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Essential Jimmie Rodgers

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Album Review

As the first serious attempt at a single-disc Jimmie Rodgers retrospective in the CD-era, The Essential Jimmie Rodgers isn't bad at all. Over the course of 20 songs, nearly all of his best-known songs — including "Blue Yodel, No. 1," "In the Jailhouse Now" and "Blue Yodel, No. 8" (a.k.a. "Mule Skinner Blues") — are featured, and while some good things remain in the vaults, it's hard to argue with what's here. After all, Essential isn't designed for historians or completists — it's for the curious, who are reluctant to invest in either Rounder's multi-volume series or Bear Family's comprehensive box. For those listeners, The Essential Jimmie Rodgers is an invaluable introduction.


Born: September 8, 1897 in Meridian, MS

Genre: Country

Years Active: '20s, '30s

His brass plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame reads, "Jimmie Rodgers' name stands foremost in the country music field as the man who started it all." This is a fair assessment. The "Singing Brakeman" and the "Mississippi Blue Yodeler," whose six-year career was cut short by tuberculosis, became the first nationally known star of country music and the direct influence of many later performers, from Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, and Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard. Rodgers sang about...
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