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Posts Tagged ‘Jimmie Rodgers’

Died On This Date (February 12, 2011) Bud Reed / Bluegrass Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on February 12, 2011

Ralph “Bud” Reed
January 16, 1918 – February 12, 2011

Bud Reed was a respected bluegrass and old-timey musician who will be forever linked with his wife and musical collaborator, Ola Belle Reed.  After serving his country during WWII, Reed came home to focus on a music career, mainly that of his wife.  He can be heard playing guitar and harmonica on several of her records.  Over the years, the Reeds opened a handful of music-themed amusement parks in Pennsylvania.  Legends likes of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley have all graced their stages from time to time.  In 1982, Reed cut his own album, a tribute to the songs of Jimmie Rodgers.  Bud Reed was 93 when he passed away on February 12, 2011.



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Died On This Date (June 1, 1948) Sonny Boy Williamson I / Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 1, 2010

John “Sonny Boy” Williamson
March 30, 1914 – June 1, 1948

Not to be confused with Rice “Sonny Boy Williamson II” Miller, another blues harmonica player, Sonny Boy Williamson was by all accounts the first on the scene to use the Sonny Boy moniker. As one of the most popular blues artists of his generation, Williamson was an influence on the likes of Junior Wells, Snooky Pryor, and Little Walter, as well as several non-harmonica players including Muddy Waters and even Jimmie Rodgers. He was both band leader and sideman during his career, mostly recording for the legendary Bluebird Records label. And his biggest hit “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” is one of the most covered song of the era, having been re-recorded by such artists as Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Steppenwolf, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Muddy Waters, and perhaps most famously, the Yardbirds. Sadly, as he was walking home from a gig near his home on Chicago’s south side, Williamson was killed during a random mugging.

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Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 1 (1937 - 1938) - Sonny Boy Williamson

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Died On This Date (May 26, 1933) Jimmie Rodgers / Folk Legend

Posted by themusicsover on May 26, 2010

Jimmie Rodgers
September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933

rodgersKnown as “The Singing Brakeman,” Jimmie Rodgers was one of country music’s first superstars, best known for his yodeling.  A natural showman at an early age, Rodgers began arranging traveling road shows while still in his early teens.    To keep him an eye on him, Rodgers’ father got him a job as a waterboy at the rail yard at which he worked.  It was there that Rodgers began learning the guitar from hobos and rail workers.  When he was 27, Rodgers came down with  tuberculosis.  Although it eventually put an end to his career with the railroad, it didn’t stop him from performing and recording.  Rodgers recorded several records in the late ’20s, including “Blue Yodel” (or “T For Texas” as it was commonly known) which would make him a household name.    By the early ’30s, Rodgers was mostly retired from the road due to the health problems brought on by the tuberculosis.  In May of 1933, he traveled to New York for what would be his final recording sessions.  It has been said that he needed to lay down and rest between each song.  Rodgers died of a lung hemorrhage just two days after his final recording session.  He was just 35.

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Essential Jimmie Rodgers - Jimmie Rodgers

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Died On This Date (May 23, 2008) U. Utah Phillips / American Folk Singer and Union Organizer

Posted by themusicsover on May 23, 2010

Bruce U. “Utah” Phillips
May 15, 1935 – May 23, 2008

Utah Phillips was a  great folk singer, poet and much respected labor organizer.  Phillips first picked up a ukulele when he was a child but soon switched to guitar after he moved to Yellowstone Park to work on a road crew.  It was there that he was exposed to the music of Jimmie Rodgers and Gene Autry.  After the Korean War, Phillips began to turn his focus on politics and worker unions, going as far as unsuccessfully running for Senate as part of the Peace & Freedom Party.   Phillips continued to use his voice and writing as a weapon to defend what he felt were injustices toward his fellow-man.   Phillips performed and recorded into his early ’70s, but died of  heart disease at the age of 73.

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Died On This Date (May 21, 1990) Morris Levy / Owned Roulette Records

Posted by themusicsover on May 21, 2010

Moishe “Morris” Levy
August 27, 1927 – May 21, 1990

Morris Levy’s checkered career in the music industry began in the late ’40s when he owned multiple New York City nightclubs, including the famous jazz venue, Birdland.  Because of his venues, Levy learned that performers were required to pay royalties on the songs they performed to the publishing owners, so he started his own publishing company where he began making his fortune.  In 1956, Levy launched Roulette Records which was, at one time or another, home to Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Tommy James & the Shondells, Buddy Knox, Jimmie Rodgers, and many more.  In numerous cases, Levy appeared as co-writer and owned the publishing on the label’s early hits, even though he actually had no hand in the writing.  It was Tommy James who scored the most hit records for the label but unfortunately, he saw litttle of the fortune until Levy sold the company to EMI Music during the late ’80s, and James’ catalog was issued on CD.   Unlike other label heads, Levy also owned pressing plants, duplicating companies, and printing presses, leading law enforcement to believe he was also making pirated copies of popular releases, including many of his own, to make money along the black market as well.   Levy also owned a record store chain and had dubious relationships with radio stations and other alleged underworld characters over the years.  It has long been believed, though never officially proven that he carried out his illegal operations using all facets of his empire to make his fortune.   Although more felonious actions have been attributed to him, Levy was tried and convicted of extortion in 1986, but passed away while free on appeal and before ever serving any time.

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