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HILLBILLY MUSIC LEAVES THE HILLS
Nelson King George Marek, Music Editor
In another of our series devoted to popular music, we present Nelson King, of Cincinnati's Radio Station WCKY. He is by all odds the most popular disc jockey of country and Western music. He finds enough such music to play six hours nightly, seven days a week—and his audience wants more! GEORGE MAREK.
Who would have thought ten years ago that a group of country singers and a few musicians playing guitars, banjos, and fiddles could fill the auditoriums of big cities? What, no tricky pianist, no singer with sexy eyes, no smooth star belting the latest Broadway ballad! No, just simple songs and dances performed in homespun style—and all over the country people are "naive" enough to pay money to hear it.
As a matter of fact, country-music concerts have become astonishingly popular in the last three years. Most curiously, they've been particularly popular in the big towns—in Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and even conservative Boston. In fact, about the only big town hillbilly music has not invaded is New York City. Small groups performing such music are traveling to America's small towns, playing jamborees. Mountain music has left the mountains and gone down to the plains.
What Is This Music?
What kind of music is this, which is sometimes called hillbilly, and sometimes country and Western? There are two broad divisions to this music: the country and Western song and the square dance. A country and Western song is a simple, tuneful song that tells a story. It's a narrative set to music. More often than not, its mood is sad, a charac-
"Reprinted by permission from Good Housekeeping, Vol. 138, No. 6, June, Copyright 1954, and by permission from George Marek."