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Alger "Texas" Alexander (September 12, 1900 – April 16, 1954) was a blues singer from Jewett, Texas. He was the cousin and uncle of Texas country blues guitarists Lightnin' Hopkins and Frankie Lee Sims respectively.
Learn more about Texas Alexander at this website. http://sundayblues.org/archives/165
A short man with a big, deep voice, Alexander started his career performing on the streets and at local parties and picnics in the Brazos River bottomlands, where he sometimes worked with Blind Lemon Jefferson. In 1927 he began a recording career that continued into the 1930s, recording sides for the Okeh and Vocalion labels in New York, San Antonio, and Fort Worth.
In November 1928, Alexander recorded what has been believed by some to be the earliest version of "The House of the Rising Sun." However it is actually a completely different song called The Rising Sun. Other songs he recorded include "Mama's Bad Luck Child," "Sittin' on a Log," "Texas Special," "Broken Yo Yo" and "Don't You Wish Your Baby was Built Up Like Mine?"
His early records for Okeh are notable not only for the personal originality of his songs, but for the musical motifs against which they are set.
Alexander did not play an instrument himself, and over the years he worked with a number of other musicians, including King Oliver, Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Little Hat Jones, Eddie Lang, the Mississippi Sheiks, and his cousin, Lightnin' Hopkins. He sang in the free rhythm of work songs, such as the migrant cotton pickers he performed for might have sung, which posed a challenge for those accompanying him. Indeed, his singing is difficult to follow, and on his gramophone records his accompanists can often be heard resetting their watches to Alexander Time. His finest collaborator was Lonnie Johnson, who devised free-form guitar melodies in counterpoint to the vocal lines.
In 1939, Alexander murdered his wife, resulting in a stay in the state penitentiary in Paris, Texas from 1940 to 1945. After that he returned to performing and recording, and Alexander made his last recording in 1950 with Benton's Busy Bees (Leon Benton, guitar and Buster Pickens, piano), before dying at the age of 53 of syphilis in 1954, in Houston, Texas.
Alexander's body is buried in Longstreet Cemetery, Montgomery County, Texas.