Do they yodel in the USA ?: Jimmie Rodgers (I) (1927)20 April 2008
Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) is one of the biggest sources of inspiration for all the (country) yodelers in the USA and around the world. In the thirties, under his influence, yodeling became almost synonymous with country music.
He was born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi, and worked on the railroads. After catching tuberculosis, he moved to North Carolina, where the mountain air was cleaner. He played music since a few years but was recorded for the first time during the famous Bristol sessions by Ralph Peer in 1927.
(You can find a complete biography of Jimmie Rodgers here.)
Here are his first songs from the 4th of august 1927. The recording session wasn’t without problems: Jimmie Rodgers came there with his band, the Tenneva Ramblers, but they broke up the next day. Ralph Peer did then a solo recording of Jimmie, but he was just a singer without a band, and with a guitar, and with a very limited “old timey” repertoire: he could only come up with two songs, the ballad The soldier’s sweetheart, inspired by the dead of a friend in World War I (without yodel) and a 19th century lullaby, Sleep, Baby, Sleep (with a lazy yodel).
These song were released with little promotion but they attracted attention and Ralph Peer decided to do a second recording session in november.