He joins the US Navy in 1938 after having achieved substantial success as an amateur boxer.
Back in civilian life and having retired from boxing, Jimmy makes his first recordings in 1945, along with his mentor pianist J.D. Nicholson.
The records are released on the Globe record label.
Jimmy forms the Blues Blasters in 1946 along with guitarist Robert Kelton and drummer Little Red.
The first records under the name Jimmy McCracklin are issued in 1948 on the Trilon record label.
He starts recording for the Swing Time record label in 1951, an attachment that will yield six singles in quick succession. Lafayette Thomas replaces Kelton in Jimmy's touring band.
After moving to the Peacock record label in 1952, Jimmy records a further five singles.
Following a series of singles for the Modren, Irma and Gedinson's record labels in 1958, Jimmy enjoys a big hit with 'The Walk', which reaches Number 5 in the R&B charts and leads to his appearing on the TV pop show American Bandstand.
After failing to match 'The Walk's success with the follow-ups, Jimmy forms his own record label in 1961, Art-Tone, and enjoys his biggest hit with 'Just Got to Know'.
Jimmy McCracklin Sings, his first album, is released in 1962.
Having moved to Imperial in 1965, a record label sympathetic to his requirements, Jimmy enjoys a string of hits.
In 1967 Otis Redding and Carla Thomas hit the charts with 'Tramp', a song credited to Jimmy and Lowell Fulson.
Jimmy signs with Stax record label in 1971 and records the album Yesterday is Gone, which will be released on CD in 1992 as High on the Blues.
Blasting the Blues, which features reworkings of some of his 1950's songs, is released in 1981 after Jimmy has completed successful tours of Scandinavia and Britain.
Blast 'Em Dead, a compilation of tracks Jimmy recorded for the Peacock record label between 1952 and 1954 and which had lain dormant, is released in 1987.
In 1989, Same Lovin' finds him in fine form but the record recives little publicity.
Jimmy signs with Bullseye Blues in 1991 and releases another fine album, My Story.
A Taste of the Blues released in 1994, confims that at the age of 73 Jimmy is as vigorous and stylish as ever.