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SONGS FROM TEXAS
by Time Magazine
This song, "New San Antonio Rose," may baffle or even irritate fastidious rhetoricians, and its tune is strictly golden bantam. Yet last week Decca Records reported that in January alone the song had sold 84,500 discs—sung by the Caruso of the juke boxes, bland Bing Crosby.
"New San Antonio Rose" was evidence of a new factor in the U. S. song business. It was written by Texan Bob Wills, and recorded a year ago (in Columbia's catalogue) by Wills and his Texas Playboys. It was a seller long be­fore Tin Pan Alley heard it. For Texas has boomed mightily as a source and an outlet for popular music. The late guitar-toting Jimmie Rodgers, one-time brakeman on the Southern Railway, helped start the boom, on Victor hillbilly records a dozen years ago. Now Victor's Bill Boyd, Columbia's Gene Autry, Bob Wills, Bonnie Blue Eyes, and Patsy Montana sing to the nation the songs that Texas makes. And the Kapp brothers, who run Decca, see to it that Bing Crosby croons the Texas sellers.
Popular Texas songs run in cycles. Jimmie Davis sang "Nobody's Darling But Mine"; then Patsy Montana coun­tered with "Woman's Answer to Nobody's Darling"; then someone else contributed a sad sequel: "By the Grave of Nobody's Darling." "New San Antonio Rose" was based on a phrase from "San Antonio Rose." Another Crosby hit, "It Makes No Difference Now," had a successor in "What Difference Does It Make?" Some songs proliferate simply by numbers: "Sweet Violets," "Sweet Violets No. 2," "Sweet Violets No. 3." Most Southwest minstrelsy stick to an ancient form: a 16-measure ballad, repeated over and over. But melodies have taken on a Tin Pan Alley cast, with em­bellishments which the Southwest takes to be "hot."
Currently many a Texan sings of national defense. On a single Southwest juke box may be found "I'm Lending You to Uncle Sam" (sung by Bonnie Blue Eyes), "Oh!
"Reprinted by permission from Time, Vol. 37, No. 12, March 24, Copyright 1941, Time Inc."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III