2012 #

    Yep, Jimmy had timin’… And now he doesn’t.

  23. 23
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2013 #

    What a delightful record

  24. 24
    hectorthebat on 25 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Colin Larkin (UK) – The All-Time Top 100 Singles (2000) 74
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  25. 25
    lonepilgrim on 27 Jun 2014 #

    This is great in small doses but would drive you mad if repeated too soon. As well as the kinetic use of language there’s some amusing retelling of history in the verses – ‘If Queen Isabella hadn’t hocked her jewels’ is almost a precedent for ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’.

  26. 26
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    One of those songs that almost feels as if it’s trying to make me hate it (those tocka tockas are super shrill), but I still like it.

  27. 27
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    I’ve always loved this one. 8/10 for Jimmy.

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