Album Review

Rodgers, Jimmie – “Train Whistle Blues” – [Rca Records]

ArtCrimes   1/28/2009   12-inch, Country

Jimmie Rodgers’ recording career was not long (6 years), and he was suffering from TB the whole time, so it’s a wonder he managed to cast such a huge shadow across a wide range of popular music, serving as an inspiration for country, folk, pop, jazz, rock and soul artists to this very day. He was certainly one of the first white artists to successfully adopt black blues idioms, bringing the “blue yodel” out of the minstrel tradition and into the mainstream. Ralph Peer discovered Jimmie on the same 1927 field trip to Bristol, Tennessee that brought us the Carter Family. Rodgers had already become a well-rounded entertainer as a young man on the medicine show circuit, so he was was ready for the big time when Peer found him, far more so than most of the hillbilly and gospel acts down in Bristol. He would soon find himself recording not only country, but pop as well, and jazz with no less a sideman than Louis Armstrong. This collection was put together by RCA in 1958 and serves as an overview of his career, with not too many overlaps with the other Rodgers discs at KFJC. Some, but not all, of his biggest hits are here, leaving room for lesser-known sides and recordings made shortly before his death in 1933. (crimes)

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