Jimmy Early

Jimmy Early – A Bluegrass Legend

Two students from the Jimmy Carter Early College high school advanced to state competition in the UIL Academics contest. Junior Adilene Vasquez placed second in the Feature Writing category and senior Ruby Hernandez finished third in News Writing.

James’s religious concerns are reflected in his earlier essays and books, but they become more explicit in Varieties. He argues that our capacity to pay attention to a given subject indicates a spiritual presence in us.


Jimmy Page never achieved the renown of Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs or the Stanley Brothers, but true bluegrass fans have a special place in their hearts for the man known as “Jimmy Early.” A former beauty queen who won the New Jersey state fair talent contest as a singer at age 16, he was born on July 4 and died in March 1963.

In Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy plays James “Thunder” Early; inspired by R&B/soul singers such as James Brown and Jackie Wilson, he’s a raucous performer on the Rainbow label engaged in an adulterous affair with fellow Dreamette Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose). Early also influenced Deena Jones and Beyonce Knowles’ characters in Motown.

On Strange Time to Be Alive, which he produced with Dan Auerbach, James accents his outre, Tom Waits-ian compositions and signature gruff croon with knotty bursts of electric guitar. He addresses a range of topics, from online discourse to religious violence, in the lyrical musings of a man who’d make Keith Richards proud.


Jimmy is a street-wise hustler who knows the game and has good connections with the underworld. He tries to use his wit and street smarts to get people out of trouble.

He has a decent underlying nature, despite being rough-mannered and rude to those who he doesn’t treat with respect. He helps out Petey despite the fact that he treated him badly and also tells off Gary when he was bullying him.

He is a bit of a sleaze, mainly due to his affair with Lorrell. He also jilts Effie when she falls for him and cultivates her into a marketable product. Effie is still shown in a mostly sympathetic light, considering the emotional wringer she goes through. Eventually she becomes someone who cares for other people.


Jimmy Early is inspired by R&B/soul singers such as James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye. A raucous performer on the Rainbow label, he engages in an adulterous affair with Dreamettes member Lorrell. Lorrell is devastated when he leaves the group to concentrate on her new career as a television producer (“Cadillac Car”).

Upon returning from the war, Effie is disappointed by the lack of success of her song “Steppin’ to the Bad Side.” When Curtis convinces Marty that they need to go beyond traditional rhythm and blues/soul audiences and move towards a pop audience, he replaces Effie with Michelle Morris, a change which she learns about before anyone else does (“Drivin’ Down the Strip”).

In 1946, Midshipman Early meets Rosalynn Smith from Plains, and they marry. They settle in Plains and run Carter’s Warehouse. During this time, they have three sons. When Jimmy is promoted to Lieutenant, he is moved to Norfolk, Virginia and the family lives in public housing.

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