Jimmie Rodgers

Last Sessions, 1933

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Illness ravaged Jimmie Rodgers during his final days, as he attempted to record as much as possible. There's an eerie quality to such tunes as "The Yodeling Ranger," "Years Ago," and "Somewhere Down the Line," as it's evident that Rodgers was far from top vocal form. But despite the shortness of breath, lack of range, and weak quality, he could still deliver emotionally gripping performances. The earlier cuts on the disc, "Blue Yodel No. 13," "Dreaming with Tears in My Eyes," and "I'm Free (From the Chain Gang Now)" have a hypnotic finality and edge, even when his vocals falter. Rodgers died 48 hours after he finished his final song, not turning in a particularly great performance, as might be expected. But his accomplishments had long ago established him as one of the most memorable performers in American music annals.

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