The most atypical of bluegrass artists, Bill Clifton has enjoyed a long career as a recording artist, performer, and champion of old-time music. Bill C. Malone pens the story of Clifton's eclectic life and influential career. Born into a prominent Maryland family, Clifton connected with old-time music as a boy. Clifton made records around earning a Master's degree, fifteen years in the British folk scene, and stints in the Peace Corps and Marines. Yet that was just the beginning. Closely allied with the Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Mike Seeger, and others, Clifton altered our very perceptions of the music--organizing one of the first outdoor bluegrass festivals, publishing a book of folk and gospel standards that became a cornerstone of the folk revival, and introducing both traditional and progressive bluegrass around the world. As Malone shows, Clifton clothed the music of working-class people in the vestments of romance, celebrating the log cabin as a refuge from modernism that rang with the timeless music of Appalachia. An entertaining account by an eminent music historian, Bill Clifton clarifies the myths and illuminates the paradoxes of an amazing musical life.
Combining a high-spirited history of country music's roots with vivid portraits of its principal performers, Don't Get above Your Raisin' examines the close relationship between "America's truest music" and the working-class culture that has constituted its principal source, nurtured its development, and provided its most dedicated supporters.
Widely recognized as country music's ranking senior authority, Bill C. Malone explores how the music's defining themes (home and family, religion, rambling, frolic, humor, and politics) have emerged out of the particularities of working people's day-to-day lives. He traces the many contradictory voices and messages of a music that simultaneously extols the virtues of home and the joys of rambling, the assurances of the Christian life and the ecstasies of hedonism, the strength of working-class life and the material lure of middle-class aspirations. The resulting tensions, Malone argues, are a principal source of the music's enduring appeal.
Country musicians have often been people from undistinguished blue-collar backgrounds who have tried to make their way as entertainers in a society that has little respect for the working class. From this ambivalent position, they have voiced the sometimes contradictory values and longings of their culture while also attempting to fulfill the romantic expectations of outsiders.
"For every Garth Brooks," Malone says, "there are a thousand country musicians who perform in local bars, taverns, and American Legion halls and who have never been able to ‘give up their day jobs.' These are musicians whose middle-class dreams are tempered by working-class realities." A powerful and honest expression of the hopes, longings, frailties, and failings of ordinary people, country music increasingly resonates with listeners beyond its core constituency as they struggle with a complex and uncertain world.
This collection is the first comprehensive, cohesive volume to unite Appalachian history with its culture. Richard A. Straw and H. Tyler Blethen's High Mountains Rising provides a clear, systematic, and engaging overview of the Appalachian timeline, its people, and the most significant aspects of life in the region.
The first half of the fourteen essays deal with historical issues including Native Americans, pioneer settlement, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, the Great Depression, migration, and finally, modernization. The remaining essays take a more cultural focus, addressing stereotypes, music, folklife, language, literature, and religion.
Bringing together many of the most prestigious scholars in Appalachian studies, this volume has been designed for general and classroom use, and includes suggestions for further reading.
One of the most influential and acclaimed female vocalists of the twentieth century, Patsy Cline (1932–63) was best known for her rich tone and emotionally expressive voice. Born Virginia Patterson Hensley, she launched her musical career during the early 1950s as a young woman in Winchester, Virginia, and her heartfelt songs reflect her life and times in this community. A country music singer who enjoyed pop music crossover success, Cline embodied the power and appeal of women in country music, helping open the lucrative industry to future female solo artists.
Bringing together noted authorities on Patsy Cline and country music, Sweet Dreams: The World of Patsy Cline examines the regional and national history that shaped Cline's career and the popular culture that she so profoundly influenced with her music. In detailed, deeply researched essays, contributors provide an account of Cline's early performance days in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, analyze the politics of the split between pop and country music, and discuss her strategies for negotiating gender in relation to her public and private persona. Interpreting rich visual images, fan correspondence, publicity tactics, and community mores, this volume explores the rich and complex history of a woman whose music and image changed the shape of country music and American popular culture.
Contributors are Beth Bailey, Mike Foreman, Douglas Gomery, George Hamilton IV, Warren R. Hofstra, Joli Jensen, Bill C. Malone, Kristine M. McCusker, and Jocelyn R. Neal.
Hazel Dickens was an Appalachian singer and songwriter known for her superb musicianship, feminist country songs, union anthems, and blue-collar laments. Growing up in a West Virginia coal mining community, she drew on the mountain music and repertoire of her family and neighbors when establishing her own vibrant and powerful vocal style that is a trademark in old-time, bluegrass, and traditional country circles. Working Girl Blues presents forty original songs that Hazel Dickens wrote about coal mining, labor issues, personal relationships, and her life and family in Appalachia. Conveying sensitivity, determination, and feistiness, Dickens comments on each song, explaining how she came to write them and what they meant and continue to mean to her. Bill C. Malone's introduction traces Dickens's life, musical career, and development as a songwriter, In addition, Working Girl Blues features forty-one illustrations and a detailed discography of Dickens's commercial recordings.