Winner, ASCAP Deems Taylor AwardCertificate of Merit, ARSC Best Research in Recorded Country Music
The songs of country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers have been appropriated by dozens of musicians and radically transformed since he first recorded them nearly 90 years ago. His songs have often resurfaced at critical moments when country music has been forced to confront issues of style, gender, race, and tradition. In this cultural and historical study, Jocelyn R. Neal discusses three of Rodgers' most influential songs—"Muleskinner Blues," "In the Jailhouse Now," and "T for Texas." She offers a radically new perspective on the role of Rodgers and his music in the making of country music, and on the ways in which individual songs take on special significance in American cultural life.
|Neal combines thoughtful, meticulous, razor-sharp analyses of songs and performances with an encyclopedic knowledge of country music history and of the connections between songs and performers.All pop historians and analysts, indeed all fans of country music, will gain from this definitive study of Jimmie Rodgers' songs, performances, and recordings. Richly contextualized by references to artists from Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to Gretchen Wilson and the Dixie Chicks, The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers shows what makes this music tick. By mixing biography, cultural perspective and style analysis with a few close readings, Neal—one of today's leading authorities of country music—easily convinces the reader as to why one yodeling hillbilly Mississippian active from 1927 through 1933 resides at the core of all country.The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers: A Legacy in Country Music is a classic study that ties the life and songs of Jimmie Rodgers to the history of country music in a powerful, memorable way. Through her study of “Muleskinner Blues,” “In the Jailhouse Now,” and “T for Texas,” Jocelyn Neal shows how each generation of country singers--from the birth of country music, to rock and roll, to second-wave feminism, to rock musicians, to pop musicians, to the revival of old-time music—embraced and defined themselves through the musical legacy of Jimmie Rodgers. This book will be welcomed by all who love country music and the familiar sound of Jimmie Rodgers’s blue yodel.A very special study. . . . In [Jocelyn Neal's] skilled hands, this rich history is not just about music but also about musicians, fans, publishers, the music industry and the environing society.
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Table of Contents
1. Creating History: Jimmie Rodgers and the Origins of Country Music
2. Why Everybody Wanted to Be a Muleskinner
3. Still in the Jailhouse
4. T for Texas, Blues, and Southern Rock
5. Old Songs, New Songs, Yodel Songs
Appendix: List of Recordings by Chapter