He's been called the Father of Country Music, and certainly a strong case could be made that Jimmie Rodgers was exactly that. He was, at the very least, the father of the commercial, star-driven world of modern country music, and if he was the most unlikely of stars, a star he was, landing songs like "Blue Yodel (T for Texas)" and "In the Jailhouse Now" regularly in the Top Ten of the U.S. record charts in the late 1920s and early '30s. Both of those songs are here, but what makes this set even more interesting is the way it presents a rounded and varied portrait of the singer, featuring Rodgers working with Bob Sawyer's Jazz Band ("My Blue Eyed Jane"), Lani McIntire's Hawaiians ("For the Sake of Days Gone By"), the Louisville Jug Band ("My Good Gal's Gone Blues"), Sara & Maybelle Carter ("The Wonderful City") and Louis & Lillian Armstrong ("Blue Yodel No. 9 (Standin' on the Corner)"). Mixing folk and blues with just enough autobiographical detail to make it something new -- the template for modern country, as it turned out -- Rodgers drew from several strains of American music to assemble his deceptively simple style, and that all those strains took him to the same river is easy to hear in this interesting collection.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
feat: Louis Armstrong