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Where Did You Sleep Last Night

“Blind” Lemon Jefferson (1893 – 1929)

  • Believed to have been born in Coutchman, Texas in September of 1893

  • The most popular male blues recording artist of the 1920s

  • His musical style was extremely intense and individualistic, bearing little

resemblance to the typical Texas blues style of the 1930s

Music & Influence

  • Jefferson had an intricate and fast style of guitar playing and a particularly high- pitched voice

  • He was an important influence on the next generation of blues singers and guitarists

  • His irregular vocal style and his freely structured field holler rhythms made the tension between his guitar and his voice wildly unpredictable

  • As influential as Jefferson was, many of the details of his life remain shrouded in mystery

Recording Career

  • Jefferson’s first two recordings were gospel songs released under the name Deacon L. J. Bates

  • His first releases under his own name, Booster Blues and Dry Southern Blues, were hits

  • Jefferson recorded almost exclusively for Paramount Records (42 of 43 recorded)

  • Unfortunately, Paramount Records' studio techniques and quality were infamously bad, and the resulting recordings sound no better than if they had been recorded in a hotel room


  • Jefferson died penniless in Chicago in 1929

  • Cause of death is unknown, though rumors abound

  • Paramount Records paid for the return of his body to Texas by train

  • He is buried at what is now known as Blind Lemon Memorial Cemetery

  • According to his wishes, his gravesite is being kept clean by a cemetery

committee in Wortham Texas

Covers of “Blind” Lemon Jefferson

  • He was the author of many tunes covered by later musicians

  • Bob Dylan covered See That My Grave Is Kept Clean on his debut album

  • Matchbox Blues, was recorded by the Beatles

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