Jimmie Rodgers Song Swap
Beth Berkelhammer
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 4:00pm
Music 4 - Room #330

Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), known as "the blue yodeler" and "the singing brakeman," is considered by many to be the father of country music, and it would be hard to overstate his significance in American music. With "Blue Yodel No. 1" (aka "T for Texas"), his 1927 recording made for Victor in Camden, New Jersey, which sold half a million copies, he became a superstar of his day.

In the course of his short life (he died at 35 of tuberculosis), Rodgers recorded some 110 songs, many of which he wrote, co-wrote, or adapted. He was remarkably versatile, and his songs encompass many genres-parlor songs, cowboy songs, gospel songs, Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville songs, drawing on and fusing with country blues and traditional mountain music, early jazz, and ragtime. His vivid, earthy lyrics, his guitar picking style, his distinctive voice, and his famous yodeling influenced and inspired many greats, among them King Oliver, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, and Doc Watson. All around us, we can hear the contributions of Jimmie Rodgers to the folk, singer-songwriter, "Americana" music of today-even though some of the performers themselves may be unfamiliar with Rodgers's recordings.

We'll go around the circle and take turns leading songs. Bring an instrument if you like, and play or sing along on the songs you know. If you think you don't know any of Jimmie Rodgers's songs, you may be surprised-come anyway. Sing, listen to, and learn a few of the songs that are some of the very best of our American music.

For more Jimmie Rodgers, join us for A Cavalcade of Yodelers and Fauxdelers, which will immediately precede this workshop, in the same room. And don't miss the performance by Toshio Hirano, a fine interpreter of Jimmie Rodgers and other classic American country songs, with Mountain Dojo, on Sunday at 4:40 in the Pete Seeger Room.

Beth Berkelhammer is nuts about Jimmie Rodgers. She has led Jimmie Rodgers song swaps at Camp Harmony and (along with Carter Family songs) at the San Francisco Folk Music Club.