There are thousands of articles written about women in music…
However, there are some that, although they changed history, are not mentioned that often.
One of them was “Grany of Rock N’ Roll,” Cordell Jackson!
Probably you have not heard much about one of the female pioneers in Rock.
In Greece, however, they remembered, (met her), after her death in 2004 …
Her work, however, is a guide to modern music.
She was one of the first women producers, she was a sound engineer, she organized and promoted her music with her own record label.
In an interview with her in 1990 at “United Press International“, the 67-year-old at that time, spoke about the obstacles she faced.
“I spent a lifetime listening to adults saying that girls do not play guitar. But they do! ” she said.
There were not a few times when many tried to compare her with great artists such as Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix.
Many, in fact, believe they inspired her.
Time, however, says otherwise, as Jackson was 12 and 19 years older than them!
- Presley was born in 1935 and began his musical career in 1954.
- Hendrix, on the other hand, was born in 1942and began in 1961.
As she herself said, in her earlier interview she made her own sound long before they both managed to hold a guitar!
Specifically, in “Tulsa World“, in 1992 she said:
“If what I’m doing now is Rock N ‘Roll or Rockabilly or anything else, then I’ve been doing it since Elvis was one year old.”
Born in 1923, she started making music long before Rock started.
Let’s note that the electric guitar, appeared in 1931 by Rickenbacker company when Jackson was only eight years old.
Growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, Jackson had a strong musical education.
Something that shows that her artistic development began much earlier than most and best-known later rock stars.
Her father played violin on a string band called Pontotoc Ridge Runners and let the then-teenage Jackson play with them.
“I knew what a nice instrument was and how it should sound. And what music should it play. “
This early exposure to music has also shaped her artistic character.
She learned to play almost everything … Guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, harmonica, and banjo.
Her knowledge was integrated throughout her entire discography, creating something different.
She has written at least 400 songs, including a wide range of genres from Jazz to Reggae.
In 1943, just after graduating from high school, she joined the Fisher Aircraft band, playing bass.
Her first musical compositions came in the late 1940s.
The times were restrictive for women to write music, so her demos didn’t become a complete album by Sun Records.
At that time, Chet Atkins of RCA Records advised her to create her own label and release her songs.
Jackson founded the recording company “Moon Records” in Memphis in 1956.
“Moon Records” was the oldest ever operating company until her death.
Her appearance looked like anything other than a rock persona.
Wearing a long silk dress, she had an electric guitar wrapped around her.
On one hand, she was a dedicated lady of the South Church who urged younger artists to keep their lyrics “clean”.
But on the other hand, she believed that Rock N ‘Roll was “the happiest music” and was not afraid to break her guitar.
Although the appearance of the video “killed”, many artists, it did the exact opposite in Jackson‘s case.
Having 40+ years of experience, she became known in the late 1980s and early 90s when a music video was played on MTV.
In 1989, she said, “when I started, they did not even have a name for Rock N ‘Roll!”
She has also starred in an advertisement for Budweiser , which made her widely known.
In this as, she out-riffs Brian Setzer, guitarist, and singer of Rockabilly band Stray Cats.
These videos pushed her to a new level of fame and she was given the nickname “Granny of Rock N ‘Roll“.
She said: “If I have seen something done, I do not want to do it!
I want to do things that no one else has done. It is a matter of nerve! “
Despite being often overlooked by Rock‘s history and people, her compositions are not questioned.
She managed to pass her message that “the authentic at any age can overcome social exclusion.“
With information: MTV, Wikipedia, Bust, Boingboing, Pete Daniel’s book: “Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s”.