Pop Folk Music
Doo wop and pop music of the 1950s have roots in both urban and rural sounds — including rhythm and blues, barbershop, gospel, big band, rock, and rockabilly. And this song shows the folk music trend that was working in the background during the doo wop era. Jimmie Rodgers had success with his version of “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” in 1957. It was #3 on the U.S. Chart, #6 on the Country Chart, and #8 on the U.S. R&B Chart. The song was originally recorded and made popular by Pete Seeger and the folk group The Weavers in 1951.
The authorship of “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” remains a hodge-podge. Seeger credits an Irish folk song to which Lead Belly added rhythm and blues chords. The Weavers rewrote the lyrics to change the story from one about a farmer and a dead cow into a love song about a man looking over the life he’s had with his sweetheart.
Rodgers was born James Frederick Rodgers in Camas, WA (and is not related to the Jimmie Rodgers, who is considered to be the Father of Country Music). Rodgers’ mother taught him to play the piano and guitar. He joined a band while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Korea. He was also one of the contestants on Arthur Godfrey’s talent show, which helped his career and led to him getting his music recorded.