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Dot; and a backlog of songwriters who have made Nashville their home since it became the Broadway of country music.
Meanwhile, the Grand Ole Opry is sold out ten weeks in advance, as many a prosperous Iowa farm family has learned with dismay after driving down to Nashville on a week end.
The country boys have the run of the nation during the week, but they speed back to Nashville on Saturday night for a pay check, free advertising on a 50,000-watt radio station and the fame that goes with appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
Old-time vaudeville never saw anything like it. Tubb, for example, will leave Nashville after the Opry and fly to Pennsylvania, which, incidentally, is the most lucrative field for Nashville's country musicians. During the week he may work the East or hop down to Texas.
During recent weeks, while he has earned thousands, Tubb slept only three hours "in a bed" between a Thursday and a Sunday. Little Jimmy Dickens traveled 90,000 miles in six months, averaging four hours sleep a night.
In Baltimore, Acuff and his comical Smoky Mountain Boys sang "Wabash Cannon Ball" and "Great Speckled Bird" before 50,000 persons, and the Maryland highway patrol was five hours untangling the traffic jam. These country musicians are not without temperament. But by and large they are as earthy, plain-spoken and cooperative as the country folks next door.
During a recent tour of the nation, Hank Williams and Minnie Pearl starred with Milton Berle, Bob Hope and Carmen Miranda. Berle, who likes to get in everybody's act, found Williams waiting for him in the wings.
"Mr. Berle," Williams drawled, "if you even try to git in my act, I'll wrap this here guitar right around your head."
Berle stayed away from the Drifting Cowboys that night.
Top country-music writers like Fred Rose will tell you theirs is the music of a people who may not know the mathematics of a Wagnerian opera or a Brahms symphony, but they know what it is to hear the sound of "Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy."
Songs like "Lonesome Whistle" tell a story and touch the heart of country and city folks alike. Some can remember