The Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues is on Front Street, near the historic Rail Depot, in downtown Meridian, Mississippi.
The GPS location of this marker is: N32° 21.912′ W 88° 41.691′
This marker reads:
“JIMMIE RODGERS & THE BLUES – Jimmie Rodgers (1897 -1933) is widely known as “the father of country music” but blues was a prominent element of his music. The influence of his famous “blue yodels” can be heard in the music of Mississippi blues artists including Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson and the Mississippi Sheiks. His many songs include the autobiographical “T.B. Blues,” which addressed the tuberculosis that eventually took his life.”
Jimmie Rodgers was also known as “the Singing Brakeman” since he worked for the railway in Meridian, Mississippi. He was featured in a 1930 movie entitled the Singing Brakeman. With Rodgers’ connection to the railways, it is appropriate that this Mississippi Blues Trail marker is placed near the Meridian railway station and the historic Rail Depot, a building Jimmie Rodgers would have been familiar with.
Here are some YouTube videos of Jimmie Rodgers performing in the 1930 film “The Singing Brakeman”: Blue Yodel No.1 (a.k.a. T For Texas) and Waiting For A Train, Daddy And Home, Blue Yodel No. 1.
Here’s another YouTube video of Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong performing Jimmie Rodgers Blue Yodel #9. (Louis Armstrong played on the original Jimmie Rodgers Blue Yodel #9 session in Hollywood on 16 July 1930.)
Here are some YouTube audio clips of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodels” mentioned on the Mississippi Blues Trail marker: Blue Yodel #1; Blue Yodel #2 ; Blue Yodel #3 ; Blue Yodel #4 ; Blue Yodel #5 ; Blue Yodel #6 ; Blue Yodel #7 ; Blue Yodel #8 ; Blue Yodel #9 ; Blue Yodel # 10 ; Blue Yodel #11 ; Blue Yodel #12 ; Last Blue Yodel ;
In 1961, Jimmie Rodgers became the first inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame; he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970; he was awarded the W.C. Handy Award for Contribution to the Blues in 1984 (the first white performer to receive this award); was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986; was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1991. There is a Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi.
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