Tribute to Jimmy Rogers

Jimmy Rogers (June 3, 1924 December 19, 1997) was a blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, best known for his work as a member of Muddy Waters' band of the 1950s.

Jimmy RogersCareer
Jimmy Rogers was born James A. Lane in Ruleville, Mississippi, on June 3, 1924, and was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and Memphis, Tennessee. He adapted the professional surname 'Rogers' from his stepfather's last name. Rogers learned the harmonica alongside his childhood friend Snooky Pryor, and as a teenager took up the guitar and played professionally in East St. Louis, Illinois (where he played with Lockwood.htm">Robert Lockwood, Jr., among others), before moving to Chicago in the mid 1940s. By 1946 he had recorded his first record as a harmonica player and singer for the local Harlem record label (not to be confused with the New York based label of the same name), although his name was not including on the label the record was issued under the names 'Memphis Slim and his Houserockers'.

Rogers joined Muddy Waters the next year, with whom he helped shape the sound of the nascent Chicago Blues style. Although he had several successful releases of his own on Chess Records beginning in 1950 with "That's Alright", he stayed with Waters' until leaving his band for a solo career in 1954. In the mid 1950s he enjoyed several successful record releases on the Chess label, most notably "Walking By Myself", but as the 1950s drew to a close and interest in the blues waned, he gradually withdrew from the music industry. In the early 1960s he worked as a member of Howling Wolf's band, before finally withdrawing from the music business altogether for almost a decade. He worked as a taxicab driver and owned a clothing store, until his store was burned in the Chicago riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. He gradually began performing in public again, and in 1971 when fashions made him a reasonable draw in Europe, Rogers began occasionally touring and recording again, including a 1977 reunion session with his old bandleader Waters. By 1982, Rogers was again a full-time solo artist.

In 1995 Rogers was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

He continued touring and recording albums until his death in 1997, in Chicago. He was survived by his son, James D. Lane, who is also a guitarist and a record producer and recording engineer for Blue Heaven Studios and the APO Records label.