James Charles Rodgers ( Meridian , Mississippi , September 8 1897 - New York , May 26 1933 ) was the first country superstar. He was known as "The Singing Brakeman" and "The Blue Yodeler".
He grew up in Meridian , Mississippi , and went at a very young age to work on the railways. He kicked it there eventually inhibitor, a very dangerous and very specialized function. The air brakes were not then, and to stop the train, the inhibitor had the (moving) train from wagon to wagon jump to manually operate the mechanical brakes of each car.
When Rodgers tuberculosis was he was forced to leave the railways, and took odd jobs, from police detective to performances as a street musician and medicine shows . In 1927 he responded to an advertisement Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company , the same ad as where the Carter Family responded to that very moment. He was allowed to audition and was immediately recorded an album, the beginning of his success.
He wrote most of his songs himself. The lyrics were mostly about his own experiences: love songs, songs about the hard life and on the railways.
Despite the fact that there were at that time many rising stars, Rodgers was distinguished by his unique voice. He had a huge range and a very powerful voice. His yodelling skills were second to none, and his yodels were very complex and were ingenious. The accompanying music in his songs was always perfectly matched to the content. Usually Rodgers also played guitar and often with Louis Armstrong.
Rodgers spent twelve songs with the title "Blue Yodel" followed by numbers 1 to 12. "Blue Yodel No. 1" is the most familiar with the text "T for Texas, T for Tennessee." Actually Rodgers was a white blues singer , he sang traditional blues lyrics and accompanying himself with a blues guitar. His yodels also looked nothing like the Austrian or Swiss yodels but were actually falsetto blues riffs that were displayed by voice.
Some well-known songs of Rodgers' Waiting for a Train "(1929)," In the Jailhouse Now "(1928, 2nd version 1930)," Jimmie the Kid "(1931)," Mule Skinner Blues "(1931)," Miss the Mississippi and You "(1932)," Looking for a New Mommy "(1931)," Jimmie's Mean Mama Blues "(1931), and" Train Whistle Blues "(1930). He took in a total of 113 songs that proved to be timeless. His musical career, however, lasted only six years, Rodgers finally died of tuberculosis at the Taft Hotel in New York. He was only 35 years old.
Rodgers made his last recordings in the week before he died. He had for several years been bedridden by the TB, and had also between takes getting rest.When in 1961 the Country Music Hall of Fame was established, Rodgers was one of the first three were honored there. He was also immortalized in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and his song "Blue Yodel No. 9" is number 23 in the " Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll ". In 1970 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 1976 in America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame .