Jimmie Rodgers

Classic Sides 1927-1933

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An expansive five-disc box set comprising nearly everything Jimmie Rodgers released between 1927 and his far-too-early death in May 1933, Classic Sides 1927-1933 is not definitive; the mammoth Bear Family set The Singing Brakeman and Rounder's eight-volume series contain every single recorded note Rodgers ever yodeled on tape, while this set drops a few of the jazz tunes and almost all of the alternate takes. This less-scholarly approach might make Classic Sides 1927-1933 more attractive to the committed but not die-hard fan who wants all the classics -- "T for Texas," "Blue Yodel #4," and the rest -- without trawling through too much else. Others would (convincingly) argue that Rodgers was as much a jazz singer as he was a country boy, and that the alternate takes reveal that he rarely sang the same song the same way twice; those folks should steer themselves to the complete works, while casual listeners might start with one of the literally dozens of single-disc best-ofs. Classic Sides 1927-1933 is perfect for those walking the middle ground, however.