A happy Monday to you. The Monday Morning Blues is a trifle late this morning thanks to technical glitches, but as is so often the case, a combination of re-booting & dogged persistance have paid off. I chalk much of this up to January, which always seems to be a cursed month!
Anyway, our month of Jimmie Rodgers covers continues with my take on “Blue Yodel #5.” As Rodgers fans know, the Singing Brakeman composed & recorded 13 “Blue Yodels, starting with the song also known as “T for Texas,” which Rodgers recorded in 1927 & which became a huge hit upon its release. The final song was titled, appropriately enough, “Jimmie Rodgers Last Blue Yodel”; this was recorded in May 1933 just over a week before his death & was released posthumously.
Rodgers was a great singer & songwriter, & his yodeling ability was top-notch. Bob Dylan has described Rodgers’ yodeling as follows: “that famous blue yodel that defies the rational and conjecturing mind.” Rodgers himself described his yodeling in more mundane terms as “curlicues I can make with my throat.” Tho he used this ability in a great number of his songs, the “Blue Yodel” series is a remarkable set of songs & one that had profound effects on the development of country music & probably had influence into other music as well—just as Rodgers himself learned from the African-American stylings we call the blues, there’s every reason to believe that Rodgers’ songs had an impact on contemporary blues performers. His songs were major hits, & it’s known that blues artists such as Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf admired his work. I’ve also seen conjecture that Rodgers may have influenced Tommy Johnson’s singing.
The yodeling is a stretch for me, but I had fun with it. I’m playing my Gold Tone resonator tuned to an open D but capoed so that the actual key is E. I originally intended to play this one slide style, but at the last minute I chose to go with straight fingerpicking. Hope you enjoy it!