Jimmie Rodgers is the father of country music. He was the first to fuse blues, folk, pop,
Western, hillbilly, and jazz music in to a new style, uniquely his ownthe music we call
country and wesetern. His story is the stuff of legends; the tubercular young man who fails at his first love
working on the railroadonly to become a singing sensation who between 1927 and 1933 sold some 20 million records.
He was the dedicated family man who also was a hell-raiser,
the music idol of millions who yet reamined close to his Meridian, Mississippi roots.
His simple plaintive tunes, sentimental ballds, "blue yodels", railroad songs
and pop hits offered everyone a gift of cheer, sympathy and humor to help
"lighten the load" of the Depression years. His legacy is so rich that even today the love songs
and ballads sung by Elvis Presley, Hohnny Cash, Willie Nelson and countless others can be traced
directly to his influence, Paris and Comber chronicle the life and time
of "The Singing Brakeman" using all the remaining first-hjand evidence to separate fact
from legend in this authoritative biography of the first star of country music. Includes a complete
discography and bibliography.
Mike Paris teaches history in London and is the author of various articles
in Old Time Music, Country Music People and other publications.
- Chris Comber has written widely on country music. Together they
perform actively as the Southern Eagle String Band. Their essay on Jimmie Rodgers
is included in Stars of Country Music (University of Illinois Press).