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
radio will quiver with them night and day, and you'll have to wear good, strong specs to find anything else on the juke boxes and TV cabinets.
The top country singers—such jaspers as Red Foley, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Roy Acuff, Moon Mullican—are expected to gross at least $7,500-000 from records, personal appearances, radio, and sheet music sales of their own compositions, and to take home a cozy $1,500,000 after taxes and business expenses. Hundreds of smaller fry will prosper proportionately. For guys who were skinning mules not too long ago, this is a lovely bale of hay.
Most performers give thanks for these bounteous bless­ings to Nashville, which has proudly taken to calling itself Tin Pan Valley, and particularly to Radio Station WSM, a powerful clear-channeler which blankets 30-odd states. Ra­dio WSM has been stubbornly plugging homespun enter­tainment since a wintry night in 1925, when George D. Hay, billed as The Solemn Old Judge, introduced a spry 80-year-old mountain fiddler named Uncle Jimmy Thompson. Un­cle Jimmy picked up his fiddle and his bow and sawed off an hour of lowdown hoedown which left listeners giddy and panting for more.
Other natural entertainers drifted in from the hills and hollers on succeeding Saturday nights to give Uncle Jimmy a hand, and gradually there evolved the hillbilly high jinks now called Grand Ole Opry. It is credited with the longest unbroken run of any radio show. It is also credited with sparking the present popular resurgence to pioneer-type tunes.
Today, its fame is so great that hopeful guitar and banjo beaters, accordian squeezers, mandolin pickers, balladeers, yodelers, and assorted mountain minstrels still arrive in such throngs that Program Director Jack Stapp, a sharp city feller who can spot a hillbilly dilly as far as you can call a hog, has had to set up an audition system to screen the promising from the impossible. He catches a new star quite often, as you shall presently learn.
So that's why I went to Nashville: And what happened to me there shouldn't happen. . . .
91






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