(born Alger Alexander)
1880 or 1900 - 1955
Birthplace: Leona, Texas
"Ninety-Eight Degree Blues" (114 k, 10 sec.)
Unlike most other bluesmen of his era,
Alexander never learned how to play the guitar or any other instrument. He first recorded
in 1927 for the Okeh label; in all, he recorded more than sixty titles, most of which were
released prior to 1930. Some sessions were done with the Mississippi Sheiks, others with
noted jazz trumpeter King Oliver and pianist Clarence Williams.
A first-generation East Texas blues singer, Alger 'Texas" Alexander developed a vocal style closely linked to the field hollers, work shouts, and prison songs he heard around him in the early l900s. Little is known about his personal life other than he periodically worked in cotton fields and on railroad gangs, sang at picnics and socials, and was an older cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins.
Many of Alexander's best songs possessed prison or work themes and reflected East Texas culture. Some of his more popular songs- "Ninety-Eight Degree Blues" (114 k 10 sec.), "Penitentiary Moan Blues," and "Texas Troublesome Blues" attest to this.
Alexander was a drifter who lived for a while in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, where he allegedly spent time in prison for murder. He continued to drift and sing the blues throughout the 1940s. In 1947, he recorded with Lightnin' Hopkins for Aladdin. Three years later he cut a couple of sides for the tiny Freedom label but these final recordings attracted little attention. Alexander eventually faded from the Texas blues sceneand he died sometime around 1955 in Houston.
"Ninety-Eight Degree Blues" is from Legends of the Blues - Volume 2 Copyright © Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 1991. Little Hat Jones accompanied with guitar, originally cut this with Texas Alexander on 14 June 1929 in San Antonio, Texas.