Monday, April 6, 2009


“Father of the Texas Blues”

Blind Lemon Jefferson one of the earliest, and most prominent, figures in the blues movement developing in Dallas. His first few recordings were gospel and were released under the name “Deacon L.J. Bates”, before finally turning to the blues. He had such recording success that Paramount Records made their own special label for his records called “Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Birthday Records.” His music was often criticized for “breaking time” and not keeping a steady 12- bar count but his playing was always clean and clear. Blind Lemon is also known for having taught T-Bone Walker the blues basics on the guitar, who himself went out to pioneer the electric guitar and become one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

After his work with Paramount, he switched record labels and began working with OKeh Records. From there, he recorded ‘Matchbox Blues’ in 1927, a song about a mean spirited woman. It was only one of two Okeh recordings, probably because of his contractual obligations with Paramount. It has better sound quality than his Paramount records.

Blind Lemon Jefferson is considered by many to be the founder of the Texas Blues sound. He was a very influential figure on the musical careers of Lead Belly and Lightinin’ Hopkins, and Doc Watson. B.B. King even maintains Jefferson’s huge influence on his own singing and guitar playing. More modern artists that drew inspiration from Blind Lemon include Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, and the Beatles, who also sang their version of “Match Box Blues”.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed “Matchbox Blues” by Blind Lemon Jefferson as one of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll, in addition to being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Click here if you'd like to check out Blind Lemon Jefferson's Matchbox Blues:
Blind Lemon Jefferson. Matchbox Blues. Black Snake Moan Record. Okeh Records. 1927

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