Atlanta-born "Little" Jimmy Dempsey struggled with a brittle bone disease throughout his life, but managed to become a top session guitarist and record producer in Nashville in the 1970s.
Dempsey began appearing around Atlanta in the 1950s and soon moved into the city's recording studios, working with such up-and-coming performers as Jerry Reed and Ray Stevens. In 1961, Dempsey released Modern Guitar Artistry, his first LP under his own name.
His session work in Nashville began in the early '60s, but he didn't move there until late in the decade. Soon after arriving, he signed with Shelby Singleton's Plantation Records, becoming Singleton's session leader. Dempsey produced such artists as Jeannie C. Riley, Webb Pierce and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as recording a couple of instrumental albums.
Dempsey also did a lot of guitar work at RCA Studios in the '70s, working with the likes of Roger Miller, Eddy Arnold and Skeeter Davis. He was also busy on the gospel music scene and released several more instrumental albums.
In 1980, Dempsey retired from music at age 43 and devoted a number of years to owning and training harness racing horses. He died in 1997.
When I was in the U.K. a number of years ago I picked up a double cassette release, The Golden Guitar of Little Jimmy Dempsey (1986), at a service station while travelling with friends. I'm not sure of the origin of these recordings, although they almost certainly had been previously released, perhaps on Plantation. Here's Bridge Over Troubled Waters from that cassette collection.
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Many of the recordings on The Golden Guitar ... cassette turned up in 2004 on The Legendary Guitar of "Little" Jimmy Dempsey double-CD set produced by his son Tim Dempsey on his label Legends Records. Apparently the only place that you can now get this set is through Jimmy Dempsey's website. Only one of the tracks, We've Only Just Begun, is available from iTunes.
To close, from YouTube, a bit of musical nuttiness from Little Jimmy Dempsey.