Country, Western & Gospel Music

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learned the basic guitar chords from an old Negro street singer named Teetot. At 12, he won an amateur talent con­test, landed a radio job at $6 a week—big money—and began wandering through the South as a boy troubadour. Almost from the start he was writing songs.
Red Foley, who was the top country singer of 1950, stems from a 12-acre sidehill farm off the road near Blue Lick, Ky. "Salt and sugar were the only things Dad had to buy, but it made him so mad to lay out that money that he started a store down at the crossroads so he could get 'em for noth­ing." His dad, Ben, now 75, still runs the same old store, and his Mom, 71, thinks her Clyde would do better if he came home and quit his roodling around.
As a youngster, Red pitched hay, shucked corn, and dug potatoes for the neighbors to earn enough to buy a second­hand guitar. He slung a mouth harp around his neck on a wire and learned to play tunes while beating the rhythm on the guitar. The Cumberland Valley Boys let him join their radio act, and he started soaring when he cut his first record, "Smoke On The Water." Like most country folks, Red has strong religious instinct and prefers sacred songs such as "Peace in the Valley," and "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." His wife, to whom he was devoted, died recently, and Red is canceling many personal appearance tours to keep house for his three daughters, Shirley Lee, 17, Julie Ann, 13, and Jenny Lou, 11.
Like every other country singer I met, Red believes the popularity of old-style songs will never wane. "Not as long as there are common people, anyhow, and you know what the feller said about them: The Lord must love 'em or he wouldn't have made so many of them. You see, us farm boys are kinfolks, you might say, of the people we sing for. They're not just fans; they're friends of ours."
I persisted: "But what would you do if you couldn't make a living with your music?"
He didn't hesitate. "Go back to the farm. Long as man can follow a mule and plow a straight furrow he ain't gonna starve to death."
Ernest Tubb feels the same way. Ernest hit the big time 9 years ago with "Walkin' the Floor Over You," and has
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III