Jimmie 'Yank' Rachell was primarily an exponent of the blues mandolin, although he also played guitar and harmonica and he had a very good singing voice. He was born in 1910 near Brownsville, Tennessee, to a family of sharecroppers. He was mostly self taught but he was also influenced at an early age by Willie 'Hambone' Newborn.  When he was still in his teens he began to work with singer and guitarist Sleepy John Estes at parties and picnics. With Estes and also Jab Jones, Rachell co-formed the Three J's Jug Band in 1929. The were an immediate success and got a lot of work during the jug-band craze in Memphis, recording 14 sides for Victor in 1929 and 1930. The Depression brought this success to an end, and whilst Estes went off to Chicago, Rachell gave up full time music and went into farming. Nevertheless he still managed to get a further recording opportunity,  and ARC issued six sides he had recorded in New York. By that time Rachell had teamed up with a young harmonica player, John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson, and they performed together regularly in Jackson. Williamson moved on to Chicago in 1934 and his success there persuaded Rachell that he should also make the move. They successfully recorded together on several occasions for Bluebird in the late 1930's and early 1940's. However Yank Rachell never led the unpredictable lifestyle of a full time blues performer. He was happily married and enjoyed a settled family life and he always kept employment outside of music. After his friend Williamson was murdered in 1948, Rachell virtually gave up commercial performances and settled in Indianapolis. However after his wife died in the early 1960's, Rachell teamed up again with Estes and they made the most of the resurgence of interest in blues at that time, touring Colleges, Folk Festivals etc., and recording again, this time for Delmark. Rachell carried on solo work after Estes died and, although no longer touring,  he carried on performing in Indianapolis almost up until his death in 1997 aged 87.