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written more than a hundred songs, but: "Dad still has a spread down in Texas where he could use another hand, and my brother and I have a farm here in Tennessee." Er­nest was born on a ranch near Dallas, Texas, and was riding herd on his father's cattle near Benjamin before he was old enough for school. His proudest possession is a guitar once owned by a famous yodeling cowboy, the late Jimmy Rod-gers.
The Duke of Paducah, who is Benjamin Francis "Whitey" Ford to the folks at De Soto, Mo., where he originated, re­cently bought a big farm near Nashville and likes to say: "So far I have produced a calf, two dozen eggs, and three quarts of milk, and they've only cost me $65,000." He is somewhat puzzled by this, but even more perplexed by the national political situation. Last fall he told a conference of state governors: "Everywhere I go I hear people pickin' on Harry. I don't see why; he ain't done nothing!" He is even puzzled by the Republicans. "I understand they're gonna run a dark horse this year. Well, that might be a good idea. They ought to try once with a horse. Seems like they can't do no good with a man."
Cousin Minnie Pearl talks about her "sorghum and coon-dog" background, but really is trying to overcome two handicaps: She was born Sarah Ophelia Colley, scion of a prominent Tennessee family, and, even worse, she went to college. "But only for two years," she always adds hastily. "I don't reckon it marked me too much." She and her hus­band, Henry Cannon, a wartime aviator who sells and char­ters airplanes, have bought a working farm south of Nash­ville, and Minnie Pearl grubs like a beaver to get it im­proved.
Her father, a pioneer lumberman, used to take her on horseback trips to his sawmills in the deep woods and taught her to whistle bird calls. Her mother, a cosmopolitan city woman, borrowed a saying from her colored cook to express her disapproval: "A whistlin' woman and a crowin' hen, neither will come to any good end." Minnie Pearl is afraid she may have been right. "Some of my rich relatives haven't spoken to me since I started being a hillbilly. But I think they feel happier since we staged the Opry one time in Car­negie Hall." That was the occasion, incidently, when Ernest

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