Blues News

Cordell Jackson – Never Too Old To Rock and Roll

Cordell Jackson

Cordell Jackson is never too old to rock and roll. She is proof that anyone can accomplish something if they set their mind to it.  Besides, being an American guitarist, she also starts her own music label called “Moon Records” in 1956.  Furthermore, she is thought to be the first woman to produce, engineer, arrange and promote her own music.  Nobody was going to hold this woman back from being a rock star!  

Late Night with David Letterman

In the 1980’s, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and Alex Chilton creates a boost in her career by covering her songs.  Cordell Jackson is popular again so what do you do?  You take your music on the road and she does just that. She grabs her red Hagstrom electric guitar and starts performing again.  While, she’s playing live in New York, Memphis, Hoboken and Chicago nightclubs, she starts recording new material.  

Rock-and-Roll Granny

She records new material on her label with Memphis musicians Colonel Robert Morris and Bob Holden, becoming known as a “rock-and-roll granny” solo guitar instrumentalist. She appeared in 1991 and 1992 on national talk shows like Late Night with David Letterman and in a television commercial dueling with rockabilly artist Brian Setzer on guitar.

Late 1990’s 

In the late 1990s, Cordell co-wrote and played with the Rockabilly icon, Colonel Robert Morris in Memphis. Colonel Robert also helped edit the book based on her life and career.  Her Moon Records label is the oldest continuously operating label in Memphis at the time of her death in 2004.  Her music is released on vinyl and eventually on compact disc until her passing in 2004. After that, The original 1950s vinyl singles compiled on that album have been displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.  

Bucking the Trends

Her marketing of her own video singles, as opposed to marketing them in multiple-song video collections, is reputed to be another first in her innovative lifetime of doing things her own way, bucking the trends of standard industry practice.  Furthermore, information about Jackson is included in the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum in Memphis.

The Photographer – Karen Kuehn

Karen Kuehn is the photographer that captured this photo.  She has been creating photography since 1979. She has shot everything from “bumpers” for Saturday Night Live to stories like “Cats” for National Geographic, to the street scenes of New York City. Her celebrity portraits cover iconic personalities from Muhammed Ali to Robert Downey Jr. Her work is familiar to readers of Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, People, and the NYT Magazine. She has provided the dramatic visuals that have made so many national ad campaigns sing. Regardless of the medium, the signature of Karen’s work—deep regard and high respect for the subject—is evident in every shot.  Click here for more on her photography.

Be sure to check back next week to see what’s new!

Keeping the Blues Alive

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