Originally posted on November 5, 2007
On the listening end I have been savoring The Essential Jimmie Rodgers (RCA). He is known as the “father” of country music and these recordings comprise his influential career from the late ‘20s to the early ‘30s. He was big then and for good reason. He sang of the common American, and the songs reflect hopping freights, the cowboy life and other now near-mythical themes. There was an honest, straightforward way in his singing. And his yodeling was something.
Rodgers played an acoustic guitar and his themes, the sound of his voice and the down-home acoustic guitar strumming set the pace for both country and folk singers to come. Imagine having your name set in pearl inlays on your guitar neck? Well, his last guitar had that going on! His music is simply indispensable for those who look back and want to trace the roots of American music today. That he died prematurely at the age of thirty-five is a tragedy for us all.