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Thread started 10/08/20 9:56pm

MickyDolenz

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Country & Western

Early Country Music: Hillbilly Records

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“Texas Troubadour” Ernest Dale Tubb helped launch the honky-tonk style of country music.

“Hillbilly music, later rechristened “country and western music” or simply “country music, developed mainly out of the folk songs, ballads, and dance music of immigrants from the British Isles. The first generation of hillbilly recording artists was also familiar with the sentimental songs of Tin Pan Alley, and this material became an important part of the country music repertoire, alongside the older Anglo-American ballads and square dance tunes.

Interestingly, it was the race record market, established in the early 1920s, that led to the first country music recordings. The first commercially successful hillbilly record, featuring a north Georgia musician named Fiddlin’ John Carson, was made by Okeh Records in 1923 during a recording expedition to Atlanta. This field trip, led by Ralph Peer and a local record store owner named Polk Brockman, was actually aimed at locating new material for the race record market.

The new medium of radio was in fact crucial to the rapid growth of the hillbilly music market. In 1920 the first commercial radio station in the United States (KDKA in Pittsburgh) began broadcasting, and by 1922 there were more than 500 stations nationwide, including 89 in the South. Many farmers and working-class people who could not afford to buy new phonograph records were able to purchase a radio on a monthly installment plan and thereby gain access to a wide range of programming.

Most hillbilly musicians of the 1920s and 1930s did not start out as full-time professional musicians. The country music historian Bill C. Malone has noted that the majority worked as textile mill workers, coal miners, farmers, railroad men, cowboys, carpenters, wagoners, painters, common laborers, barbers, and even an occasional lawyer, doctor, or preacher. One important exception to this rule was Vernon Dalhart (1883-1948), a Texas-born former light-opera singer who recorded the first big country music hit. Dalhart’s recording career, which had begun in 1916, had started to wane, and he talked the Victor Company into letting him record a hillbilly number, in an effort to cash in on the genre’s growing popularity. In 1924 Dalhart recorded two songs: “Wreck of the Old 97,” a ballad about a train crash in Virginia, and “The Prisoner’s Song,” a sentimental amalgam of preexisting song fragments best known for the line “If I had the wings of an angel, over these prison walls I would fly.” This was the first big hillbilly hit, a million-seller that contributed to the success of the fledgling country music industry.

Two of the most popular acts of early country music were the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The Carter Family, born in the isolated foothills of the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, are regarded as one of the most important groups in the history of country music. The leader of the trio was A. P. “Doc” Carter (1891-1960), who collected and arranged the folk songs that formed the inspiration for much of the group’s repertoire; he also sang bass. His wife, Sara (1899-1979), sang most of the lead vocal parts and played auto- harp or guitar. Sister-in-law Maybelle (1909-78) sang harmony, played steel guitar and autoharp, and developed an influential guitar style, which involved playing the melody on the bass strings while brushing the upper strings on the off-beats for rhythm.

The Carter Family were not professional musicians when their recording career started in 1927 – as Sara put it when she was asked what they did after the Bristol session, “Why, we went home and planted the corn.” The Carters’ image, borne out in radio appearances and interviews, was one of quiet conservatism; their stage shows were simple and straightforward, and they generally avoided the vaudeville circuit and promotional tours.

If the Carter Family’s public image and musical repertoire evoked the country church and the family fireside, Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) was the quintessential rambler, a footloose man who carried home in his heart but drank deeply of the changing world around him. He was the most versatile, progressive, and widely influential of all the early country recording artists. The ex- railroad brakeman from Meridian, Mississippi, celebrated the allure of the open road and chronicled the lives of men who forsook the benefits of a settled existence: ramblers, hobos, gamblers, convicts, cowboys, railway men, and feckless lovers. His influence can be seen in the public images of Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and almost every contemporary male country music star.

Both race and hillbilly music represent a process of hybridization between southern folk music and Tin Pan Alley pop. The singers may stand at some distance from the rural origins evoked by their songs, yet are able to perform in a style respectful of those origins. Finally, many of the recordings are early examples of a phenomenon that will become more important as we move on through the history of American popular music: the crossover hit, that is, a record that moves from its origins in a local culture or marginal market to garner a larger and more diverse audience via the mass media.

[This article is excerpted from American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3 by Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman, published by Oxford University Press, copyright (2003, 2007), and offered in an abridged edition by the Bureau of International Information Programs.]

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #1 posted 10/09/20 8:08am

MickyDolenz

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From Honolulu To Nashville: Hawaiian Music and Country
by River June 28, 2009

The music played by Hawaiians in America had a tremendous influence on American popular music until World War II, and especially on country music, where steel guitars and yodels became a trademark.

Guitars were first introduced on the islands by Mexican vaqueros in the 19th century. In the years 1870-80, Hawaiian musicians invented a new way of playing guitar. By raising the nut they could play with the guitar lying flat on their lap, sliding a bottle or a piece of steel on the strings. The sounds produced matched their traditional way of singing. They played open chords and used countless different tunings.

The annexation of Hawaii in 1898 gave birth to a real passion in America. People were dreaming about these paradise islands, and the first tours by groups of musicians were hugely successful. The Bird of Paradise follies in 1904 in Broadway turned this fashion to a real craze.

Crowds were stunned by Hawaiian guitarists and singers, and their records sold by millions, making Hawaiian music a best-selling genre. Hawaiian musicians easily adapted their art to vaudeville, country, blues, and jazz.

It is mainly for them that American instrument makers from Central Europe (Dopeyra or Rickenbacher) created metallic guitars like the National or the Dobro.

The king of these guitar players was Sol Hoopii, a real genius and perhaps one of the best slide guitarists of the century. His only rival was King Benny Nawahi, who started to play on Trans-Pacific boats before settling in California.

This revolutionary way of playing the guitar was soon imitated by many American musicians from the mainland, jazz men, bluesmen who sometimes, thanks to old African traditions like the diddley-bow, were already familiar with slide playing, and country guitarists.

The first blues record ever recorded by a man, "Guitar Rag", by Sylvester Weaver in 1923, was a Hawaiian-style instrumental. Leon McAuliffe, Bob Will's guitarist, did a great cover of it, "Slide guitar rag"; Cousin Jody with Roy Acuff, Jimmie Tarlton, Cliff Carlisle played or featured laptop steel guitars.

New York City multi-instrumentalist Roy Smeck (photo above) learnt steel guitar after seeing Sool Hoopii on stage, and became one of the most stunning virtuosos of the instrument, as you can hear on his version of "Twelth Steel Rag", a piece were jazz and swing meet country music.

Jimmie Rodgers, the "father" of country music, toured with a Hawaiian group of musicians in medicine shows before recording his first sides. His famous yodel is more Hawaiian than Swiss : the melodic line of his trademark yodel is the same as "Maui", (my first post). JImmie recorded two songs with Hawaiian guitarists Joe Kaipo and Charles Kama in 1929, including this "Everybody Does It In Hawaii".

I have to thank, once again, Mr Gérard Herzhaft, French scholar and ethnomusicologist, who wrote a lot about the subject, and is the author of the great compilation Hawaiian Music: Honolulu - Hollywood - Nashville 1927-1944 (Frémeaux & Associés).

videos:

Sol Hoopii (1943)

King Benny Nawahi ~ Black Boy Blues

Kalama's Quartet ~ Kawika / Liliu E

Joseph Kekuku And The Steel Guitar

Heart Strings: The Story ... ʻUkulele

Uncle Willie K And The Hi...An Ukulele

Sol K. Bright & His Hollywaiians ~ Heat Waves (1935)

Andy Iona And His Islanders (1939)

Hal Aloma ~ Holo Holo Haa (1949)

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #2 posted 10/09/20 9:25am

MickyDolenz

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Samantha Bumgarner: Fiddling Ballad Woman Of The Mountains
by Eric Brightwell | March 12, 2009 | Amoeba

Aunt Samantha Bumgarner (née Biddix) was a fiddle and banjo player from North Carolina who, in 1924, became the first woman to record hillbilly music. In doing so, she opened the doors for all the great female hillbilly and country musicians who followed. Imagine for a second a world without Brenda Lee, Iris Dement, Jean Shepard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Norma Jean, Skeeter Davis, Sue Thompson and Tammy Wynette, to name a few. Not a pretty place.

Samantha Biddix was born in Dillsboro, North Carolina on Halloween, 1878, the same year Black Bart held up his last stagecoach and, more relevantly, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph. Her parents were Has Biddix, himself a fiddler, and Sara MaLynda Brown Biddix. Though Biddix showed an early interest in music, her father wouldn’t allow her to touch the fiddle, an instrument occasionally referred to by hillbillies as a “devil’s box.” Nonetheless, when he wasn’t around, she played it and displayed a natural talent. The banjo, then viewed as a slightly more acceptable instrument for women, was not forbidden and Biddix’s first, constructed from gourd and cat hide, was presented to her at fifteen. Later, having demonstrated her skills for her father, he bought her a ten cent model and allowed her to perform with him in the area. Ultimately, he consented to her entering a banjo competition in Canton and she won. Gaining confidence, she began entering and winning competitions routinely.

When she married Carse Bumgarner in 1902, he gave her her first fiddle but she remained most acclaimed for her banjo playing. A few years later she acquired the nickname "Aunt Samantha." Although through the lens of modern ignorance, a hillbilly woman gaining fame with the banjo may seem completely out of the ordinary, it was actually fairly common for women to play the instrument, especially amongst hillbillies. In 1916, when Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles began field recording in the upper south, nearly three quarters of the hundreds of tunes they compiled as English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians were performed by women. In addition, many famous male hillbillies learned to play from the women in their lives. Ralph Stanley was taught to play by his mother, Lucy Smith Stanley. Cynthia "Cousin Emmy" May Carver taught "Grandpa" Louis Jones. Clarence "Tom" Ashley learned to play from his aunts, Ary and Daisy. Morgan Sexton was schooled by his sister, Hettie. Earl Scruggs was beaten to the banjo by his older sisters, Eula Mae and Ruby.

By the early 20th century, whilst still not completely respectable, several female musicians gained a measure of popularity playing banjo, including Elizabeth "Babe" Reid, Gertrude Evans, Virginia “Aunt Jennie” Myrtle Wilson, Stella Wagoner Kimble, Pearl Wagoner, Ada Lee Stump Boarman and Julia Reece Green. By the 1920s, a veritable banjo craze swept the nation and the most popular brand was the Whyte Ladie. In some respects, Bumgarner was merely part of a tradition involving hundreds of women before her, but as an especially talented musician who usually bested her mostly male competitors, her fame spread in the recording age in a way her predecessors never could. In 1924, she was contacted by Columbia, hoping to capture her talents on shellac.

In April 1924, accompanied by guitarist Eva Smathers Davis of nearby Sylva, Bumgarner traveled to New York City where, on the 23, she and Davis recorded ten songs both together and solo. According to County Music Magazine, that record was also the first release by female musicians in the hillbilly genre. They were also the first recordings of a five-string banjo. Although today the Cashville country scene has little use for anything but this week’s disposable pap, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum there does feature the 78s of her initial recordings, which were:

Big-Eyed Rabbit (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
Cindy In The Meadows (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (Samantha Bumgarner)
The Gamblin' Man (Samantha Bumgarner)
Georgia Blues (Samantha Bumgarner)
I Am My Mamma's Darlin' Child (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
John Hardy (Eva Davis)
Shout Lou (Samantha Bumgarner)
Wild Bill Jones (Eva Davis)
Worried Blues (Samantha Bumgarner)

Aunt Samantha seemed reluctant to pursue her music professionally, although others encouraged her to. Instead, she contented herself with teaching younger musicians, including Harry Cagle, who later formed Harry Cagle and the Country Cousins. When famed quack "Dr." John Brinkley, the so-called "Goat Gland King" (he used goat glands to treat impotency) asked her to allow him to take her to Del Rio, Texas to play on radio station, XERA, she only consented on the condition that Cagle accompany her.

In 1928, she was invited by local banjo-playing lawyer Bascom Lamar Lunsford to play at his first Asheville Mountain Song and Dance Festival. She did, and continued doing so every year until 1959, even though suffering from rheumatism and arthritic hands in later years. In 1936, at one such performance, Pete Seeger was in the audience and word of mouth about her spread amongst the folk revivalist scene. Soon she was playing Chicago, Kansas City, New York, St. Louis and DC, where she performed for the enjoyment of Franklin Roosevelt. She ultimately recorded again as well, for a company in Liverpool.

Bumgarner and her husband moved to Lovefield at some point. They never had any children and he died in 1941. Just one year after retiring from public performance, Samantha Bumgarner died of arteriosclerotic heart disease at age 82 on Christmas Eve, 1960. She’s buried in Dillsboro's Franklin Cemetery.

Although Bumgarner herself seemed content to record rarely and stay in the hills, by the ‘30s, several Kentuckyian women, including Cynthia "Cousin Emmy" May Carver, Lily May Ledford and Laverne "Molly O’Day" Williamson – perhaps encouraged by the possibilities offered to Bumgarner – all used banjo-playing to take them away from the hardscrabble lives in the tobacco fields, hills and hollers of Bluegrass Country to professional careers as musicians, the first of many women to follow a path made possible through a by all accounts humble Aunt Samantha.

The Original Banjo Pickin’ Girl

Newspaper Highlights (1924 – 1960)

Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #3 posted 10/09/20 10:12am

RJOrion

those are some scary looking people....

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Reply #4 posted 10/09/20 12:47pm

Dalia11

I will listen to some of the music. It is good to be a "student" of diverse music genres!
[Edited 10/9/20 22:55pm]
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Reply #5 posted 10/09/20 12:57pm

kev1n

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Very interesting reads. I love the old country music. Are all these excerpts from American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3? Seems like a book I should get my hands on.

It was not in vain...it was in Minneapolis!
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Reply #6 posted 10/10/20 10:23am

MickyDolenz

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Audrey Winters, Little Richard, Tammy Wynette, George Jones

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zGU02LGZ4UU/U1bpKgO5JuI/AAAAAAAABoQ/YqZnzNtPvQA/s1600/audrey+winters+little+richard+tammy+and+george.jpg

Around 1972 Little Richard recorded an album called Southern Child. It wasn't released at the time, but the songs from it were eventually released on a CD box set in 2005. Richard also recorded a duet with Tanya Tucker called Somethin' Else on the 1994 various artists album Rhythm Country And Blues. Here's some songs:

California (I'm Comin')
If You Pick Her Too Hard ...t Of Tune)
Burning Up With Love
Ain't No Tellin'
Last Year's Race Horse (C...ar's Race)
Southern Child
In The Name
Over Yonder
I Git A Little Lonely
Puppy Dogs

Somethin' Else - 1994 Country Music Awards

One Day At A Time - Late Night With David Letterman 1982

In The Name (version 2)

In The Name (version 3)

Sneak The Freak

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #7 posted 10/10/20 11:46am

MickyDolenz

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Melodyland/Hitsville

Melodyland/Hitsville was a short-lived country music label subsidiary of Motown, operating from mid-1974 to mid-1977. Although it started as Melodyland, in mid-1976 the name changed to Hitsville, although the labels and catalog sequence remained the same except for the name change. They began by signing a number of music industry veterans, including Pat Boone, T.G. Sheppard, Jerry Naylor, Ronnie Dove, Terry Stafford, and Dorsey Burnette. The philosophy seemed to be to sign artists who already had some kind of successful track record rather than developing artists from scratch.

Their first artist was Pat Boone, who had four medium hits on the country charts, although his first single, "Candy Lips"/"Young Girl" [Melodyland 6001, also the first single for the label] failed to chart. The hits started with "Indiana Girl" [Melodyland 6005, 4/75], which reached #72. This was followed by a duet with his wife, Shirley, with "I'd Do It With You" [Melodyland 6018, 9/75, #84]. A followup, "U.F.O."/"Glory Train" [Melodyland 6029] failed, and a scheduled album was shelved. In July, 1976, Pat returned to the charts with "Texas Woman" [Hitsville 6037], his biggest hit for the label, which reached #34, with the followup, "Oklahoma Sunshine" [Hitsville 6042] reaching #86. This merited the release of the album called Texas Woman [Hitsville H6-405S1], although it didn't chart.

The biggest star for Melodyland/Hitsville turned out to be T.G. Sheppard (nee William Browder), who racked up eight country charters for the label, four of which crossed over to the pop charts, and three albums, all of which charted. He was the prototypical "overnight success" who had actually toiled in the business for over ten years when he had his first hit. But when he started, he hit the ground running. His first two singles, "Devil In The Bottle" [Melodyland 6002, 11/74] and "Trying To Beat The Morning Home" [Melodyland 6006, 4/75] both reached #1 country (#54 and #95 pop, respectively). His third hit, "Another Woman" [Melodyland 6016], reached #14 country in late summer 1975, and he followed that with "Motels And Memories" [Melodyland 6028, 12/75], which reached #7 country and #102 pop. Four more hits for the renamed Hitsville label followed: a remake of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" [Hitsville 6032, 5/76, #14 country/#100 pop], "Show Me A Man" [Hitsville 6040, 9/76, #8 country], "May I Spend Every New Years With You" [Hitsville 6048, 12/76, #37 country], and "Lovin' On" [Hitsville 6053, 3/77, #20 country]. At that point, Motown was getting ready to close the label, and Sheppard moved to Warner Bros to continue his career, which accumulated over forty country chart records by 1991.

Another chart maker for the label was Jerry Naylor, who had been in the post-Buddy Holly Crickets starting in 1961. His first single, "Is This All There Is To A Honky-Tonk?" [Melodyland 6003] reached #27 country in early 1975. Two other singles registered low in the charts in 1976.

Ronnie Dove had had a long career singing easy listening pop ballads in the 1960s, and had switched to country music in the early 1970s, recording for Decca. His first effort for Melodyland was "Please Come To Nashville" [Melodyland 6004, 4/75], which made #75 on the country charts. His followup, a remake of Bobby Darin's "Things" [Melodyland 6011, 6/75], did considerably better, reaching #25 country.

Dorsey Burnette, whose career went back to the mid-1950s with his brother Johnny in the Rock'n'Roll Trio, added three more country chart hits. His first was "Molly (I Ain't Gettin' Any Younger)" [Melodyland 6007, 5/75], which made #25. This was followed by two minor hits, "Lyin' In Her Arms Again" [Melodyland 6019, 10/75, #97] and "Ain't No Heartbreak" [Melodyland 6031, 4/76, #74].

Terry Stafford's lone single for the label, "Darling Think It Over"/"I Can't Find It" [Melodyland 6009] did not chart. Stafford, whose cover of Elvis Presley's "Suspicion" in 1964 [Crusader 101] had reached #3 pop, was fresh from some success on the country charts with Atlantic. He had reached #31 on the country charts in early 1974 with a song he had written called "Amarillo By Morning" [Atlantic 4006], but his biggest success would be when George Strait redid the song in 1983, reaching #4 and associating Terry's name forever on a country classic, one of the best rodeo songs ever written.

Kenny Serratt also had three country chart hits for the label, but the highest only made #54. They were "If I Could Have It Any Other Way" [Melodyland 6014, 8/75, #88], "I've Been There Too" [Hitsville 6039,8/76, #72] and "Daddy, They're Playing A Song About You" [Hitsville 6049, 2/77, #54].

Jud Strunk had the highest charting hit on the pop charts with "The Biggest Parakeets In Town" [Melodyland 6015, 8/75], which reached #50 pop and #51 country. Strunk was a veteran of comedic songwriting, having been a regular on Laugh-In in the 1960s, and this novelty was a thinly veiled double entendre about a woman who had "the biggest parakeets in town", or... the biggest pair of something, anyway. His followup, "Pamela Brown" [Melodyland 6027, 2/76] only reached #88 country.

The final hitmaker for the label was Wendell Adkins, who had two minor hits and an album in 1977 during the months Hitsville was winding down. Adkins was a regular at Mickey Gilley's club in Houston.

Other artists on Memodyland/Hitsville included Karen Kelly, Barbara Wyrick, Sheila Taylor, Darla Foster, Joey Martin, Ernie Payne, Rick Tucker, Marty Mitchell, Lloyd Schoonmaker, and Jerry Foster.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #8 posted 10/10/20 5:57pm

MickyDolenz

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Rufus "Tee Tot" Payne (1884 - 1939)
https://66.media.tumblr.com/d93c1fb7b97c8b7ed8ce0fb52074ec71/tumblr_o7pr584w1E1rw606ko1_r4_1280.jpg
Rufus Payne may not have really been a hillbilly music singer or performer in the strictest sense of the word. But his influence on country music and one particular performer in particular, Hank Williams, has been documented through the years. He was living in Greenville, Alabama when a youngster by the name of Hiram Williams met him. He became known as Tee Tot to Hank.

Hank got his first guitar from his mother, Lillie. It cost her $3.50 and she has told authors that she paid for it fifty cents a month until it was paid for. Hank contributed to that effort by turning over the money he made from his shoeshining efforts and selling peanuts. One story goes he was so happy when he got it, he ran outside and slipped and fell and broke his arm. But even with the cast on, he still tried to play the guitar.

Working the streets in Georgiana, Alabama, Hank encountered someone Jay Caress called a '...worldly-wise old black street minstrel.' He played the guitar and would entertain folks on the street corners to try and get a bit of money. That man was Rufus Payne, who locals called "Tee Tot". That was short for "Teetotaler" but in another sense, it more likely had to do with the storied 'tea' that he always had in his flask, a combination of home brew whiskey and tea.

Rufus worked part time doing odd jobs such as cleaning or delivery for a local business, Peagler's Drug Store. And spent other times, playing his music with two other musicians for anyone that would listen and contribute a few coins. He often played local dances when asked.

Hank met Tee Tot when he was about 12 years old. But that relationship would be the beginning of a legend.

Hank was determined to learn to play the guitar and he was just as determined that Tee Tot would be his teacher. He taught Hank more than just the guitar. Tee Tot began to open Hank's eyes to the world a bit, and more of what it might take to be an entertainer and keep the crowds happy. Mr. Caress notes that they had to put the poetry aside and learn to draw a crowd. Being a street singer meant he did not get to play to a captive audience. That meant he had to grab their attention with a style and delivery that would make them want to stop and listen and in the end, drop a few coins in appreciation. Another aspect was to not only get them to stop and listen, but to keep them through a couple of songs or three. The thought was that folks might feel like they owed something to the spontaneous entertainment they enjoyed before they went on with their daily lives.

Jay Caress notes that Hiram Hank Williams was "...too frail for sports, too smart for farming, too poor for politics and still a bit too young for girls, performing with Tee Tot was the challenge of his young life."

Hank was around Tee Tot so much that he began calling Hank "Little White Boss". Recall the old south and the era they were a part of. Tee Tot is said to have warned Hank that some of the local white folks did not like him taking so much care of Hank. But if it worried Hank, he never showed it. Tee Tot was a frequent visitor to the kitchen of Hank's mom, Lillie, who fed him as a sort of payment for what he was doing for Hank.

Pictures of Hank at this early age show him wearing wire-rimmed glasses that are more suited for scholarly types perhaps. One of the lessons Hank must have learned was to make sure he had the timing and a strong rhythm down for the band behind him to follow. It must have been apparent he would never be a lead guitar player.

Mr. Caress inferred that in the few years Hank worked with Tee Tot, it laid the foundation for everything that Hank would need musically going forward. Chords, chord progressions, some bass runs, rhythms, the feeling of a song, communicating not only with the voice and body, but speaking "soul to soul." This learning of providing a strong rhythm has been noted by other autors such as Roger M. Williams.

Hank always gave credit to Tee Tot. "All the musical training I ever had was from him." Colin Escott cites the Montgomery Advertiser article from 1951 in his book.

During those two years of mentoring, teaching and friendship, Hank's family moved to Greenville, Alabama where Hank's mother setup another boarding house. Greenville was also where Rufus Payne lived. Hank hung around Tee Tot so much in Greenville that Chet Flippo notes they were calling them the "Greenville Troubadours." In fact, it seems that local merchants would encourage the duo to perform in front of their stores.

In his book, Chet Flippo seeming quotes a conversation between Tee Tot and Hank as Tee Tot tries to educate young Hank how to work a crowd. Hank trusted Tee Tot. He saw all of the give and take he did with the local white folks and saw his entertainment talent. He told Hank to smile. Folks wanted to see that he was friendly. Tell them jokes. Make them laugh. It don't even matter if they are homey or corny jokes. He told Hank, don't act like you are above your audience. Let them feel like there is nothing you would rather be doing than entertaining them at that moment. Hank was a bit shy at the time, perhaps uncomfortable in front of a crowd and what he saw. But Tee Tot persisted and perhaps the lessons began to sink in.

Mr. Flippo relates that one day Tee Tot set his pupil down and taught him the best song he had, a tune that had been passed down to him. It was called "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It". That song bears the copyright of Clarence Williams. Clarence was a black composer from New Orleans as well as a pianist. He also wrote "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home." Colin Escott notes that there was a unique aspect to Hank's recording. The version included an acoustic guitar break that was perhaps played by Hank himself; that makes it the only recorded solo of Hank's guitar work. Louis Innis was playing rhythm guitar on that session in the manner and sound that Fred Rose was looking for.

Why did Tee Tot have such influence over Hank's musical education? Mr. Escott points out it may have been largely due to the fact the local musicians were what he was exposed to as he grew up. His mom could not afford or own a radio or a phonograph record player.

Not much else is known about Mr. Payne's later life after Hank went off on his own. The sources we've read indicate he died in a 'charity hospital' and was on 'relief' at the time of his death. Some accounts indicate he was about 55 at the time of his death, which means he was born around 1884 or so. Some accounts indicate he had white hair by the time Hank met up with him.

Hank did not keep in touch with his mentor after leaving Alabama. Greenville held a homecoming tribute of sorts for Hank in 1951. Hank would again tell the press of the influence of Tee Tot and tried to find him, but at the time, it appears no one knew and could tell Hank he had died in 1939.

In the MGM movie of Hank's life story, Hollywood took a bit of liberty to go so far as to show Tee Tot dying in Hank's arms. But at least they did pay a bit of homage to the person who had a hand in developing Hank's career. Rex Ingram played the part of Tee Tot / Rufus Payne in the movie.

The theme is consistent throughout the research on the career of Hank Williams. It seems a given that this street singer Rufus Payne known as Tee Tot had a distinct and lasting influence on the musical development of one of country music's all time legends, Hank Williams.

Hillbilly Music

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #9 posted 10/10/20 6:28pm

MickyDolenz

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Kika Kila: How The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed The Sound Of Modern Music

(2016) Since the nineteenth century, the distinct tones of kīkā kila, the Hawaiian steel guitar, have defined the island sound. Here historian and steel guitarist John W. Troutman offers the instrument’s definitive history, from its discovery by a young Hawaiian royalist named Joseph Kekuku to its revolutionary influence on American and world music. During the early twentieth century, Hawaiian musicians traveled the globe, from tent shows in the Mississippi Delta, where they shaped the new sounds of country and the blues, to regal theaters and vaudeville stages in New York, Berlin, Kolkata, and beyond. In the process, Hawaiian guitarists recast the role of the guitar in modern life. But as Troutman explains, by the 1970s the instrument’s embrace and adoption overseas also worked to challenge its cultural legitimacy in the eyes of a new generation of Hawaiian musicians. As a consequence, the indigenous instrument nearly disappeared in its homeland.

Using rich musical and historical sources, including interviews with musicians and their descendants, Troutman provides the complete story of how this Native Hawaiian instrument transformed not only American music but the sounds of modern music throughout the world.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #10 posted 10/10/20 6:54pm

MickyDolenz

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The Banjo: America's African Instrument

(2016) The banjo has been called by many names over its history, but they all refer to the same sound―strings humming over skin―that has eased souls and electrified crowds for centuries. The Banjo invites us to hear that sound afresh in a biography of one of America’s iconic folk instruments. Attuned to a rich heritage spanning continents and cultures, Laurent Dubois traces the banjo from humble origins, revealing how it became one of the great stars of American musical life.

In the seventeenth century, enslaved people in the Caribbean and North America drew on their memories of varied African musical traditions to construct instruments from carved-out gourds covered with animal skin. Providing a much-needed sense of rootedness, solidarity, and consolation, banjo picking became an essential part of black plantation life. White musicians took up the banjo in the nineteenth century, when it became the foundation of the minstrel show and began to be produced industrially on a large scale. Even as this instrument found its way into rural white communities, however, the banjo remained central to African American musical performance.

Twentieth-century musicians incorporated the instrument into styles ranging from ragtime and jazz to Dixieland, bluegrass, reggae, and pop. Versatile and enduring, the banjo combines rhythm and melody into a single unmistakable sound that resonates with strength and purpose. From the earliest days of American history, the banjo’s sound has allowed folk musicians to create community and joy even while protesting oppression and injustice.

videos:

Faculty Bookwatch: Laurent Dubois

Rhiannon Giddens: The Los...lack Banjo

From Africa To Appalachia

The Akonting - A West African Gem

Bones and Banjo: Kafari + Jake Hoffman

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #11 posted 10/11/20 10:55am

MickyDolenz

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Arnold Shultz (1886–1931) Bluegrass Today
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Arnold Shultz was a blues-guitar-playing mentor and friend of Bill Monroe’s.

The multi-talented African-American Shultz – he could play the fiddle, banjo, mandolin and piano, as well as guitar, and was the writer of Cannonball Rag – was a laborer and itinerant musician, playing with both jazz and blues bands. Taught by an uncle, he developed a ‘thumb-style’ way of playing the guitar, although he was as readily able to play finger-style.

Apparently, he gave Bill Monroe his opportunity to play his first paid gig, joining Shultz at square dances with Arnold on fiddle and Monroe on guitar.

As well as being a major influence on Bill Monroe, introducing the blues element that Monroe incorporated into his own playing and providing a key ingredient for bluegrass music, Shultz was an influence on the four legendary Muhlenberg County (Kentucky) finger-pickers Kennedy Jones, Ike Everly, Mose Rager and Merle Travis. That influence later extended to Chet Atkins.

Legend has it that Shultz either died of ‘bad’ whiskey or poison administered by jealous white musicians, or that he suffered a stroke while boarding a bus.

He is buried in Morgantown’s only black cemetery.

Monroe once said of Shultz “There’s things in my music, you know, that come from Arnold Shultz; ½ runs that I use in a lot of my music. I don’t say that I make them the same way that he could make them, ’cause he was powerful with it. In following a fiddle piece or a breakdown, he used a pick and could just run from one chord to another the prettiest you’ve ever heard. There’s no guitar picker today that could do that.”

While Richard D. Smith wrote in his book about Bill Monroe, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, that had he been recorded by field folk recorders or race record labels “Arnold Shultz would today share the pantheon of African-American country blues greats with Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, and even Robert Johnson.”

videos:

Dr. Richard Brown on Arnold Shultz

The Godfather Of Bluegrass


You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #12 posted 10/11/20 11:41am

MickyDolenz

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Linda Martell

Linda with Roy Acuff 1969

Born in South Carolina in 1941, Linda Martell began singing in church at age 5. She first recorded in 1962 as a member of a R&B girl group called Linda Martell And The Anglos. Drawn to country music at a young age, in addition to blues, jazz and R&B, Martell caught her big break in 1969, when a stunning performance at the Charleston Air Force Base landed her a meeting with producer/label owner Shelby Singleton. He signed her to his Plantation label soon after. That same year, Martell made the Top 25 with "Color Him Father" and became the first African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry.

Early Life and Career

Famed country/blues singer Linda Martell was born on June 4, 1941, in Leesville, South Carolina, one of five children. Her father was a minister. Growing up in nearby Columbia, Martell developed an appreciation for many different musical genres—most notably country, blues, jazz and R&B—at a young age. She began singing in the choir at St. Mark's Baptist Church at the age of 5, and began performing R&B tunes with a small group in clubs around Columbia, including numerous stints at the Charleston Air Force Base, in her late teens.

During one of her performances at the Air Force Base, Martell was harassed by officers in the crowd, who insisted that she sing a country song. She quieted the crowd when she finally gave in, and blew them away with her performance. Martell caught her big break when a serviceman who'd been in the audience that day told a friend, Duke Rayner, from Nashville, Tennessee, about the singer. Knowing only her name and town of residence, Rayner, a businessman, contacted Martell and persuaded her to fly to Nashville for a demo recording session. The resulting demo tape was taken to American record producer/label owner Shelby Singleton, who was highly impressed with the singer. Shortly thereafter, Martell signed with Singleton's Plantation label—the home of country star Jeannie C. Riley ("Harper Valley PTA") fame.

Commercial Success

In the summer of 1969, Linda Martell's song "Color Him Father"—from her debut album, Color Me Country (released by Plantation Records in 1970)—was an instant hit, making the Top 25. After being introduced to American country musician/promoter Roy Acuff, in August 1969, Martell made history as the first African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry; she shared the stage with Acuff for her debut Opry performance. (She would make 11 more appearances on the internationally aired, legendary radio program throughout her career.)

Martell went on to make many local television appearances, including on widely aired syndicates such as Country Carnival, 16th Avenue South, Midwestern Hayride and the Bill Anderson Show, and on major network programs like Hee Haw.

In 1970, two singles released by Martell, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Bad Case of the Blues," made the Top 60. Martell did not appear on the country music charts again during her career. Following her 12th appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, the singer retired in 1974.

Linda in 2020

articles
:

Ebony (March 1970)

Rolling Stone (September 2020)

videos:

Bad Case Of The Blues (Hee Haw 1970)

Bad Case Of The Blues

San Francisco Is A Lonely Town

The Wedding Cake

Tender Leaves Of Love

I Almost Called Your Name

Color Him Father

There Never Was A Time

You're Crying, Boy Crying

Old Letter Song

Then I'll Be Over You

Before The Next Teardrop Falls

Linda Martell And The Anglos ~ A Little Tear (Was Fallin...m My Eyes)

Linda Martell And The Anglos ~ The Things I Do For You

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #13 posted 10/11/20 12:39pm

MickyDolenz

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Ruby Falls (January 16, 1946 - June 15, 1986)
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Ruby Falls has been the most successful black woman country performer to date, with her mellifluous voice taking her to the Billboard country singles chart nine times between 1974 and 1979. Her biggest hits were “You’ve Got To Mend This Heartache,” which peaked at number 40 in 1977 and “I’m Getting’ Into Your Love,” which peaked at number 56 in 1979. Falls was also nominated as country music’s Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1975 by country industry trade media. She recorded on the 50 States Records label and also found success in her stage shows. In the late 1970’s, she was touring through the Atlas Artists Bureau with Grand Ole Opry star Justin Tubb. She also performed with such country greats as Faron Young, Jeanne Pruett, Del Reeves, Narvel Felts, and Dave & Sugar. She additionally got significant Nashville area and national promotion on such television programs as the Ralph Emery Show, Nashville Today, Good Ol’ Nashville Music and Music Hall America.

When Falls died in Nashville at the young age of 40 of a brain hemorrhage in June 1986, she was touted by the media along with Linda Martell for becoming one of the first black women to find significant success in country music. In a brief retrospective nine years after her death, Nashville’s major daily newspaper, The Tennessean, proclaimed, “Along with other successful black artists of the period, such as Charley Pride and Stoney Edwards, she helped illuminate the black community’s long history of artistic contributions to the country.” Tubb told the media after her death that “She was the one of the best friends I ever had. Ruby Falls made everybody feel good that she was around.”

Born as Bertha Dorsey in January 1946, on a farm near Jackson, Tennessee, Falls spent her early years primarily picking cotton, tomatoes and strawberries. She dreaded her days in the field at the hand of a strict grandmother, who was her guardian. For refuge, she listened to the radio a lot at night, particularly to country music heard frequently on station KLAC out of Gallatin, Tennessee. The sounds she heard prompted her to dream of a singing career. She began that career singing in churches, in schools on talent shows and at local social events as a teenager.

After high school she moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, took voice, dance and charm lessons, and turned professional in early 1960’s by becoming lead singer with the group Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds. The group travelled all over the country and performed country, pop, and rock in such places as Las Vegas and New York supper clubs. Then she joined a rock and jazz band whose club dates were typically closer to home. Then she decided to concentrate on the music she enjoyed most and moved to Nashville. There she was discovered by Johnny Howard, who signed her to 50 States in 1974.
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She took the name Ruby Falls from one of Tennessee’s natural treasures- a cavern that is 1,100 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, is the deepest cavern in the United States and boasts the highest underground waterfall open to the public. “It’s like a dream come true,” she says in a publicity brief, about her success as Ruby Falls. “I get to thinking about everything good that’s happened to me since I moved to Nashville and sometimes I get so excited I feel I sing in my sleep every night.” Of her move to Nashville to concentrate on both singing and writing country, she adds, “It made sense. There’s a lot of country girl left in me and I guess it shows in my music like it does in my talking…I love music and I love people, so my main goal is making music that people will love. I want to do my very best all the time so people will love me.”

After pounding the Nashville pavement and landing a recording contract, Falls found that having records out in the public and getting touring dates was not enough to bring her what she wanted. She wanted more. She wanted to catapult her career to the next level. A grand opportunity to just that came to her in 1976 when she won a slot to perform before thousands of country radio on-air personalities and executives from around the country. Gathered in Nashville for their annual industry convention known as the Country Radio Seminar, these are the people who somehow had to become attracted to Falls and be part of an overall effort to promote her and her music if she were to become a true star. But the opportunity didn’t open the doors she had expected, and by the time of her death she was disgruntled at not having done better in her career and had taken a traditional job at a computer firm.

Falls did not blame people’s reaction to her race for her not reaching the heights she had dreamed of, and she had earlier vowed to keep trying to reach her career goals in every way she could think of. “Everybody’s been real nice to me,” she said in a September 1977 Essence magazine article. “I’ve never had negative incidents on the road. If I did, I wouldn’t pay them any mind…I want to be a star. No one ever told me that it was gonna be easy. I’m gonna hang on in there for as long as it takes to make it.”

articles:

Hillbilly Music

Jet

Billboard

The Black Women of Country Music

Ruby Falls Exhibit


videos:
Sweet Country Music (1975)

He Loves Me All To Pieces (1975)

Let's Spend Summer In The Country (1975)

Show Me Where (1976)

Somewhere There’s A Rainbow Over Texas (1976)

Beware Of The Woman (Before She Gets To Your Man) (1976)

You’ve Got To Mend This Heartache (1977)

Three Nights A Week (1978)

Do The Buck Dance (1977)
If That’s Not Loving You (You Can’t Say I Didn’t Try) (1978)

I’m Gettin’ Into Your Love (1979)

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #14 posted 10/12/20 8:27am

JoeBala

Great topic MD! I need to read these this week. I’m hoping the re-air the PBS country series I missed it.
Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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Reply #15 posted 10/12/20 8:13pm

MickyDolenz

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Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story (2007)

This book recounts the fascinating life of Roni Stoneman, the youngest daughter of the pioneering country music family, and a girl who, in spite of poverty and abusive husbands, eventually became "The First Lady of Banjo," a fixture on the Nashville scene, and, as Hee Haw's Ironing Board Lady, a comedienne beloved by millions of Americans nationwide.

Drawn from over seventy-five hours of recorded interviews, Pressing On reveals that Roni is also a master storyteller. In her own words and with characteristic spunk and candor, she describes her "pooristic" ("way beyond 'poverty-stricken'") Appalachian childhood, and how she learned from her brother Scott to play the challenging and innovative three-finger banjo picking style developed by Earl Scruggs. She also warmly recounts Hee Haw-era adventures with Minnie Pearl, Roy Clark, and Buck Owens; her encounters as a musician with country greats including Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, June Carter, and Patsy Cline; as well as her personal struggles with shiftless and violent husbands, her relationships with her children, and her musical life after Hee Haw.

videos:

The Stoneman Family bio

The Stonemans ~ Donna-Mite(The Road To Nashville 1967)

The Stonemans ~ White Lightning / Mountain Dew

Stringbean, Grandpa Jones, Roni Stoneman, Roy Clark, Bobby Thompson ~ Stop That Tickling Me

The House Of The Rising Sun

Hee Haw skit

Roni Stoneman & Roy Clark ~ Roy / You Can't Take Country From Me

Roni & Donna Stoneman in 2018

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #16 posted 10/13/20 11:46am

MickyDolenz

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Sun, sea and stetsons: why St Lucia loves country and western music

by Alexis Petridis • August 10, 2014

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St Lucia's homegrown country star LM Stone plays to the faithful, filmed for the documentary Make Mine Country.

Three years ago, Ian Berry went to visit his grandparents, who'd retired to the Caribbean island of St Lucia. "It was their 60th wedding anniversary," says the film-maker from Portland, Oregon. "So my whole family was there. My dad and I were talking one day and he happened to offhandedly mention that country music was really popular in St Lucia. I thought he was joking, because I'd been there a few times and I'd never heard anything. But he said, 'No it's true.' And he actually leaned back in his chair and turned on the radio on the shelf – and out of the radio came George Jones! I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe what I was hearing."

St Lucia isn't the only Caribbean island with a liking for the sounds of Nashville (last year, Kenny Rogers told the Gua...in Jamaica) but it's undoubtedly the most fervent in its devotion. In St Lucia, country isn't so much a genre of music as a national obsession. There are buses named after Jim Reeves songs and radio stations that have been known to play 20 George Jones tracks in a row. There are dozens of country and western karaoke bars and club nights, running endless competitions to find the best local singer who can approximate a southern American twang. And there's the St Lucia country festival, which kicked off in the late 90s with appearances from Tammy Wynette, Don Williams and the Charlie Daniels Band. In Dancing the Habanera Beat...try Music), a study of the island's musical taste, sociologist Jerry Wever recounts a popular local joke suggesting that when police on the neighbouring island of Martinique want to catch illegal immigrants from St Lucia, they only have to put on a country and western dance, then arrest everyone who turns up.

Moreover, St Lucians are remarkably picky when it comes to the actual music: like northern soul fans turning their noses up at funk or disco, they're uninterested in latterday Nashville stars, obsessed instead with country made between the 1950s and the 1970s. "They just don't think modern country is really country at all," says Berry. "It just sounds like rock music to them. They're completely loyal to that old-fashioned aesthetic, they're extremely diehard. Not just the old people, but the kids too. You go to a karaoke bar and you see teenagers singing old Tammy Wynette songs. It's fascinating."

A year after his discovery, Berry returned to St Lucia with a crew to film Make Mine Country, a feature-length, Kickstarter-funded documentary about the phenomenon. He's hoping to finish editing it within the next month, but the rough cut he shows me is fascinating. There are scenes of St Lucians in church on a Sunday, singing God-fearing country songs. There are testimonies from a rural mother of 14, whose home seems to permanently reverberate to country played at deafening volume; there's a gravedigging Elvis fan and the excitable Hot Watts, a middle-aged radio presenter whose style is not a million miles from that of a Jamaican sound-system DJ. He bellows over the records and stops particularly popular tunes midway through, putting them back to the start with the words: "When it's nice, you play it twice! When it's sweet, you repeat!" The big difference is he's not playing reggae or dancehall: he's playing lachrymose George Jones songs.

More startling still is what DJ Hot Watts gets up to when his country show ends. He hosts a late-night phone-in called Big People Talk, where – over the sound of romantic country ballads – he offers impressively forthright advice on matters sexual, encouraging listeners to call in while they're actually having sex and describe what's going on: "Have you stuck your penis in? Ring in and tell me about it!"

There is also L.M. Stone, St Lucia's best known homegrown country star, a stetson-wearing former construction worker who models himself on George Jones and has won acclaim outside the island (the Tennessee Country Music Alliance named him traditional country artist of the year in 2003) but nevertheless makes his living performing John Denver hits to slightly bemused-looking tourists in the island's big hotels.

"When tourists come to St Lucia," says Berry, "they tend to stay in all-inclusive resorts. They just sit on the beach and drink their mai-tai or whatever and don't really explore the rest of the island. So I think tourists see him as more like this curiosity, this oddity, rather than evidence that there's this huge phenomenon out there. When we went to film LM Stone at one of the resorts, in the intermission they have what they call an entertainment group, all dressed up in cowboy gear with boots, belt-buckles and hats. They get onstage and play records and teach the tourists how to line-dance. It's extremely weird, you know, watching American tourists being taught how to line-dance by St Lucians."

The situation is certainly improbable, but it's not inexplicable. The prosaic reason for St Lucia's love of country is that the US military built a base there in the 1940s, and the US Armed Forces Radio Service began broadcasting what was then still called hillbilly music across the island. According to LM Stone, its popularity was further bolstered by St Lucians, including his stepfather, who went to work in Florida in the 1960s and 70s cutting sugarcane. They returned home, he says, "with records by Hank Williams, Charley Pride, George Jones, then played them day and night".

The reasons for its continuing popularity are much debated, though. Berry points out that its fans are most prevalent in the island's south. "It's rural there, extremely poor and very, very Christian. And those are pretty similar circumstances that you find in much of the southern United States, the birthplace of country. It's the music of poor, Christian, rural people."

Jerry Wever, meanwhile, has noticed country's similarities with kwadril, the traditional music of St Lucia, often made with fiddle, banjo and guitar. The Texas two-step, he points out, bears a marked resemblance to kwadril dances. In answer to anyone who finds it odd that black people are responding to a music usually made by white artists for a white audience, and associated by some with redneck racism, he suggests that country has been artificially "whitened": it has deep roots in African-American blues, the banjo originates in Africa, and there's a rhythmic similarity to the Afro-Caribbean habanera beat (a point underlined by the fact that St Lucians dance to both types of music in a similar style).

Nevertheless, St Lucia's love of country is not uncontroversial: there are suggestions that it's a sad example of cultural imperialism; that its popularity is a relic of the island's colonial past, when St Lucia's traditional culture was denigrated; that its popularity has prevented the island from coming up with its own indigenous form of pop to rival reggae or soca. There have been protest calypso songs called things like Country and Western Take Over and Too Many Country and Western Junkies.

You can understand why – but the arguments didn't cut much ice with the country fans Berry met. None of them thought there was anything unusual about the island's love for country. "Whenever I asked," he says, "they kind of resented the question. I don't think they saw it as any sort of imperialism. Everyone in America assumes without questioning that, for the most part, country is for, by and about white people: it's redneck, white trash music. And St Lucians are the exact opposite. That's not even a factor for them – there's no undercurrent or overtone. They just see the music for what it is."

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #17 posted 10/13/20 12:07pm

MickyDolenz

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Garth Brooks Hints That We Haven't Seen The Last Of Chris Gaines
by Carena Liptak | October 13, 2020 | Taste Of Country
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Garth Brooks left fans' heads spinning when, in 1999, he introduced the world to Chris Gaines, a completely fictional, but elaborately conceived rocker alter ego, who existed in fleshed-out world full of biographical details, family members and musical history.

That year, Brooks also dropped Garth Brooks in...The Life of Chris Gaines, a greatest hits project that was supposed to be the soundtrack to a movie about Gaines' life. Gaines was also the subject of a fake, but extremely well-done VH1 Behind the Music episode, an NBC special, a custom Fender guitar and more.

But as quickly and enigmatically as it appeared, the Chris Gaines phenomenon burned out. The Life of Chris Gaines sold two million copies and produced a Top 5 Billboard single, but many were puzzled by Brooks' dedication to the project, and some even mocked that chapter of the singer's career.

As the whole thing began to recede into nothing more than a quirky footnote of the late '90s, Brooks seemed ready to put Chris Gaines in his rearview mirror. In 2019, he even let the 20th anniversary of The Life of Chris Gaines' release pass by with little to no fanfare.

However, in a new Billboard interview, Brooks doesn't seem to be counting out the return of the mysterious rocker by any means. In fact, he's pretty sure that fans haven't seen the last of Gaines just yet.

"Trust me, it's got a whole life of its own and it's all coming," Brooks hints when asked if he's considering bringing back his alter ego. "It won't be anything predictable, I can guarantee you, because that's kind of what that character's thought process was."

When pressed for details, Brooks seemed to suggest that the clues for Gaines' next chapter lie in the music that he's already released. "If you know the greatest hits, they had to come from somewhere, if that tells you what's coming," he adds rather cryptically.

Though Brooks was met with plenty of critical confusion and derision for his Chris Gaines project, The Life of Chris Gaines does have at least one very important fan: His wife, Trisha Yearwood, told the Edmonton Journal in 2017 that it's her favorite of all of Brooks' albums.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #18 posted 10/13/20 8:12pm

MickyDolenz

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Hidden In The Mix: The African American Presence In Country Music (2013)

Country music's debt to African American music has long been recognized. Black musicians have helped to shape the styles of many of the most important performers in the country canon. The partnership between Lesley Riddle and A. P. Carter produced much of the Carter Family's repertoire; the street musician Tee Tot Payne taught a young Hank Williams Sr.; the guitar playing of Arnold Schultz influenced western Kentuckians, including Bill Monroe and Ike Everly. Yet attention to how these and other African Americans enriched the music played by whites has obscured the achievements of black country-music performers and the enjoyment of black listeners.

The contributors to Hidden in the Mix examine how country music became "white," how that fictive racialization has been maintained, and how African American artists and fans have used country music to elaborate their own identities. They investigate topics as diverse as the role of race in shaping old-time record catalogues, the transracial West of the hick-hopper Cowboy Troy, and the place of U.S. country music in postcolonial debates about race and resistance. Revealing how music mediates both the ideology and the lived experience of race, Hidden in the Mix challenges the status of country music as "the white man’s blues."

Contributors: Michael Awkward, Erika Brady, Barbara Ching, Adam Gussow, Patrick Huber, Charles Hughes, Jeffrey A. Keith, Kip Lornell, Diane Pecknold, David Sanjek, Tony Thomas, Jerry Wever

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #19 posted 10/13/20 8:19pm

MickyDolenz

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Country Soul: Making Music And Making Race In The American South (2015)

In the sound of the 1960s and 1970s, nothing symbolized the rift between black and white America better than the seemingly divided genres of country and soul. Yet the music emerged from the same songwriters, musicians, and producers in the recording studios of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama—what Charles L. Hughes calls the "country-soul triangle." In legendary studios like Stax and FAME, integrated groups of musicians like Booker T. and the MGs and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section produced music that both challenged and reconfirmed racial divisions in the United States. Working with artists from Aretha Franklin to Willie Nelson, these musicians became crucial contributors to the era's popular music and internationally recognized symbols of American racial politics in the turbulent years of civil rights protests, Black Power, and white backlash.

Hughes offers a provocative reinterpretation of this key moment in American popular music and challenges the conventional wisdom about the racial politics of southern studios and the music that emerged from them. Drawing on interviews and rarely used archives, Hughes brings to life the daily world of session musicians, producers, and songwriters at the heart of the country and soul scenes. In doing so, he shows how the country-soul triangle gave birth to new ways of thinking about music, race, labor, and the South in this pivotal period.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #20 posted 10/15/20 8:39am

MickyDolenz

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Never Look At The Empty Seats: A Memoir (2017)

Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels.

Readers will experience a soft, personal side of Charlie Daniels that has never before been documented. In his own words, he presents the path from his post-depression childhood to performing for millions as one of the most successful country acts of all time and what he has learned along the way. The book also includes insights into the many musicians that orbited Charlie’s world, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette and many more.

Charlie was officially inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, shortly before his 80th birthday. He now shares the inside stories, reflections, and rare personal photographs from his earliest days in the 1940s to his self-taught guitar and fiddle playing high school days of the fifties through his rise to music stardom in the seventies, eighties and beyond.

Charlie Daniels presents a life lesson for all of us regardless of profession:

“Walk on stage with a positive attitude. Your troubles are your own and are not included in the ticket price. Some nights you have more to give than others, but put it all out there every show. You're concerned with the people who showed up, not the ones who didn't. So give them a show and…Never look at the empty seats!”

videos:

Uneasy Rider

No Place To Go

Give This Fool Another Try

James Brown & Charlie Daniels ~ Papa's Got A Brand New Bag / I Got You

Drinking My Baby Goodbye

Daddy's Old Fiddle (with Dolly Parton)

The Devil Went Down To Ge...Simple Man (Arsenio Hall Show)

Charlie Daniels, Roy Clark, Ricky Skaggs ~ Roy Acuff tribute

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #21 posted 10/15/20 8:59am

Margot

Wow, thanks.

You seem to be a music historian...love it.

Didn't Elvis mix Hillbilly, Country and Blues?

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Reply #22 posted 10/15/20 9:24am

Dalia11

Elvis, another Capricorn!
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Reply #23 posted 10/15/20 10:29am

MickyDolenz

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Ocala Star-Banner • September 9, 1979

Stevie ~ I love from bluegrass to LA music to country. I love music, period. What I can tell you is that I have always been a lover of music and country music.

videos:

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (2007)

Harpejji Medley (2015)

Harpejji #2

I Ain't Gonna Stand For It

Johnny Cash & Stevie Wonder Get Rhythm

John Denver ~ If Ever (Stevie on harmonica)

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #24 posted 10/15/20 11:27am

MickyDolenz

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Margot said:

Wow, thanks.

You seem to be a music historian...love it.

Didn't Elvis mix Hillbilly, Country and Blues?

Gospel too. Mavis Staples mentioned in her autobiography that Elvis used to come to her church. Elvis background singers The Jordanaires was a gospel group. Elvis & Conway Twitty used to chart on the R&B chart in the 1950s. Conway Twitty & Ronnie Milsap first started out as R&B singers before switching to country. In the 1970s, Barbara Mandrell had R&B elements in some of her songs too. It was common for R&B/soul acts to remake country songs and vice versa and some session musicians played on records in both genres. Joe Tex had a country music producer and Nashville session guys on a lot of his albums. Stax Records was originally a country music label and that vibe remained after changing to primarily R&B: "Otis you country, straight from the Georgia woods!". lol

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #25 posted 10/15/20 7:01pm

Margot

MickyDolenz said:

Margot said:

Wow, thanks.

You seem to be a music historian...love it.

Didn't Elvis mix Hillbilly, Country and Blues?

Gospel too. Mavis Staples mentioned in her autobiography that Elvis used to come to her church. Elvis background singers The Jordanaires was a gospel group. Elvis & Conway Twitty used to chart on the R&B chart in the 1950s. Conway Twitty & Ronnie Milsap first started out as R&B singers before switching to country. In the 1970s, Barbara Mandrell had R&B elements in some of her songs too. It was common for R&B/soul acts to remake country songs and vice versa and some session musicians played on records in both genres. Joe Tex had a country music producer and Nashville session guys on a lot of his albums. Stax Records was originally a country music label and that vibe remained after changing to primarily R&B: "Otis you country, straight from the Georgia woods!". lol

[Edited 10/15/20 19:03pm]

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Reply #26 posted 10/15/20 7:02pm

Margot

MickyDolenz said:

Margot said:

Wow, thanks.

You seem to be a music historian...love it.

Didn't Elvis mix Hillbilly, Country and Blues?

Gospel too. Mavis Staples mentioned in her autobiography that Elvis used to come to her church. Elvis background singers The Jordanaires was a gospel group. Elvis & Conway Twitty used to chart on the R&B chart in the 1950s. Conway Twitty & Ronnie Milsap first started out as R&B singers before switching to country. In the 1970s, Barbara Mandrell had R&B elements in some of her songs too. It was common for R&B/soul acts to remake country songs and vice versa and some session musicians played on records in both genres. Joe Tex had a country music producer and Nashville session guys on a lot of his albums. Stax Records was originally a country music label and that vibe remained after changing to primarily R&B: "Otis you country, straight from the Georgia woods!". lol

How could I forget Gospel (Elvis) I also heard that Elvis and his GF would sneak out of their church and head for the black church (then sneak back in time)

Goes to show that 'genres' are intertwined.

I bet you have a fabulous album collection!

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Reply #27 posted 10/16/20 5:20pm

MickyDolenz

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Hee Haw (1969-1997)

Created by Frank Peppiatt and John Ayleswoth, the first HEE HAW show aired on the CBS Television Network on June 15, 1969, as a summer replacement series for the SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR. HEE HAW was such a resounding success CBS slated the series for mid-season debut and as they say, the rest is history. From December 17, 1969 through December 27, 1997, HEE HAW shows were a weekly event in American households. A total of 585 one-hour shows were taped in Nashville, Tennessee, initially in 1969 at the CBS affiliate WLAC-TV (now WTVF-TV) and then moving to the Opryland Complex -Studio A in 1980.

HEE HAW is only one of a handful of television programs that have had a profound and lasting influence on American culture. Skits such as “The Cornfield,” “Pickin’ and Grinnin’,” “Pfft You Was Gone,” and “Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me” have become known universally and are woven into the American comedic fabric. Today HEE HAW is referenced in David Letterman’s “Top 10″ and Jay Leno’s opening monologue. HEE HAW has been recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame – Nashville, The Museum of Broadcast Communications – Chicago and The Museum of Television and Radio – Los Angeles and New York.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #28 posted 10/16/20 7:12pm

onlyforaminute

My play auntie loved country music, unfortunately she lived in a conflict with it. Anyway I think it was thru her I at least have an appreciation for it, it's pleasant to my ears.
If you carry the egg basket do not dance.

Do good, then throw it into the sea.

#octavia tried to tell us
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Reply #29 posted 10/17/20 8:17pm

Margot

I've always enjoyed the harmonies in Country music...used to love Don Williams.

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