Country, Western & Gospel Music

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teristic it shares with true folk songs. I guess simple peo­ple have a lot of troubles. Very often the theme is woman's faithlessness, a lady love's cold, cold heart. The accompa­niment features a strong rhythmic beat (usually four square), which can be played on the guitar. The real coun­try song doesn't have the over-sophisticated arrangement— the elaborate sound effects and masses of violins weaving in and out—you find in the fashionable "pop" song. You've got to hear the tune! The tune itself has its ancestry in folk music—the cowboy songs of the West or the mountain songs of Kentucky—though present-day country and West­ern song writers are not anonymous. They're people who know very well what they are doing and are well paid for doing it.
The square dance is an old American dance, which has now come so much into fashion we might almost call it new. In pioneer days it was accompanied by a fiddle only, held against the chest, not under the chin. Nowadays the orches­tration is more elaborate, but the dance itself remains sim­ple. It has recently become a favorite with young people who dance; but it's also a favorite with people who merely listen. Recorded albums of square dances sell well and are used by many schools. They are made with or without the traditional calls, those exhortations to "Swing your pardner" and "Raise a ruckus."
Where Does It Come From?
The mecca of all country and Western music lovers is Nashville, Tennessee, where the famous radio program Grand Ole Opry originates. On this program appear the leading singers of hillbilly music. Grand Ole Opry is now over twenty-eight years old. In connection with its twenty-eighth anniversary, Station WSM asked all the disc jockeys of country music to attend a national festival. Four hun­dred platter spinners from Massachusetts to California took time off from their jobs and paid their own traveling ex­penses to convene in Nashville. Also present were men from the major record companies, as well as music pub­lishers, who have sensed the trend toward hillbilly songs.
Many a "pop" hit of the last two years started life as a country and Western tune. Sometimes the tune was sung
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III