Rolling Stone - No. 968, p.765 stars out of 5
- "[T]he good-natured magnetism of Rodgers, a former railroad man, drives every song..."
Many country music purists would say that all of Jimmie Rodgers' recordings are essential, and it's difficult to argue with their logic, particularly considering that the Singing Brakeman's recording career lasted six short years. But everyone has to start somewhere, and the 20-track THE ESSENTIAL JIMMIE RODGERS is the best possible single-disc beginning. These are the recordings that, along with the work of the Carter Family, defined country music for decades. Without tracks like "T For Texas (Blue Yodel No. 1)" and "Muleskinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8)," there would have been no Hank Williams, and conceivably, no Elvis. Yet these are not historical curios notable only for their musicological significance. Rodgers was a gifted singer (the famous "blue yodel" with which he decorated his songs is still a startling achievement) and much like the blues singers who recorded during the same period, was a master at recombining familiar lines and motifs into unique and personal songs. Start here, but don't be surprised if you start looking for more.