Blind Lemon Jefferson

Often referred to as the father of Texan blues and a major influence on rock'n'roll, Lemon Jefferson stands as one of the most influential of the true blues greats, both for his extraordinarily wild voice and distinctively uninhibited guitar style. Blind at birth and one of eight children born into a sharecropping family, he learned to play guitar in his teens and went on to become a street musician playing in different towns in East Texas. Moving to Dallas, he met and played with Leadbelly and T-Bone Walker and became one of the earliest and most successful blues performers of the time, making his first recordings Jesus In My Heart and All I Want Is That Pure Religion in 1925 under the name of Deacon L.J. Bates. The following year he recorded Booster Blues and Dry Southern Blues under his own name, followed by Got The Blues and - his biggest hit of the period - Long Lonesome Blues. Between 1926 and 1929 he recorded over 100 tracks for Paramount Records, helping to make it the leading blues label of the time, and his success paved the way for other blues greats like Charlie Patton and Furry Lewis to follow. He then switched to Okeh Records, where he wrote and recorded the classic Matchbox Blues (later recorded by The Beatles). Reverting to the name Deacon L. J. Bates, he had another major hit with See That My Grave Is Kept Clean. He died, in somewhat mysterious circumstances but reputedly of a heart attack, in December, 1929 at the age of 36 and his burial site in Chicago has subsequently been re-named the Blind Lemon Memorial Cemetery in his honour.

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Stations Featuring Blind Lemon Jefferson

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