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Blind Lemon Jefferson King of the Country Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson was born in Couchman, Texas, at some point around the 1890s although the specific date is unknowned and numerous are declared. He was the youngest of 7 kids and the just one of them born blind. The information of his birth and young life are not popular, nor are the factor that he initially started to play guitar and sing, however his impact on the advancement of blues is popular.
He got the regard of his peers with exactly what were described unique abilities, and left traces of his musical qualities in the majority of the blues that followed him. Despite the fact that he began using street corners near his home town, by 1917 Lemon was residing in Dallas and was currently popular and appreciated by his peers. He started taking a trip by train to surrounding locations and travelled thoroughly, where he satisfied other blues greats such as: Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), Robert Wilkins and Son House.
Blind Lemon Jefferson Biography
Blind Lemon Jefferson was born on September 24, 1893, in Coutchman, Texas, to sharecroppers. Early, on he became an itinerant singer of the blues throughout the South, eventually making his way to Chicago, Illinois. He would become popular on the Paramount record label in the late 1920s, acquiring disciples like Lead Belly.
Born on September 24, 1893, in Coutchman, Texas, singer and guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the most influential blues performers of the early 20th century. He is considered one of the founders of Texas blues and a leading figure in country blues. According to allmusic.com, Jefferson was born blind and was one of seven children. His parents were sharecroppers.
In his teens, Jefferson began performing in Dallas. There he met another future blues legend, Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. The pair worked together for a short time. In the 1920s, Jefferson married Roberta Ransom, according to the Texas State Historical Association.
Musical Success Story
Discovered by a talent scout in 1925, Jefferson soon went to Chicago to launch his recording career. He put down more than 90 tracks, mostly for the Paramount label. Jefferson helped popularized blues across the country with such songs as “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” “Black Snake Moan” and “Matchbox Blues.”
In addition to blues, Jefferson also recorded several gospel tunes, such as “I Want to Be Like Jesus in My Heart,” under the name Deacon L. J. Bates. He toured extensively as well, playing gigs in his native Texas and other parts of the South.
Death and Legacy
Jefferson died on December 19, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois. His exact cause of death is unknown. Reports vary from him suffering a heart attack during a snowstorm to being in a car accident. His body was returned to Texas, where he was buried in an unmarked grave in Wortham. It wasn’t until 1967 that Jefferson’s grave site received a proper memorial.
Although his career was brief, Jefferson has served an important influence on a range of performers, including B. B. King, Lightin’ Hopkins and Bob Dylan. His songs have been covered by the likes of the Beatles and Carl Perkins. Jefferson was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980.
Article Source: http://www.biography.com/people/blind-lemon-jefferson-41017
It was commonly believed that he played in every Southern state at one time or another and a number of artists recount stories of having fun with him several times. Lemon was a company business person, playing just for cash, with a credibility for stopping as quickly as it did. In late 1925, Lemon satisfied Sammy Price, a Dallas skill scout for Paramount records. Right after, Lemon took a trip to Chicago to tape his very first single for Paramount, a tune called “Long Lonesome Blues” which ended up being a hit in May 1926.
“Matchbox Blues” another Blind Lemon tune was later on covered by the Beatles, among numerous Lemon tunes that were covered by rock ‘n’ roll entertainers. Lemon was a preferred recording artist who wound up taping 42 albums, and over 100 recordings with Paramount throughout his reasonably brief life. Blind Lemon Jefferson passed away in Chicago in late December 1929 and was reclaimed to Dallas, Texas to be buried at the Wortham Cemetery.
Blind Lemon Jefferson Songs
Prior to Jefferson, few artists had actually taped solo voice and blues guitar, the very first which was singer Sara Martin and guitar player Sylvester Weaver. Jefferson’s music is uninhibited and represented the timeless noises of daily life from a honky-tonk to a nation picnic to street corner blues to operate in the blossoming oil fields, an additional reflection of his interest in mechanical things and procedures.
Jefferson did exactly what few had actually ever done– he ended up being an effective solo guitar player and male singer in the business recording world. Unlike numerous artists who were “found” and tape-recorded in their typical locations, in December 1925 or January 1926, he was required to Chicago, Illinois, to tape-record his very first tracks. Uncharacteristically, Jefferson’s very first 2 recordings from this session were gospel tunes (“I Want to resemble Jesus in my Heart” and “All I Want is that Pure Religion”), launched under the name Deacon L. J. Bates.
This resulted in a 2nd recording session in March 1926. His very first releases under his own name, “Booster Blues” and “Dry Southern Blues”, were hits; this resulted in the release of the other 2 tunes from that session, “Got the Blues” and “Long Lonesome Blues,” which ended up being a runaway success, with sales in 6 figures. He tape-recorded about 100 tracks in between 1926 and 1929; 43 records were provided, all however one for Paramount Records.
Regrettably, Paramount Records’ studio strategies and quality were bad, and the resulting recordings were launched with bad sound quality. In truth, in May 1926, Paramount had Jefferson re-record his hits “Got the Blues” and “Long Lonesome Blues” in the exceptional centers at Marsh Laboratories, and subsequent releases utilized those variations. Both variations appear on collection albums and might be compared.
Blind Lemon Jefferson: The Myth and the Man
By Govenar, Alan
In recent years, the life of Blind Lemon Jefferson has been the subject of considerable speculation.(1) Although his recordings are extensive, details about his life are relatively few. The facts of Jefferson’s life are scattered in an array of articles in newspapers, fan and collector magazines, record liner notes, local legends, first-person narratives, and mythic representations.
There are numerous contradictory accounts of where Jefferson lived, performed, and died. All this is complicated further by the lack of photographic documentation; to date, only two photographs of him have been identified, and even these are misleading. The cause of Jefferson’s blindness is not known, nor is it known whether he had some residual sight. Why would a blind man wear clear glasses, as he does in a record-company publicity shot?
Researchers traditionally have depended largely on secondary sources and anectodal evidence. Generally, blues scholars have identified Lemon Jefferson’s birth date as September 24, 1897, although census records indicate that the year was in fact 1893 and that his registered name was spelled “Lemmon.”
His parents, Alec and Clarissy Banks Jefferson, lived and worked as sharecroppers on a farm in Couchman, a small community near Wortham in Freestone County, Texas, which was a stop on the Houston & Texas Central line seventy-five miles south of Dallas. Wortham had three cotton gins, and the Houston & Texas Central carried the crop to market in Dallas.
Little is known about Jefferson’s early life. He must have heard songsters and bluesmen, such as Henry “Ragtime Texas” Thomas, and Alger “Texas” Alexander. Both Thomas and Alexander traveled around East Texas and performed a variety of blues and dance tunes.
Jefferson was clearly an heir to the blues songster tradition, although the specifics of his musical training are vague. Legends of his prowess as a bluesman abound among the musicians who heard him, and sightings of Jefferson in different places around the country are plentiful.
Jefferson came from a large family that included children from his mother’s first marriage. He took up music at an early age and learned to get around the nearby little towns of Wortham, Kirvin, Streetman, and Groesbeck. “Lemon started out playing his guitar on these streets, and I was on those same streets,” recalled Quince Cox (1999b), born in 1903, who once served as caretaker in the Wortham cemetery, where Jefferson is buried. “I pitched quarter and nickels to him, and he’d play his guitar at any time of night. He used to play at Jake Lee’s [a white-operated] barbershop every Saturday, and people from all over came to hear him play. Then he’d get on this road at ten or eleven o’clock, and he’d walk to Kirvin, seven or eight miles. He’d play and keep walking, but he knew where he was going” (see also Steinberg 1982).
Alec Jefferson told writer Samuel Charters that his mother would not let him go to the country suppers where his cousin Lemon was playing. “They were rough. Men was hustling women and selling bootleg, and Lemon was singing for them all night. They didn’t even do proper kind of dancing, just stomping” (quoted in Charters 1959, 178). According to Hobart Carter (1999b), another native of the Wortham area, Jefferson often played “breakdowns in the woods” near Couchman and was sometimes accompanied by a fiddler named Lorenzo Ross.
“They had a hallelujah time. We had our suppers and things. Saturday nights and things like that. All through the winter, we’d have some cold nights and some rainy nights. We had plenty of chock houses at that time. You get some sugar, put it in a crock. Let it set three days and go to drinking it. Chock houses were everywhere at that time.”
Quince Cox (1999b), a longtime friend of Carter, maintains that “Lemon played anything he had to play. And he played pretty good, too. What did we call them songs? Reels … He could play anything you asked him to play. …
Mostly due to the appeal of artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and contemporaries such as Blind Blake and Ma Rainey, Paramount ended up being the leading recording business for the blues in the 1920s.  Jefferson’s profits reputedly allowed him to purchase a vehicle and use drivers (although there is argument over the dependability of this too); he was provided a Ford cars and truck “worth over $700” by Mayo Williams, Paramount’s connection with the black neighborhood.
This was a frequently-seen settlement for tape-recording rights because market. Jefferson is understood to have actually done an uncommon quantity of taking a trip for the time in the American South, which is shown in the problem of pigeonholing his music into one local classification.
Blind Lemon Jefferson Facts
Jefferson’s “old-fashioned” noise and positive musicianship made him simple to market. His experienced guitar playing and outstanding singing varieties unlocked for a brand-new generation of male solo blues entertainers such as Furry Lewis, Charlie Patton, and Barbecue Bob.  He adheres to no musical conventions, differing his riffs and rhythm and singing complex and meaningful lyrics in a way extraordinary at the time for a “easy nation blues singer.” Inning accordance with North Carolina artist Walter Davis, Jefferson used the streets in Johnson City, Tennessee, throughout the early 1920s at which time Davis and fellow performer Clarence Greene discovered the art of blues guitar.
Jefferson was reputedly dissatisfied with his royalties (although Williams stated that Jefferson had a checking account consisting of as much as $1500). In 1927, when Williams relocated to OKeh Records, he took Jefferson with him, and OKeh rapidly tape-recorded and launched Jefferson’s “Matchbox Blues” backed with “Black Snake Moan,” which was to be his only OKeh recording, most likely since of legal commitments with Paramount. Jefferson’s 2 tunes launched on Okeh have substantially much better sound quality than on his Paramount records at the time.
Blind Lemon Jefferson See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
When he had actually gone back to Paramount a couple of months later on, “Matchbox Blues” had currently end up being such a hit that Paramount re-recorded and launched 2 brand-new variations, under manufacturer Arthur Laibly. In 1927, Jefferson tape-recorded another of his now traditional tunes, the haunting “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” (as soon as again utilizing the pseudonym Deacon L. J. Bates) in addition to 2 other uncharacteristically spiritual tunes, “He Arose from the Dead” and “Where Shall I Be”. Of the 3, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” was so effective that it was re-recorded and re-released in 1928.
Jefferson passed away in Chicago at 10:00 am on December 19, 1929, of exactly what his death certificate called “most likely severe myocarditis”. For several years, apocryphal reports distributed that an envious enthusiast had actually poisoned his coffee, however a most likely circumstance is that he passed away of a cardiac arrest after ending up being disoriented throughout a snowstorm. Some have stated that Jefferson passed away from a cardiac arrest after being assaulted by a pet dog in the middle of the night. More just recently, the book, Tolbert’s Texas, declared that he was eliminated while being robbed of a big royalty payment by a guide accompanying him to Union Station to capture a train the home of Texas. Paramount Records spent for the return of his body to Texas by train, accompanied by pianist William Ezell.
Blind Lemon Jefferson Grave
Jefferson was buried at Wortham Negro Cemetery (later on Wortham Black Cemetery). Far from his tomb being kept tidy, it was unmarked up until 1967, when a Texas Historical Marker was put up in the basic location of his plot, the accurate area being unidentified. By 1996, the cemetery and marker remained in bad condition, however a brand-new granite headstone was set up in 1997. In 2007, the cemetery’s name was altered to Blind Lemon Memorial Cemetery and his grave site is kept tidy by a cemetery committee in Wortham, Texas.
Jefferson had an elaborate and quick style of guitar playing and an especially high-pitched voice. He was a creator of the Texas blues noise and a crucial impact on other blues vocalists and guitar players, consisting of Lead Belly and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
He was the author of lots of tunes covered by later artists, consisting of the timeless “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”. Another of his tunes, “Matchbox Blues”, was taped more than 30 years later on by The Beatles, albeit in a rockabilly variation credited to Carl Perkins, who himself did not credit Jefferson on his 1955 recording.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame noted Jefferson’s 1927 recording “Matchbox Blues” among the 500 tunes that formed rock-and-roll.  Jefferson was amongst the inaugural class of blues artists inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.