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Meeting Jimmie Rodgers: How America's Original Roots Music Hero Changed the Pop Sounds of a Century Hardcover – May 15, 2009


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Meeting Jimmie Rodgers: How America's Original Roots Music Hero Changed the Pop Sounds of a Century + The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers: A Legacy in Country Music (Profiles in Popular Music)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195327624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195327625
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The story of [Rodgers'] enormous influence, bursting with names of stars, stalwarts, and one-hit wonders, and featuring discographical endnotes for most chapters, is the immensely piquant and satisfying meat of one of the most intelligent, fascinating, and cogent pop-music histories ever."--BookList (Starred Review)


"Nashville writer Mazor has fashioned a superb book, not only celebrating Rodgers' life, but illustrating the manner in which the man's wares have influenced American popular music for over 80 years.. Mazor's book does much in keeping the legend alive."--MOJO Magazine(5-star review)


"Excellent, highly readable." -- Douglas Brinkley


"A book I heartily recommend." -C. Eric Banister, Music Tomes


"Barry Mazor's Meeting Jimmie Rodgers is a superb book, superbly written, and indispensable to anyone who wants to understand the legacy of Jimmie Rodgers and why his music has endured for over eighty years."--Nolan Porterfield, Author of Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler


"A shrewd, hard-headed look at the great Mississippi singer's influence on country, rock and roll and folk music. Mazor adeptly combines solid research, musical savvy and a stubborn refusal to accept received wisdom about popular music that Jimmy Rodgers helped invent." --American Songwriter


"Until I read this book, I had assumed that the last word had been written on Jimmie Rodgers, the great country blues musician. But, buoyed by Barry Mazor's keen insights, innovative research, and felicitous writing style, I have become aware of new dimensions of the Singing Brakeman's influence on American popular music. While Rodgers drew upon a wide array of styles and genres to build his own career, it has been his legacy to shape the sounds and styles of generations of musicians, both in and outside of country music, right on up to our own time."-Bill C. Malone


"Barry Mazor's expertly researched and elegantly written book... is a valid history of Rodgers success...Meeting Jimmie Rodgers finds his influence in nearly every American music idiom, and does so with critical acumen and brilliant flashes of insight." --The Shepherd Express


"If you write about music, you should read this book. If you are a fan of American music, you should read this book."--Nashville Scene


"A great new book... Barry lets us see anew a musician/artist/entertainer/man who many perhaps thought we'd already seen more than enough of... Barry liberates Rodgers from dehumanizing single-vision tropes like "authenticity," arguing instead for a worldview more bittersweet and fine, more like life."--Living In Stereo


"This is a fine addition to the literature on Rodgers. This carefully researched, well-written book provides something special."--Choice


"Extremely well-researched..."--Dirty Linen


"Revelatory."--Tuscaloosa News


"Barry Mazor has done a superb research job on this music legend."--Steve Ramm, In the Groove


"Full of interviews and documentation, this volume crosses musical borders just as Rodgers did in his recordings."--In The Groove


"Mazor is a lively writer (I read most of this book in one sitting) as he engagingly traces the rise of the Mississippi-born and medicine show-bred Rodgers from working-class obscurity to famed songsmith while exploring the legacy that his tones, tunes and themes have left on popular music of a variety of genres..."--Gary von Tersch, Sing Out!


"Mazor challenges the rigid distinctions between folk and popular music, debunking scholarly claims of folk music's aesthetic purity." --Oxford American


About the Author


Barry Mazor has been writing about American music since the 1970s. A long-time senior editor for the roots and pop music magazine and website No Depression, he writes frequently on country and pop music for The Wall Street Journal. Recent winner of the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism. He lives in Nashville, TN.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Mazor's research is exhaustive and his conclusions are well drawn.
J. Johnson
Jimmie Rodgers, according to Mazor, was a "connector" and, as such, he heavily influenced each of the most popular genres of American music.
Sam Sattler
There is something for everyone here and I suspect this book will be the standard by which all that follow are measured.
Charles M. Nobles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"It's a shame, in a way, that people think of Jimmie Rodgers as the root of just one thing, when he was a root for so many things," stated Phil Everly. Music writer Barry Mazor explores Rodgers' all-too-brief career and expansive influence in this beautifully detailed book. More than 75 years after his death, the legendary country blues artist remains embedded in America's musical landscape. However, the author goes further by delving into other entertainment mediums, such as the intriguing parallels between the singer-songwriter and the cinema of Buster Keaton. The introductory chapter detailing Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash's 1970 television duet on "Blue Yodel No. 9" is a gem. Mazor also provides an exhaustive list of Rodgers-related recordings - ranging from Odetta's "Mule Skinner Blues" to Beck's "Waiting for a Train." An endlessly engaging and fascinating study.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book has more facts and opinions about the life, music and influence of Mr. Rodgers than a passenger train can haul. The author displays a breadth of knowledge about early 20th-century American recorded music which astounds me. Unfortunately, after Jimmie dies around page 120, the fast-reading express we had hitched a ride on turns into a local, stopping at every tank town in the south and southwest and forcing us to consider the careers of seemingly scores of singers, from famous to extremely obscure. This becomes tedious after the next hundred pages, and yet there are still a hundred MORE pages of it after that. The writer makes his case, in my view, that Jimmie's brief recording career "influenced" all kinds of music, pretty much all over the world, in every decade since the '30's. In fact, the amount of information supporting the claim amounts to considerable overkill. I have simply been a casual fan of Mr. Rodgers (meaning I only owned one greatest hits album of his) and being a non-musician, there was more here than I needed. Still, Mr. Mazor can be praised for exhaustively researching Jimmie's fan base among professional singers of nearly every kind.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By frankp93 VINE VOICE on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first noticed the publisher of "Meeting Jimmie Rodgers" was Oxford University Press, I wondered what I might be in for: Schenkerian reductions of "Blue Yodel #9"? HIP-approved performance suggestions for flatpicked bass-runs using period tortoiseshell picks and flatwound strings?

But alas, there's no theory here, at least in the musical sense. Mazor's intention is to position Rodgers as a pivotal figure in American music, bridging nineteenth century minstrel, ragtime, blues, vaudeville, parlor sentimentality, and tin pan alley pop with what ultimately became bluegrass, "mainstream" country music, folk, even jazz ( a reach not convincingly made in spite of tantalizing references to Rodgers' recordings with Louis Armstrong in his studio backing band ), and ultimately "roots rock" - a term I confess I've never liked since first hearing it applied to The Smiths in the 80's. It's long since become a too-convenient moniker along the lines of "organic" and "green".

One challenge for Mazor was, I suspect, that for all the popularity Rodgers achieved in a career cut short in his thirties by tuberculosis, as with many musical icons (Bach comes to mind) Rodgers was evidently much more a doer than a talker (at least publicly) when it came to the roots of his art.

I was reminded of Charlie Christian, another hugely influential musician who was also something of a musical enigma who seemed to emerge fully formed and whose star lit the jazz sky for an even shorter period of time (and who died a similar fate as Rodgers - both of them in the New York area.)

The Singing Brakeman's bio is dispensed rather quickly and he's dead after six or seven chapters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book traces the influences that Jimmie Rodgers' music has had on innumerable genres and musicians. Mazor, a writer on country music, became a fan of Jimmie Rodgers' music as a teenager. In this book, he follows his interest in Rodgers' music to the n-th degree, delving with a fine toothed comb into the stories of everyone who ever covered a Jimmie Rodgers song. At the end of each chapter are suggested listening lists, enabling interested readers to search out these covers and other songs by artists who may have been influenced by Rodgers. End material includes endnotes, an extensive bibliography, and an index.

This book is probably not an exhaustive compendium of musicians influenced by Jimmie Rodgers, but it certainly tries to be one. Along with well-known names like Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, Mazor turns up hundreds of obscure musicians and tells their stories of how they came to record a Jimmie Rodgers song. He also manages to work in the names of hundreds of others from the Beatles to Tupaq who didn't actually record Rodgers' songs, but were influenced in some way by someone who might have been influenced by Rodgers. In this sense, the book seems to go overboard, into the realm of name dropping.

Overall, I found the book rather tedious in detail and difficult to absorb. The text is so dense and long that I would frequently fall asleep while reading it and it took me months to make my way through it. I was several chapters into the book before I finally deduced the organizational structure.
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