Meridian in Lauderdale County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues
Jimmie Rodgers and The Blues
Meridian native Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) was the first major star of country music and introduced the blues to a far wider audience than any other artist of his time, black or white. He was not the first white performer to interpret the blues, but he was the most popular, establishing the blues as a foundation of country music.
More than a third of Rodgers’s recordings were blues, which he encountered as a young man while working as a railway brakeman and traveling musician. In 1927 he recorded the song "Blue Yodel" that sold over a million copies and earned Rodgers the nickname "The Blue Yodeler." His distinctive style mixed blues, European yodeling, and African American falsetto singing traditions. Before Rodgers, several African Americans, notably Charles Anderson, had specialized
Although most of Rodgers’s songs were original, some of his most popular were versions of blues classics. "Frankie and Johnnie" was an African American ballad about a murder in St. Louis in 1899, and blues artists including Jim Jackson from Hernando, Mississippi, had made earlier recordings of "In the Jailhouse Now." Rodgers employed African American musicians in the studio, including Louis Armstrong, who, along with his pianist wife Lil, backed Rodgers on "Blue Yodel No. 9." Other sessions featured blues guitarist Clifford Gibson and the Louisville Jug Band.
In early 1929 Rodgers toured Mississippi with a vaudeville show that included blues singer Eva Thomas. Bluesmen who claimed to have met, traveled, or performed with Rodgers included Hammie Nixon, Rubin Lacy, and Houston Stackhouse, who recalled that he and Robert Nighthawk accompanied Rodgers in a show at the Edwards Hotel in Jackson (c. 1931). Rodgers’s influence on African American musicians from Mississippi is evident in recordings by the Mississippi Sheiks, Tommy Johnson, Furry Lewis, Scott Dunbar, and Mississippi John Hurt, whose song "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me" was based on Rodgers’s "Waiting For A Train." Howlin’ Wolf attributed his distinctive singing style to Rodgers, explaining, "I couldn’t do no yodelin’, so I turned to howlin’. And it’s done me just fine."
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list.
Location. 32° 21.912′ N, 88° 41.693′ W. Marker is in Meridian, Mississippi, in Lauderdale County. Marker is on Front Street near 17th Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Located at Meridian Union Station. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Meridian MS 39301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sherman's "Bow Tie" (within shouting distance of this marker); Depot Historic District (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Meridian (about 400 feet away); Railroads and the War (about 400 feet away); Meridian's "C" Battery (about 700 feet away); Moe Bandy (approx. 0.2 miles away); McLemore Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historic McLemore Cemetery 1839 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Meridian.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This is the marker in Bristol, Tennessee, near where he recorded his first song at the Bristol Sessions.
Also see . . .
1. Jimmie Rodgers (country singer), from Wikipedia. ...known as "The Singing Brakeman", "The Blue Yodeler", and "The Father of Country Music". ... (Submitted on September 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
2. Blue Yodel. Wikipedia (Submitted on August 3, 2013.)
1. “T for Texas” (Blue Yodel No. 1) by Jimmy Rodgers
A YouTube sound recording of this song, the first of his 13 “blue yodel songs,” is below. The lyrics inscribed on the marker (Photo No. 3) are the second stanza of this song.
— Submitted August 3, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2017. It was originally submitted on September 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 903 times since then and 71 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week August 4, 2013. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 6. submitted on September 22, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 7. submitted on September 26, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.