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Today in Music – 1893 – “Blind” Lemon Jefferson was born!!

Blind Lemon Jefferson

The only known photograph of Jefferson.

So aside from his name, I don’t know much about the man, who many label “The Father of Texas Blues” Blind Lemon Jefferson. Since today is his birthday, I figure it’s a good day to find out a little about the man! From Wikipedia

Blind” Lemon Jefferson (Lemon Henry Jefferson; September 24, 1893 – December 19, 1929) was an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues”.[2]   Jefferson’s singing and self-accompaniment were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar.[3] Though his recordings sold well, he was not so influential on some younger blues singers of his generation, who could not imitate him as they could other commercially successful artists.[4] However, later blues and rock and roll musicians attempted to imitate both his songs and his musical style.[3] His recordings would later influence such legends as B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Son House and Robert Johnson…..   It was largely due to the popularity of artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and contemporaries such as Blind Blake and Ma Rainey that Paramount became the leading recording company for the blues in the 1920s.[13] Jefferson’s earnings reputedly enabled him to buy a car and employ chauffeurs (although there is debate over the reliability of this as well); he was given a Ford car “worth over $700” by Mayo Williams, Paramount’s connection with the black community. This was a frequently seen compensation for recording rights in that market. Jefferson is known to have done an unusual amount of traveling for the time in the American South, which is reflected in the difficulty of pigeonholing his music into one regional category.[14] It was Jefferson’s “old-fashioned sound and confident musicianship that made him easy to market. His skillful guitar playing and impressive vocal ranges opened the door for a new generation of male solo blues performers such as Furry Lewis, Charlie Patton, and Barbecue Bob Read More

Here’s a list of some of the artists who have covered Blind Lemon Jefferson songs…. Bob Dylan – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” on Bob Dylan Grateful Dead – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” as “One Kind Favor” on Birth of the Dead Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia/John Kahn/Bil Vitt – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” as “One Kind Favor” on Keystone Encores Volume I John Hammond – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” as “One Kind Favor” on John Hammond Live B.B. King – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” on One Kind Favor Peter, Paul & Mary – “See That My Grave is Kept Clean,” reworked as “One Kind Favor” on In Concert Kelly Joe Phelps – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” on Roll Away The Stone Counting Crows – “Mean Jumper Blues”. Here’s a Blind Lemon Jefferson song “Matchbox Blues” that has been covered by The Beatles, Albert King and Tab Benoit to name a few, and you can probably list many, many, many more musicians who have covered the song over the last 80 odd years!! So Happy Birthday, Lemon and thanks!!

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