Jefferson, Lemon

Jefferson, “Blind” Lemon

(1897–1929) musician; born near Dallas, Texas. He was born blind into a poor sharecropping family in east Texas, where he eventually won his first following as an itinerant blues singer and guitarist. Throughout the 1920s he performed on the streets and in juke joints in Texas, Oklahoma, and the Deep South. Between 1927–29, he was the most commercially successful country blues artist, making over 90 records for the Paramount label in Chicago, including the widely-imitated classics "Matchbox Blues" and "Black Snake Moan." His recorded legacy represents one of the most comprehensive and influential accounts of African-American life in the South in the early 1900s. He was found frozen to death in a snowdrift after leaving a party following a recording session in Chicago in December 1929.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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