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Match Box Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson


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September 24, 1893 - December 19, 1929


This recording was in made Chicago during April of 1927 featuring Blind Lemon Jefferson (guitar & vocals).

Originally backed with "Black Snake Moan" on its reverse side, this was Lemon's only Okeh release. When he returned to Paramount a few moths later "Match Box Blues" had become such a big hit that he was immediately urged to re-record it.

Lemon Henry Jefferson was born in Coutchman, near present-day Wortham, Texas on September 24, 1893.

Blind since birth, he began playing music during his teens at house parties, picnics and street corners in order to earn money; one of few jobs available to a poor black blind man of the day.

After journeying to Chicago to record religious songs in 1925 under the name Deacon L. J. Bates he returned for a second session the following year.

This time his efforts produced "Booster Blues" and "Dry Southern Blues", two major hits and in the blink of an eye there was suddenly a huge demand for recordings of self accompanied blues guitarists like himself.

Up until that point record companies had all but over looked the vast wealth of recorded material available from rural blues artists that was ripe for the picking.

The greatest blues artist to ever come out of Texas (and there were many) was Blind Lemon Jefferson, but in spite of Lemon's great success he had few imitators because his style was too complex and extremely hard to master.

In the winter of 1929 Lemon's career came to a screeching halt. Some say that he suffered a seizure and abandon by his driver froze to death in his car, while others recall a robbery that left him injured and disoriented at the mercy of the elements.

Although there have been several different accounts of his untimely death one thing is certain, during the early morning hours of December 19, 1929 Lemon Jefferson died alone on the frozen streets of Chicago.

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