July 1897, Wortham (Couchman), Texas, USA, d. December 1929, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Jefferson was one of the earliest and most influential rural blues singers to record. He was one of seven children born to Alex Jefferson and Classie Banks (or Bates) and was either blind or partially blind from early childhood. As his handicap precluded his employment as a farm-hand he turned to music and sang at rural parties, on the streets of small towns, in cafes, juke joints and brothels. This mode of life turned him into a wanderer and he travelled far, although he always maintained his links with Texas. Like many blind singers, stories are told of his ability to find his way around and read situations. He was usually armed and was even said to have been involved in shooting incidents.
In late 1925 or early 1926, Jefferson was taken to Chicago by a Dallas record retailer to record for Paramount Records. His first offerings were two...
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