I was walking through the Yongsan Electronics Market last week when I stumbled across this fun find — the first album by Jimmy Lee Jones, from 1981.
Jimmy Lee Jones (aka Lee Jeong-myeong) lived in Nashville for many years in the 1980s, where he won a songwriting competition and recorded a couple of albums. In the 1990s, he opened a bar/cafe in Daejeon called Palomino, where he still works pretty much every day. His open-mic nights were a huge hits in the 1990s, before the economic crisis.
This album, like his others, is a mix of English and Korean. Basically the same songs twice, in English on side A and in Korean on side B. Although Jimmy always called himself a country singer, the country on this album is in more of a 1980s easy-listening style… a bit like Leonard Cohen’s album Various Positions or Recent Songs (think Coming Back to You).
I remember Jimmy because I used to attend the open-mic nights at Palomino with some regularity back in the day (although I never performed… just there to listen). The old part of Daejeon is pretty forgotten these days, but back in the 1990s, before Dunsan-dong was finished, it was a pretty happening part of town. Jimmy was very nice about hanging out with a noob like myself, taking me around with his friends to some great little restaurants around town.
Oh, and here is another I found.
Anyhow, to find Jimmy’s old album (in near-mint condition, too) was a really fun little accident. I am pretty sure none of his albums were ever issued on CD, but if that ever changes, I will be sure to update this post.
UPDATE: Well, that did not take long. Two minutes after I post this, I discover Jimmy has a blog (mostly just Korean). Lots of good stuff there, including a pretty good timelime of his life here (English and Korean).