This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
Blind Lemon Jefferson
(September 24, 1893 – December 19, 1929)
When Blind Lemon Jefferson was discovered on a Texas street corner in 1925, women ruled the blues. The divas’ big backing bands and polished urban sound, singing mostly songs written by other people. It took the unmatched talent of a young country blues man to change all that. Thanks to Blind Lemon Jefferson, for the first time ever a singer-songwriter could be famous.
Jefferson’s incredible guitar playing made it nearly impossible for anyone else to imitate—or steal—his songs. His imaginative song writing and haunting voice was like nothing that had ever been recorded before. The public went wild. Blind Lemon went from singing all night on the street and wrestling—blind—for extra cash, to traveling the country in his own chauffeured cars.
Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded almost a hundred songs in only four years, sold more records than anyone that came before him, and single-handedly changed the face of popular music. Tragically, his career was cut short by his mysterious death. There’re a lot of stories, but it’s said he died of a heart attack after becoming disoriented in a Chicago snowstorm. Legend has it that he was found frozen, his hand gripping the neck of his beloved guitar.