Country, Western & Gospel Music

A History And Encyclopedia Of Composers, Artists & Songs

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
of the lyrics. "The person who listens to mountain music wants to hear a story," Satherley explains. "My singers must get the picture of the words. I've got to instill into them a picture of what they are singing about. If they're singing about a dead person, I impress on them that their best friend is lying dead and 'you'll never see him again.' I tell them, 'Sing it in the extreme.' In folk music, we don't care about trick ways of phrasing or hot licks; we concen­trate on the emotions. The country people, these so-called hillbillies, are tremendously sensitive people, with deep emotions. Whereas the sophisticated city person likes these humbug boy-girl love songs, with everything pretty-pretty, the mountaineer is a realist. His songs deal with loneliness, misery, death, murder."
Art Satherley is very self-conscious about the fact that neither his physical appearance, his clothes nor his genteel British ways of speaking is fitting to a talent scout for Texas and Tennessee minstrels. When he is on the road making recordings, he sometimes tries his best to look like and act like a hillbilly. He puts on a pair of corduroys and a sport shirt, and he goes squirrel hunting. He also tries to drink "cawn." He pretends to be very understanding when he runs into a mountaineering idiosyncrasy, such as the tradi­tion of putting one or more rattlesnake tails into a fiddle.
"These hoedown fiddlers say," relates Satherley, "that putting a couple of rattles into the fiddle makes it sound different from a classical music fiddle. I have tried to argue with my boys on this point for many years, but they are adamant. I tell them to try playing on a fiddle without any rattles inside, but they say they can't play hoedown without it. They give me all kinds of reasons too. Some say the rattlesnakes keep the moisture out of the fiddle, others that it keeps spider webs and cobwebs out; some say it keeps dust out, others that it gives the fiddle real vibration. The fiddler can only use rattlers he has killed himself. I am getting so I almost believe it myself."
Despite all his efforts, Satherley is becoming convinced that he will never be able to overcome the handicap of hav­ing been born in Bristol, England, in 1891. He was the son of an Episcopalian minister and was intended for a theo­logical career. After he completed his education at Queen
62






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III