As the first serious attempt at a single-disc Jimmie Rodgers retrospective in the CD-era, The Essential Jimmie Rodgers isn't bad at all. Over the course of 20 songs, nearly all of his best-known songs -- including "Blue Yodel, No. 1," "In the Jailhouse Now" and "Blue Yodel, No. 8" (a.k.a. "Mule Skinner Blues") -- are featured, and while some good things remain in the vaults, it's hard to argue with what's here. After all, Essential isn't designed for historians or completists -- it's for the curious, who are reluctant to invest in either Rounder's multi-volume series or Bear Family's comprehensive box. For those listeners, The Essential Jimmie Rodgers is an invaluable introduction.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine