“MUSIC IS A HIGHER REVELATION THAN ALL WISDOM AND PHILOSOPHY.”
Ludwig von Beethoven
The day that I am writing this is an anniversary that many will not realize or even think about. It is the day that the man that has the most influence on the music in my life died. In 1933 the Singing Brakeman Jimmy Rodgers died at the Taft Hotel in New York City where he worked on his last album. There was no slow down in Jimmy and against the advice of doctors when he was unable to work on the railroad anymore took his music to the people.
Jimmy was born in Meridian Mississippi on September 8, 1897. His father had been a gandy dancer for the railroad and Jimmy followed into the rail profession as a brakeman. He would strum his guitar and sing to pass the time. He ended up writing and recording iconic songs that are still being recorded and performed today by artists in all genre.
I spent many hours growing up listening to Dad playing his collection of Jimmy Rodgers records while he did paperwork. And there was many a time I would put the records on myself. This in a time that Rock and Roll was the rage of my classmates. In my first car I think I had a KLEO sticker in the window but on my second (an International Scout) it was a KFDI sticker and I was a member of the Country Club. Blasi’s Vickers station where I worked as a senior had the forms there and the KFDI salesman was in all the time.
I still have that whole set of Jimmy Rodgers albums hoping someday to have a good turn table again. I do have a full set of cassettes also. I have to root my love of music back to those songs of Jimmy Rodgers. The fact that I had the best music instructors in Kansas in High School and College just built on the love of music.
In the mean time I have been wonderfully privileged to know the great musicians in Western Music and call many of them friends. I have also been privileged to have taken the stage with many of them and recorded a CD with one of the best producers in the recording business Jim Farrell.
When the Country Music Hall of Fame was created the first three inducted were Jimmy Rodgers, Fred Rose (publisher and writer), and Hank Williams. Very few who are in traditional Country Music, Western Music, or acoustical music can deny the foundation that was set by Jimmy Rodgers.
What is a shame now is that many of the artists of today who have that foundation, love of the music, and drive are not allowed to prosper because the music business has been taken over by conglomerates who only have enough imagination to follow a formula. Then another set of conglomerates only give air time to the few who follow the rules. Only in the electronic age that we are in can a true fan go find the music that they love and are able to stream it, download it, or even be old fashioned and get the CD of it.
So the day is filled with thoughts of the original ‘Father of Country Music’ Jimmy Rodgers. I may have to find that old cassette player today.