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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Meridian in Lauderdale County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues

 
 
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 13, 2012
1. Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker
Mississippi Blues Trail
Inscription. Jimmie Rodgers (1897 – 1933) is widely known as the "father of country music," but blues was a prominent element of his music. The influence of his famous "blue yodels" can be heard in the music of Mississippi blues artists including Howlin' Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, and the Mississippi Sheiks. His many songs include the autobiographical "T.B. Blues," which addressed the tuberculosis that eventually took his life.

(Reverse text)
    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 in yodeling, and in 1923 blues singers Bessie Smith and Sara Martin recorded Clarence Williams’s song, "Yodeling Blues."
    Although most of Rodgers’s songs were original, some
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, Reverse side text image. Click for full size.
2. Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, Reverse side text
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."
 
Erected by Mississippi Blues Commission.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 32° 
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker image. Click for full size.
3. Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker
Jimmie Rodgers poses for a publicity shot.
Bluebird and RCA Victor record labels
Rodgers was accompanied on "My Good Gal's Gone Blues" by an Africian American group, the Louisville Jug Band, recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 16, 1931. The record was not released until May 22, 1935, two years after Rodgers death. His records have since been reissued many times in various formats by RCA Victor and associated labels.
  A U.S. postage stamp posthumously honoring Rodgers was issued in 1978. This postcard from 1934 shows how Meridian's bustling Union Station looked the year after Rodgers's death.

If you don't want me mama,
  you sure don't have to stall
If you don't want me mama,
  you sure don't have to stall.
'Cause I can get more women
   than a passenger train can haul
Oh-da-lay-ee-oh, lay-ee-ay, lay-ee
"Blue Yodel" Jimmie Rodgers
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. Touch for map. Located at Meridian Union Station. Marker is in this post office area: Meridian MS 39301, United States of America.
 
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); Elsie McWilliams ( approx. 0.2 miles away); Country Music Comes of Age ( approx. 0.3 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 entry. “The Blue Yodel songs are a series of thirteen songs written and recorded by Jimmie Rodgers during the period from 1927 to his death in May 1933. The songs were based on the 12-bar blues format and featured Rodgers’ trademark yodel refrains. The lyrics
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, Reverse side image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 13, 2012
4. Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, Reverse side
often had a risqué quality with ‘a macho, slightly dangerous undertone.’ The original album sold more than a half million copies, a phenomenal number at the time.” (Submitted on August 3, 2013.) 
 
Additional comments.
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 Springfield, Virginia.

 
Categories. Entertainment
 
Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, on Front Street, looking southwest image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 13, 2012
5. Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues Marker, on Front Street, looking southwest
Jimmie Rodgers Stamp image. Click for full size.
By US Postal Service, 1978
6. Jimmie Rodgers Stamp
Singing Brakeman Park image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 15, 2014
7. Singing Brakeman Park
Located directly below marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 680 times since then and 62 times this year. This page 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.
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