MEETING JIMMIE RODGERS: HOW AMERICA’S ORIGINAL ROOTS MUSIC HERO CHANGED THE POP SOUNDS OF A CENTURY > By Barry Mazor

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Not a biography in the conventional sense, Barry Mazor’s Meeting Jimmie Rodgers takes a shrewd, hard-headed look at the great Mississippi singer’s influence on country, rock and roll and folk music.









Label: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
[Rating: 4 STARS]

Not a biography in the conventional sense, Barry Mazor’s Meeting Jimmie Rodgers takes a shrewd, hard-headed look at the great Mississippi singer’s influence on country, rock and roll and folk music. Mazor covers everything, from the “Chemirocha” chants of Kenya’s Kipsigi people to Emmett Miller’s relationship to the yodel and Rodgers’ sole film, 1929’s The Singing Brakeman, which seems to exist in two versions shot on the same day. That multiplicity was a Rodgers attribute, and Mazor adeptly combines solid research, musical savvy and a stubborn refusal to accept received wisdom about the popular music that Jimmie Rodgers helped to invent. Bluesman, doomed soul, folksinger, success story-Rodgers “was already accomplishing things in the ‘20s and early ‘30s that are often attributed to the power of rock and roll alone,” as Mazor writes. That might be stretching it a bit, but Meeting Jimmie Rodgers makes a case for Rodgers as an essentially apolitical performer who worked, and played, for the common man. In other words, a shape-shifting American, and an important one.


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