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HILLBILLY HEAVEN
by Don Eddy
If you don't mind, I will write this report lying down. I feel giddy. Before my eyes are funny little men chasing each other with pitchforks and banjos. In my ears ring mournful sounds such as never were before on land or sea. No, it's nothing I et. It's because I have been exposed, in person, to a national phenomenon called Grand Ole Opry, and I'm afraid it bit me.
I didn't want to do it. Me, I'm strictly from Brahms, Beethoven, and Ripski Korsetoff. But somebody got the idea that it would be edifying to send a high-class gent like me to Nashville, Tenn., modern fountainhead of folk music, to see what gives amongst the hillbilly kings of the air­waves. So look what happened. I went, I saw, and I got conquered. But before we go into that, I have news for you.
This noteworthy nation has been taken down bad with an epedimic called hillbillyitis. Every time you flip on a radio or feed a jit to a juke, you get somebody's broken heart, complete with adenoids and guitar. Known in the trade as country music, these lamentations are more vul­garly referred to as hillbilly stuff, and they are really skim­ming the cream off the crock. Also, like whooping cough in grade school, the epidemic is spreading. It has already in­fected Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and parts of the British Isles. In Germany recently a troupe of tattered troubadours was paraded on the shoulders of cheer­ing burghers who didn't understand the words but were in­toxicated by the rhythm.
Until quite recently, country tunes were such a small part of the national music industry that they scarcely fig­ured in statistics. This year, unless somebody pulls the plug, they will be an industry in themselves, with an income prophesied to reach $35,000,000. Approximately half of all popular-type phonograph records will be backwoodsy, the
"Reprinted by permission from American Magazine, Vol. 153, No. 3, March, Copyright 1952, and by permission from Mrs. Don Eddy."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III