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was altered to read "Singin' songs in a cabaret," and Pistol-Packin' Mama became No. 1 on the Hit Parade. Poindexter, who meanwhile had changed his name to Al Dexter, is now playing in vaudeville theaters at a salary of $3,500 a week.
Satherley has a gloating air of triumph as he recites these and other statistics which prove that hillbilly music has come into its own. After Pistol-Packin' Mama, among the biggest recordings of the past twelve months have been There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere, by Elton Britt and his band, and No Letter Today, by Ted Daf-fan and his Texans, both of which have gone over the mil­lion mark. Six large radio stations now have gigantic programs devoted solely to hillbilly music, and WLS broad­casts five solid hours of the National Barn Dance every Saturday. In Nashville, Tennessee, the Grand Ole Op'ry is aired over WSM for four hours. NBC broadcasts portions of these two programs on a national hookup, and has a third sorghum show entitled The Hook 'n' Ladder Follies.
Almost remarkable are the grosses amassed by hillbilly units which play one-night stands all over the country in county auditoriums, schools, barns, and theaters. Obscure performers playing in hamlets like Reeds Ferry, New Hamp­shire, will draw $5,600 in a single night. On the road, hill­billy troupes will consistently outdraw legitimate Broadway plays, symphony concerts, sophisticated comedians and beautiful dancing girls. When a unit, say, like Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys is scheduled to hit a town like Albany, Georgia, farmers will pour into Albany from a 200-mile radius, and night after night Acuff will play to audiences of 4,000 in places where Betty Grable or Tommy Dorsey or Bob Hope would only succeed in drawing boll weevils. This is a great mystery to the clever strategists of show business who plan projects on Broadway and in Hollywood.
It is no mystery to Satherley, who, for some twenty-five years, has been crusading for hillbilly music among his cynical Broadway friends. Satherley dislikes the term "hillbilly," and he keeps talking about "folk music," "coun­try music," or "mountain music." He says that the explana­tion of the hillbilly phenomenon is quite simple. He ex­plains that most Americans either live on farms today or
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III