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James Earl Gilstrap (born November 10, 1946)[1][2] is an American singer and regarded as one of the most prolific session musicians in the industry. He is best known for his 1975 solo hit single "Swing Your Daddy",[3] as well as singing co-lead to the theme from the TV series Good Times.

Jim Gilstrap
Birth nameJames Earl Gilstrap
Born (1946-11-10) November 10, 1946 (age 72)
Daingerfield, Texas, United States
GenresPop music
Soul music
Years active1967–present
LabelsChelsea Records


Gilstrap was born November 10, 1946 in Daingerfield,Texas to Jodie and Pearlie Mae (Tolbert) Gilstrap. He joined the navy reserves. He began his career in the music industry when he returned from serving in the Vietnam War.[4] Early groups he worked with include the Doodletown Pipers and The Cultures.[4]

In the early 1970s, Gilstrap was one of the backing vocalists in Stevie Wonder's backing outfit, 'Wonderlove', appearing on Wonder's albums, Talking Book and Innervisions.[4] Gilstrap sang the opening two lines of the Wonder song, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (with Lani Groves singing the next two lines). He subsequently signed a recording contract with Chelsea Records in 1975.[4] His recording of the Kenny Nolan penned "Swing Your Daddy" was a #4 hit in the UK Singles Chart in April 1975,[5] and reached #10 in the U.S. Billboard Black Singles chart.[6]

Gilstrap also recorded two albums of his own during the 1970s.[4] The first, titled Swing Your Daddy, contained three more singles in "I'm on Fire" (covering 5000 Volts; it made #78 in the US), "House of Strangers" and "Put Out the Fire."[4] The second album, Love Talk (1977), was not as successful.[4]

He worked as a session artist for the UK singer Elkie Brooks on her album Live and Learn (1979), among other performances.[4]

He can be heard in a vocal performance on Quincy Jones' 1974 jazz-funk composition "Soul Saga (Song Of The Buffalo Soldier)", from Jones' Body Heat album. Gilstrap has also provided the male lead vocals for the theme music to the 1970s television program Good Times. He performed as a background vocalist for the film Grease (1978).[3]

"I've Got You Where I Want You" (1975) was used in the soundtrack of the film Three Days of the Condor.[3] In addition, he sang the theme song for the 1990s cartoon series TaleSpin. More recently he did an original song for the Japanese film Survive Style 5+ entitled "A Lament".

He worked with the group Side Effect on their track "Run, Run, Run" that was released on Bell Records.[3]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2005.
  2. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d - accessed February 2014
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biography by Steve Huey". Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 227. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Allmusic ((( Jim Gilstrap > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".

External linksEdit