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Blues you can use: Blind Lemon Jefferson

Roots rock critic Peter Guralnick writes of blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson, "he was a striking and individual singer with a high piercing voice and a singular talent for blues poetry..." One of the most popular blues singers of the 1920's, Jefferson was a Texas native but he toured incessantly, spreading his songs far and wide, and by the time he died in 1929 he had sold enough records for Paramount that the label gave him a Ford car.

He recorded about 100 tracks between 1926 and 1929. 43 records were issued, all but one for Paramount Records. Outside of blues enthusiasts, his records are sadly underappreciated. A proper reissue of his material hasn't hit record stores in far too long, but you can still hunt his recordings down on 33 and a third RPM's (if you don't want to get involved in the high-priced 78's collector market for original blues records).

Two excellent options are as follows:

Biograph LP: Blind Lemon Jefferson 1926-1929. Biograph's first blues reissue LP, early 1960s. Remastered from 78s made in the 1920s. Detailed jacket notes by Lawrence Cohn.

Milestone Records LP: The Immortal Blind Lemon Jefferson. 1967. Reissue of 12 of Jefferson's most famous songs.

Get a taste of the immortal Blind Lemon Jefferson with his version of "Black Snake Moan."



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