Breedloves's Folk Songs


The “Blue Yodel” songs are a series of thirteen songs written and recorded by Jimmie
Rodgers during the period from 1927 to his death in May 1933. The songs were based on
the 12-bar blues format and featured Rodgers’ trademark yodel refrains. The lyrics often
had a risqué quality with “a macho, slightly dangerous undertone”. Jimmie Rodgers’
background in the blackface minstrel-shows and as a railroad worker enabled him to
develop a unique musical hybridization drawing from both negro and white traditions, as
exemplified by the Blue Yodel songs. In his recordings Rodgers and his record producer,
Ralph Peer, achieved a “vernacular combination of blues, jazz, and traditional folk” to
produce a style of music then called ‘hillbilly’. Rodgers’ Blue Yodel songs, as well as a
number of his other songs of a similar pattern, drew heavily on fragmentary and
ephemeral song phrases from blues and folk traditions (called ‘floating lyrics’ or
‘maverick phrases’).
Jimmie Rodgers’s first Blue Yodel, which became known as “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for
Texas) and was recorded on 30 November 1927 in the Trinity Baptist Church at Camden,
New Jersey. When the song was released in February 1928 it became “a national
phenomenon and generated an excitement and record-buying frenzy that no-one could
have predicted”.
T’s for Texas T’s for Tennessee T’s for Texas T’s for Tennessee
T’s for Thelma that made a wreck out of me (yodel)
If you don’t want me mama you sure don’t have to stall
If you don’t want me mama you sure don’t have to stall
Cause I can get more women than a passenger train can haul (yodel)
[guitar ]
I’m goin’ where the water taste like cherry wine (sing ’em boy sing ’em)
Goin’ where the water drink like cherry wine (sing ’em boy sing ’em)
Cause this Georgia water taste like perfume in time (yodel)

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