b. 14 March 1922, Liberty, Mississippi, USA. Guitarist, harmonica player and singer Rodgers, while not in the first flight of blues recording artists, is certainly one with a distinctive moniker, that of the Midnight Cowboy. This nickname was given to him when he helped to deliver a calf, having chanced upon a pregnant cow in the dark of a rural Mississippi night. He certainly boasts a more colourful past than most, and is an impressive raconteur, spinning tales of the time he wrestled a bear or placed a rattlesnake in his father’s bed (after having removed its teeth). Typical of many from the genre’s early days, Rodgers was forced to pursue the blues as a sideline to more stable day jobs. These included stints as an amateur boxer, a truck-driver, hay hauler, cotton chopper and, when times were really hard, a chicken thief. Indeed, his first job came as a cotton-picker alongside Bo Diddley. Despite a peripatetic schedule, Rodgers managed to appear on several celebrated television programmes, including The Gong Show (which he won twice), Bill Cosby’s You Bet Your Life and Good Morning America. By the late 80s he was finally able to concentrate more fully on music, releasing a cassette and then a CD on Snowflake Records, the label owned by his friend and musical assistant Georgie Ann Waddell.
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