Country, Western & Gospel Music

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even if they do have cars and swimming pools. They're country folk as much as anyone ever was, and the music they write is as authentic as any written hundreds of years ago. They capture the taste and depth of such music, and an honest and authentic hillbilly song, invented today, is still an authentic folk song."
So far, the authors of "Tennessee Waltz" a team who are currently suing each other over the song while broadcasting harmoniously together, have not stated whether their song was sheer inspiration or borrowed from an old melody, as are many Nashville successes.
Written by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart in 1947, it was first sung by them over a Louisville radio station. Then the Short Brothers recorded it for Decca. After that it was recorded for the pop field by Erskine Hawkins. But unlike many folk tunes that stay alive and then fade away—per haps to be resurrected a 100 years hence—each recording of "Tennessee Waltz" fascinated some who heard it.
One was Jerry Wexler, a young man on the music staff of Billboard. Pounding his Broadway beat last year, Wex­ler encountered Jack Rael, a forceful man who had discov­ered an Oklahoma girl named Patti Page and promoted her so skillfully that, at 23, she had become the most popular young singer in the land.
Rael was in a spot. Miss Page had just recorded a song called "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" and needed another to back it up. Something inoffensive, anything would do. Wex­ler suggested "Tennessee Waltz," humming it on the spot. Miss Page recorded it next day.
The rest is history, for seldom have song and singer merged so successfully. The wholesome Patti Page style ("She 'drips' feeling," says Jimmy Wakely) brought out the best qualities in the song, which has been called "a master­piece of poetic confession." "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" was forgotten as "Tennessee Waltz" swept the country. "White Christmas" sold seven million copies in five years. In eight months "Tennessee Waltz" sold three million and was still roaring along.
But aside from its success, the big news about "Tennes­see Waltz" is that except for Miss Page (whose next album

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