Let’s Explore The Blues – Blind Lemon Jefferson

Photograph of Blind Lemon Jefferson


Tonight, I début a new series.  “Let’s Explore The Blues” will tell the stories of some of the most interesting music ever created.  I am going to try to apply some chronology to this series and will start with the pre-war era, the 1920’s and 30’s.

The links will take you to a version of the song covered by that artist.

The first artist will be Blind Lemon Jefferson.  Born blind in 1893, Blind Lemon was a Texas blues guitarist.  He passed away in 1929, leaving behind a reputation as the father of the Texas blues.  This early master influenced future greats such as BB King, Robert Johnson and even Canned Heat.  He even taught T-Bone Walker how to play the guitar.

His early career consisted of playing anywhere and everywhere, and only started recording in 1926.  In the span to 1929, he recorded 100 tracks and 43 records.  Here is one of his major hit songs:

“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”.


The following song is listed by the Rock And Roll hall Of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.

“Matchbox Blues”


His death in 1929 is surrounded by rumours.  A sampling of these include, a lover had poisoned his coffee, froze to death after becoming disoriented in a snowstorm, and a heart attack after being chased by a dog.  In any case he died to young.  His influence in current culture is widespread.  Many of his songs have been covered by current artists, with See That My Grave Is Kept Clean redone by such diverse talent as Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and the Grateful DeadMatchbox Blues was covered by the Beatles. Hit the link to view.   The group “Blind Melon” may even be named after him.  One last song before we sign off.

“Black Snake Moan”



About John

I enjoy travel, sports, music and anything else that jumps up at me for the moment, which is why I blog. There will be lots of music and travel posts and a smattering of sports and humour. I enjoy promoting Canada and am unabashedly a proud Canuck.

Posted on January 16, 2012, in Artists, Blues, History, Music and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. The Jefferson Airplane name is a take off of Blind Lemon Jefferson. I think Jorma Kaukonen came up with the name.

  2. Great idea, John. Looking forward to seeing the range you bring into this. Hoping for everything from Texas to Delta to Chicago and beyond.
    Does Canada have a good blues scene?

    • Calgary not so much but Winnipeg and Saskatoon have great scenes. Buds on broadway in Saskatoon was one if those blues bars where bikers are elbow to elbow with business guys and preppies all just loving the blues. Lots of local talent Canadian talent and USA groups rolling through constantly. I will cover off as wide a variety as possible. Thinking of changing blog name to see and hear it all. Lol. Any suggestions on how to balance out my thoughts. Way to much floating around my head that wants to get out. Would a schedule work?

  3. Born in Memphis and you are talking gold to these ears. Do one on John Lee Hooker if you get a chance. He is by far my favorite.

  4. I’m a big fan of this idea. I think the blues saturated roots of rock n’ roll are often underappreciated by listeners. Texas Blues is a great place to start and the father of the genre is the perfect first post. Lemon, T-Bone, Hopkins – what a bunch of amazing performers. I never knew that Lemon was that prolific in his short life. Great post. Looking forward to reading more

  5. This is great. I spent the first half of my life living in and around Miami, and not only was there Cuban jazz but there was a lot of southern blues played on store front porches. Great. Now I want a cold beer and hot mud bugs.

  6. I would love a cold beer, but at 36 below, I am thinking a hot rum toddy would make more sense. Damn it’s cold. No chinook in sight either. Maybe Lori and I should head to Miami.

    • You have a blues song in the making at 36 below.

      • True, if the ink wasn’t frozen and I could play guitar wearing mitts. I should add that with the wind it felt like minus 50. Crazy. A chinook blowing in over the mountains on Saturday to save us, be above freezing for the foreseeable future. Been so cold that Lake Louise and Sunshine ski hills were closed.

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