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placed his pince-nez on his nose and patiently listened as Poindexter and his companions dreamily strummed and thrummed and twanged their way through the thirty-five lays of despair. Finally, Satherley selected twelve to be recorded. The best of the twelve, thought Satherley, was a lilting love song called Rosalita. Another of the twelve was a ballad having to do with a husband who is having a wild time in a night club in the company of a blonde when his wife catches him in "flagrante delicto," she forthwith drawing a revolver, shooting out the lights and beating him gently about the face. Although he was not particularly impressed by this saga of marital infidelity, Satherley re­corded it because he liked its steady, insistent rhythm. He was otherwise unimpressed, however, because he says that in hillbilly circles it is very common to hear songs about men and women who are unfaithful to each other, and who are always shooting it out with guns.
"To be honest about it," Satherley recently confided, "I never dreamed it would be the hit it turned out. We only released it because we needed a contrast to put on the other side of Rosalita."
Released in March, 1943, Rosalita was promptly forgot­ten. Instead, millions of Americans began to walk around advising pistol-packin' mama to lay that pistol down. By June it became one of the biggest selling records in the history of American recording, and by December, 1943, it had sold 1,600,000 copies, and the manufacturer had orders on hand for 500,000 more which he could not fill because of the wartime shortages of labor and shellac.
On the black market, coin-machine phonograph opera­tors were offering from three dollars up to as high as ten dollars for a copy of Pistol-Packin' Mama in good condi­tion, because the jukebox cognoscenti preferred this record to all others. Even Bing Crosby was driven to recording it. The Hit Parade for a long time refused to recognize the existence of Pistol-Packin' Mama because the opening line went "Drinkin' beer in a cabaret," and the radio networks are not permitted to publicize people who look upon the malt when it is amber. This is a ruling of the Federal Com­munications Commission. The publishers of Pistol-Packin' Mama hauled the Hit Parade into court, and finally the lyric
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III