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Jimmie Rogers
By David Beardsley

The name Jimmie Rogers needs no introduction to the true Blues lover. A founding member of the Muddy Waters band, this Chicago Icon will live forever through his musical legacy! Jimmie was kind enough to grant this quick interview while in town to play the Off Broadway Nightclub.

BN: let me welcome you back to St. Louis. It's always a pleasure!

JR: Thank you, thank you.

BN: Let me ask you the standard question, where were you born?

JR: I'm a Southern boy. I was born in a little town called Roosevelt, in the Delta part of Mississippi.

BN: Did you start playing as a child?

JR: Yes. I started playing young, in Charleston, Ms. Lots of different places as I was a youngster, growing up.

BN: How old were you when you moved from Ms?

JR: Well, when I left here I was a teenage boy. I was about 16 or 17 years old when I left the South.

BN: Where did you go when you you left the South?

JR: Well, I first went to Memphis, left Memphis, came on to St. Louis, East St. Louis for awhile. And then on to Chicago.

BN: You're familiar with some of our local artists, like Oliver Sain, (and Henry Townsend, Jimmie interjects) Henry of course, and Johnnie Johnson.

JR: Yeah, we've done a lot of stuff together-Chuck Berry, me and Johnnie. I met them here in St. Louis, and then I went on to Chicago. Muddy Waters came into Chicago around February 1945, and we hooked up together and started this Blues thing.

BN: So you helped form the original Muddy Waters band?

JR: That's right! I'd say by June or July of 1945, we were working around together. Me, Eddie Boy and Sunnyland Slim. He (Sunnyland Slim) just passed last year. Eddie Boy, he introduced me to Muddy Waters, he had cousins and different relatives in Chicago, Muddy did. Me, Little Walter, and Eddie Boy, a bunch of cats like that, we was jammin'- Blue Smitty, we were jammin' around Chicago. We just got together and hit it off. Started to practicing together, next thing you know, about October/November 1945, we was getting gigs all over. Sunnyland, he did a lot for us!

BN: I was fortunate enough to see one of Sunnyland's last performances, at The Chicago Blues Festival, where he was honored in a musical piano tribute. Going back to 1945, did you have any idea that you would go on to influence so many musicians?

JR: I wanted to! I really wanted to, and I had a chance to, and I accepted, got my foot in the door, and just kept movin'.

BN: Muddy Waters and yourself have been credited with really popularizing the electric guitar!

JR: Yeah, that's true yes. I have my son with me now, he's playing really nice, a little bit of R&B, and Blues.

BN: So it's a family affair now?

JR: That's right, and my daughter Angela's with me, too!

BN: Jimmie, as always, it's a pleasure to have you back in St. Louis! I want to thank you again for this interview. Thanks also to your lovely daughter Angela for helping arrange everything.

JR: Thank you.

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