Jimmie Rodgers' secret song

6 Oct 2015

Just three days after the Carter Family auditioned for Ralph Peer in Bristol in August 1927, a seasoned entertainer by the name of Jimmie Rodgers also turned up with his guitar hoping to secure a contract for fame and fortune.

 

He was Jimmie Rodgers, a railroad worker who spent much of his spare time singing and picking, and he felt sure that Mr Peer would recognise his talent. But whereas the Carters focused on heartfelt laments, Rodgers had a much wider repertoire, some of which was self-composed.

 

He'd come to the Bristol audition holding a song that he felt might catch Mr Peer's attention but the lyrics were somewhat ribald, and Jimmie decided he'd hold it in reserve for the follow-up recording session, and performed less risque songs for the producer instead.

 

Rodgers returned home but received no call from Mr Peer so he decided to take matters into his own hands and travelled to New York and cajoled him into another session during which he performed his secret song, "T for Texas". Peer was knocked out by the song and also by Rodgers' stunning yodelling performance. He dubbed the track "Blue Yodel" and released it on the RCA Victor label: it was a life-changing moment for both men.

 

Jimmie Rodgers became known as the Father of Country Music, and Ralph Peer became known as one of the richest men in the music business.

 

[Picture from the Bluegrass Situation website.]

 

 

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