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THAR'S GOLD IN THEM HILLBILLIES
by Kyle Crichton
The young man with the Adam's apple seemed out of place in a New York elevator. Very definitely he was not a New Yorker and in addition he was not welcome in the crowded car because he carried under his arm a case that looked like a rough box for a horse.
"Will y'all pahdon me?" he said plaintively. "Ah'm havin* some trouble with this here git-tar."
He carried the trouble with him when he got off at the eleventh floor and was presently in a room before a micro­phone having an audition for phonograph records. He said, with some hesitation, that he would do imitations of Jimmie Rodgers and started in a thin wailing voice to do Blue Yodel, No. 1, which has for its theme: "T for Texas, T for Tennessee and T for Thelma." It seemed that Thelma had made a bum out of somebody and was to receive a bullet from a .44 through her middle—"just for to see her jump and fall."
This was the rare thing of a New York audition for hill­billy songs and race records. The general practice is to take a recording outfit into the territory where such songs grow and out of this endeavor have come such classics as The Wreck of Old 97, Floyd Collins in the Cave, Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane, The Old Hen Cackles, and The Rooster's Goin' ta Crow, Crazy Blues, Jimmie Rodgers and his Blue Yodels (Nos. 1 to 12), That Thing Called Love, Just Because, Deep Elam Blues, The Prisoner's Song, Comin* Round the Mountain, Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane, Casey Jones, Twenty-one Years, and hundreds of others.
South of a point that might roughly be regarded as St. Albans, West Virginia, the grapevine system of news dis­tribution still beats anything known to modern science. A hint from New York that David Kapp of Decca or Eli Ober-stein of Victor is headed South will find the tidings flying
"Reprinted by permission of Kyle Crichton from Collier's, Vol. 101, No. 18, April 30, 1938, pp. 24-5."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III