"Blind" Lemon Jefferson (born Lemon Henry Jefferson; 24th September 1893 – died 19th December 1929) was an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues".
Jefferson's performances were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar. Although his recordings sold well, he was not so influential on some younger blues singers of his generation, who could not imitate him as they could other commercially successful artists. Later blues and rock and roll musicians did attempt to imitate both his songs and his musical style.
Deep Ellum, Texas
Honest Joe's Pawn Shop, Deep Ellum, 1959.
"Deep Ellum is a place -- a part of Dallas, Texas. Deep Ellum, along with its legendary music scene built by the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely, all but disappeared with the construction of Central Expressway in the 1950s. This film is one of three short films in the Living Texas Blues series which explores the 1920's and 1930's night life in Dallas through the music of Bill Neely."
"... At the time, you could find gun and locksmith shops, clothing stores, the Cotton Club, tattoo studios, barber-shops, pawn shops, drugstores, tea rooms, loan offices, domino halls, pool halls, and walk-up hotels. On its sidewalks you could find pigeon droppers, reefer men, craps shooters, card sharps, and sellers of cocaine and marijuana." W - Deep Ellum, Dallas
Blind Lemon Jefferson was born on September 24, 1893, in Coutchman, Texas, to sharecroppers. Early, on he became an itinerant singer of the blues throughout the South, eventually making his way to Chicago, Illinois. He would become popular on the Paramount record label in the late 1920s, acquiring disciples like Lead Belly.
There are few photographs of Blind Lemon Jefferson and many are based upon artist impressions.
Covers of Blind Lemon Jefferson songs
Bob Dylan – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" on Bob Dylan
Grateful Dead – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" as "One Kind Favor" on Birth of the Dead
Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia/John Kahn/Bil Vitt – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" as "One Kind Favor" on Keystone Encores Volume I
John Hammond – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" as "One Kind Favor" on John Hammond Live
B.B. King – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" on One Kind Favor
Peter, Paul & Mary – "See That My Grave is Kept Clean," reworked as "One Kind Favor" on In Concert
Kelly Joe Phelps – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" on Roll Away The Stone
Counting Crows – "Mean Jumper Blues". Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz accidentally claimed credit for "Mean Jumper Blues" in the liner notes of the Deluxe Edition reissue of the album August And Everything After. The cover was featured as part of a selection of early demo tracks. Immediately after the error was brought to his attention, Duritz apologized in his personal blog.
Laibach – "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" on SPECTRE
Pat Donohue – "See that My Grave Is Kept Clean" as One Kind Favor (live on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion") and later released on the CD Radio Blues.