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by Newsweek Magazine
The hillbilly world paid a twenty-year old debt last week when a crowd of 30,000 assembled at Meridian, Miss., to dedicate a statue of Jimmie Rodgers, Meridian's "Singing Brakeman,, who died of tuberculosis at 36 on May 26, 1933. The debt was a big one, for Rodgers was the father of com­mercial hillbilly music and the fortunes which have been made of it since his time. His recording span was brief; he made his first record for Victor in 1927 and his last in 1933 just before his death. Yet in that short time the sale of his records reached 20,000,000 disks.
Rodgers was a railroad man until failing health forced him into show business for the few years he had left. The style of his singing, yodeling, and guitar playing was unique, as were his compositions, notably the "Blue Yodels No. 1-12" which earned for him another title—"America's Blue Yodeler."
"His was not a fleeting fame" editorialized The Bill­board in one of its rare tributes to an individual artist. And last week's turnout—now planned as an annual event— proved that Jimmie Rodgers was still very much alive in the heart of the hillbilly world.
"Reprinted by permission from Newsweek, Vol. 41, No. 23, June 8, 1953."

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III