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On the last word, he took a deep breath and launched into a high, prolonged yodel. The crowd went wild.
Similar finds had been picked up from Arkansas, Texas and other states.
Bob Miller has no regrets that he did not follow his original idea and become a concert pianist. "Imagine me in tails," he says, "stepping out on the stage of Carnegie Hall and playing a Bach fugue!"
Miller has laid aside some of his techniques of former years, notably the tragic-event formula. His votaries get their news now by radio. Moreover, many of them came to town to make big money in war industries and naturally picked up some urban tendencies. But in their songs they still like to have their emotions straight. So, it seems, do a lot more of us.
I asked Miller how to write a hillbilly song. "It's mostly a matter of feel and focus," he said. "If you don't feel it inside, how can you write it? I know a chap who thought he had the formula. He wrote a piece called, Pull the Shades Down, Willie Is Dead. It didn't mean a thing to the folks. How could it, when they knew nothing about Willie? I don't know how to explain it. If I did, I'd be a professor or something."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III