James "Jimmy" Spruill was born June 9, 1934 in Fayetteville NC. to sharecropping parents. Influenced by country and blues music as a child, he learned playing the guitar on a cigar box guitar.
The Wiki article about this instrument makes for an interesting read.
His trademark was the modified Les Paul Gibson guitar. The body of the guitar was sawed off so that only a rectangular part of it was left.
After moving to NYC, he worked as a session musician recording with such greats as King Curtis, Elmore James and Little Anthony and the Imperials.
Spruill was a showman, known for playing guitar with his teeth. His sound was unconventional, notable for its hard attack and sense of freedom, unexpectedly going from assertive lead parts to rhythmically dynamic, scratching rhythms. At no time did Spruill use picks or any effects on his guitar - his sound was solely the result of his fingers. Among his most interesting solo records is "Hard Grind" (Fire 1006), which was originally issued as the B-side to "Kansas City March. (Wiki)That perfect blues voice on the song does not belong to Jimmy Spruill as I erroneously said. According to my friend and blues specialist, Marc, it is that of one Little Danny, a rather obscure artist.
In the mid 60's he formed a trio with Tommy Knight singing and Popsy Dixon on drums. Unfortunately, his career never really took off. Lady luck does not always favor the talented.
He died from a heart attack in 1996 while traveling home to NYC from Florida.