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Jimmie Rodgers

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Artist's top tracks

Frankie and Johnny Jimmie Rodgers 02:50
Blue Yodel (T for Texas) Jimmie Rodgers 03:23
Waiting for a Train Jimmie Rodgers 02:43
In the Jailhouse Now Jimmie Rodgers 03:18
Away Out On the Mountain Jimmie Rodgers 03:18
T.B. Blues Jimmie Rodgers 02:58
Treasures Untold Jimmie Rodgers 03:04
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine Jimmie Rodgers 02:17
Old Pal of My Heart Jimmie Rodgers 03:06
Ben Dewberry's Last Run Jimmie Rodgers 03:25

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Blue Yodel (T for Texas)
Away Out On the Mountain
Ben Dewberry's Last Run
The Brakeman's Blues (Yodeling the Blues Away)

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Biography

Selling a million copies of his song 'Blue Yodel' in 1927, Jimmie Rodgers was the first country music star and became recognised as the father of country music thereafter. It wasn't the only tag laid on him - he was also known as The Blue Yodeller and The Singing Brakeman as drawing on old blues as well as writing his own songs, his influence stretched far and wide from Gene Autry, Mississippi John Hurt and Johnny Cash to Jerry Lee Lewis and Van Morrison. He was even the subject of the Clint Eastwood movie 'Honkytonk Man' in 1982.

Following the death of his mother when he was still a small child, Rodgers was raised in various parts of Mississippi by different family members and, getting a job on the railways, is reputed to have been taught to play guitar by railway men and hobos. Working as a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern railroad, he was just 27 when he contracted tuberculosis - a subject that came to feature heavily in many of his songs. His confinement gave him the opportunity to concentrate on his music and he got a regular spot on a radio station in Asheville, North Carolina, recruiting the group the Tenneva Ramblers to play with him. This led to a contract with Victor Records and the release of his first recordings 'The Soldier's Sweetheart' and 'Sleep Baby Sleep'. Moving to New York, he teamed up to write songs with his sister-in-law Elsie McWilliams and they came up with the breakthrough hit 'The Blue Yodel' (also known as 'T for Texas'). Other hits followed and he got his own radio show in San Antonio, Texas and even remained popular during the Depression era, with tracks like 'Mississippi Delta Blues' and 'Years Ago', even as the return of TB weakened him. He died in 1933 at the age of 35, but the effect of adapting blues into a different way of reflecting American life changed music forever.