Jim Jackson - Blues Singer, guitarist (1884 - 1937)
“Jim Jackson’s Kansas City Blues,” was one of the biggest selling blues hits of the 1920’s, and made him quite the popular performer in this time frame. A colorful character known for his sparse accompaniment of guitar, and primordial vocal style, he was an important figure in the evolution of the blues.
Born circa 1884, in Hernando, Mississippi, a small town twenty miles south of Memphis, Jackson was raised on a farm. Jackson's father taught the youth to play the guitar, a skill he would use to earn a living. Local guitarist Frank Stokes was also an influential figure to young Jackson. Around 1905, Jackson gained employment as a singer, dancer, and musician in medicine shows. The medicine show was a time-honored American tradition that employed entertainers to draw a crowd to a tent or wagon where vendors hawked alcohol-based patent medicines. By 1912, Jackson was playing local dances, parties, and fish fries, often pairing with Gus Cannon of Cannon's Jug Stompers or fellow Hernando native Robert Wilkins.