(June 3, 1924-December 19, 1997)
Although Jimmy Rogers's rhythm guitar formed the backbone of Muddy Waters' sound from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, he humbly allowed the spotlight to fall on others. "Of the many less-heralded players who made considerable and indelible contributions to blues recordings in the 1950s," wrote Craig Ruskey in Blues on Stage, "Jimmy Rogers' name remains near the top of the list." Over time, critics identified the guitarist as an essential ingredient in the development of post-World War II electric blues. Tony Russell wrote in the London Guardian, "As the second guitarist in the Waters band ... Rogers was a key figure in the development of the Chicago blues ensemble." The recordings he made alone and with Waters during the 1950s would also influence a number of rock-n-roll players in the 1960s. "Rogers was the man who plugged into a primitive amp and blistered on the songs that fired an island of white, middle-class, British, would-be guitar heroes," noted Colin Harper in the London Independent. At the time of his death, Rogers was busy working on a project with Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards, posthumously released as Blues, Blues, Blues. "It's easy to underestimate the role of rhythm guitarists," wrote Ruskey. "Their job isn't to impress with flurries of notes or stabbing leads, it's to complement a featured artist by accenting where necessary and Jimmy Rogers excelled as a sympathetic and an incredibly important sideman."