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Blind Lemon Jefferson

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Blind Lemon Jefferson (Lemon Henry Jefferson, Coutchman, Texas, October 26, 1894? – December 1929) was an influential blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s.


His musical style was individualistic, and Jefferson’s singing and self-accompaniment were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar. He has been titled “Father of the Texas Blues.”

He was not influential on some younger blues singers of his generation, as they did not seek to imitate him as they did other commercially successful artists. However, later blues and rock and roll musicians attempted to imitate both his songs and his musical style.

Jefferson was born blind near Coutchman, Texas in Freestone County, near present-day Wortham, Texas. Jefferson began playing the guitar in his early teens, and soon after he began performing at picnics and parties. He also became a street musician, playing in East Texas towns in front of barbershops and on corners. According to his cousin, Alec Jefferson, quoted in the notes for Blind Lemon Jefferson, Classic Sides:”They was rough. Men was hustling women and selling bootleg and Lemon was singing for them all night… he’d start singing about eight and go on until four in the morning… mostly it would be just him sitting there and playing and singing all night.”

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